The Ultimate List of Summer Sanity Savers for Homeschoolers...And Freebies

If you take an extended vacation from homeschooling in the summer, you've probably experienced the mid-summer slump. You're not keeping your regular school routine, and, without some kind of schedule, chaos is regularly ensuing.

The kids want to sit in front of a screen all day. Bickering is an hourly event. It's too hot for the kids to go outside and play, but they've run out of things to do inside. What's a mom to do?

Don't panic. These resources can help to keep you and the kids from going crazy over your summer break.

Summer activities for homeschoolers

Subscription Boxes


Although I probably wouldn't invest in most subscription boxes long-term because of the cost, subscribing to a fun kids' box just for the summer could be a great way to keep kids busy in the summer- especially if you have to fight the heat like we do in the South. There are a host of subscription boxes out there. These are a few I think would be great for the kids for the summer.

Subscription boxes for kids


Kiwi Co used to be Kiwi Crate. They've updated to encompass various lines of subscription boxes geared toward different ages:

The Koala Crate is geared toward ages 3 and 4. The crates include creative material for 2-3 projects as well as a parent guide, a magazine for kids, and links to online DIY activities.

The Kiwi Crate is designed for ages 5-8. It includes art, science, and engineering projects as well as a kids' magazine and links to online activities.

The Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+ includes all kinds of quality creative supplies for kids to do a variety of DIY projects. It also includes step-by-step instructions as well as video tutorials to help kids with the projects.

The Tinker Crate is also for the 9-16+ age group, and it contains a STEM project and materials in each box. There's also a Tinker Zine with additional science activities, detailed instructions, and video tutorials.

The Brickbox comes from Cratejoy and would be great for your Lego fans. It comes with a building kit, minifigures, and other surprises each month.

Have kids who love to tinker with electronics? The Creation Crate for ages 12+ delivers an educational project every month.

Do you have kids who want to learn to code? The Bitsbox sends monthly coding projects for kids ages 6-12.

Board Games


Board games are another of our family favorites for filling hot summer days. I like games with a wide age range that the whole family can play together. If you have older kids who want to play something more complicated, divide into groups and have a board game day with older kids playing the more difficult games and little ones with games of their own.

Here are a few of our favorite board games.

Board games for kids

Ticket to Ride is a classic favorite in our house. Kids need to be able to read and understand strategy to play. Mine slowly began playing as they reached about age 10. When they were younger, we put a young child on a "team" with an adult or older child so they could watch and learn. The game involves claiming train routes that stretch across the US, so it's good for learning US geography. (There are also other versions with other geographical places.)

The Greatest Day Ever is a good alternative for the younger set. It's a fun game that involves matching. And, even though the little ones can play, it's still fun for the older kids- and adults- as well.

Apples to Apples Junior is another game that has been fun for the whole family. Like the original Apples to Apples game, the object is to associate different adjectives with nouns that are on the cards each player holds. The player who can make the best association wins the game. Kids don't realize that they're also learning new vocabulary and increasing their knowledge of parts of speech.

Clue is one of my all-time favorite games, and most of my kids enjoy it as well. There are junior versions of the game, but I've never found one I particularly like, so we've just waited until the kids are old enough to understand the original. As players look at their clues and try to solve the mystery of the game, they're improving their critical thinking skills.

Craft Supplies


One key thing I've learned about letting kids entertain themselves is that they need to have the freedom to make a mess. This is especially true when it comes to crafting.

I think there is some value in pre-made craft kits. But I think that giving kids access to good craft supplies and allowing them to be creative with them is usually so much better. When kids have a cabinet full of craft supplies and the challenge to make something, they can get pretty creative.

My kids occasionally play a game they've named "Snipped." Like the cooking game show Chopped, this game involves giving one sibling a shoebox filled with random craft supplies. The child has a set amount of time to come up with the best craft he or she can create. After they've all had a turn, they "judge" each others' creations.

There are a few supplies you'll want to always keep on hand if you want your kids to have the freedom to just create.

Kids' craft supplies


Glue sticks are essential for many projects and less messy than liquid glue.

Good crayons are also important. I don't mean to be a crayon snob, ya'll, but Crayola crayons are just better!

Model Magic is a sculpting material that will stay fresh as long as it's closed up and will dry into a solid object when left out. It's less messy and easier to work with than clay so it's perfect for creating.

I don't know how it happens, but we are always short on scissors. Scissors are a critical crafting resource, though, so make sure you always have some available.

Pom poms are a fun resource to keep in your craft cabinet. They can be used to create all kinds of things.

Adding wiggly eyes to the crafting mix makes for some fun creations.

Pipe cleaners are good for stringing beads for little fingers, and they can be used to create a variety of things.

I like to keep beads on hand. My favorite are pony beads because they aren't so small that they are super hard to clean up. And they have a variety of uses.

Yarn can be used for stringing beads, but it can also be used for creating hair or tying things together.

Paint is another must-have. There are so many kinds- watercolors, acrylic, finger paints- but my favorite is tempera paint because it can be used in many projects and it's fairly easy to clean up.

Audio Books


Another favorite summer activity is listening to audio books. They're great for long car rides if you're going on vacation. And they're nice to play while kids are working on crafts or drawing or building with blocks. They make a great way to get in some quality books over the summer.

You can find free audio books from LibriVox.com. The books on LibriVox are mostly classics and are read by volunteers. I've found some great books on LibriVox, but I've also found some duds because the readers aren't great. It's a good place to look first, though, since all the audio books are free.

Loyal Books- formerly Books Should Be Free- also offers a great variety of free audio books. Many can be streamed or downloaded to a device.

If you're looking for more current books on audio, I love my Audible membership. I get a free credit each month as well as discounts on any audio books I buy. There are also great deals sometimes- like a buy one, get one free sale. When you first subscribe, you can get two free audio books. You can purchase Audible books without a membership as well, and there are even some free Audible books.

Free and cheap audible books for kids

Here are a few classic kids' reads you can find for free or cheap on Audible:

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Goodnight Moon

Anne of Green Gables

Alice in Wonderland

The Napping House

Riki Tiki Tavi

Heidi

Treasure Island

Little Women

The Story of Dr. Doolittle

Unit Studies...With Freebies


Even if you don't homeschool all summer, you can do some summer unit studies that will be fun as well as educational. Here are a few great- and FREE- unit study resources.

This post will help you to create your own unit study and has a free unit study planning pack.

You can find a free My Backyard Habitat unit study here. This would be a good one to do in the summer if it's not too hot to get outside.

If you love literature unit studies, pick up my free 31 Days of Literature Unit Studies ebook with unit study guides for 31 great kids' books.

Homeschool Share is my go-to place to find free unit studies. They have studies divided by age group, and many of their unit studies have accompanying lapbooks.


If summer is stretching out before you long and hot, try some of these ideas and resources. Hopefully you- and the kids- will survive the summer with this ultimate activities list.

Summer activities for homeschoolers





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