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Summer Vacation Boredom Busters

From outdoor movie nights to app-enabled scavenger hunts, find easy ways to keep the summer fun (and learning) going.

Topics: Recommendations

Feel like you're running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained in the dog days of summer? Look no further. Dozens of cool, crafty, and creative ideas for kids of all ages are easy to download, stream, read, and share.

Outdoor movie night

Transform your backyard into a movie theater with a projector and a bed sheet, and pick a family fave streaming on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Create a cozy space to recline, pass the popcorn, and voilà: instant blockbuster with the fam.

Set your sights on stargazing

Point kids' eyes skyward for the extraordinary Perseid meteor shower, which happens between July 17 and August 24 and peaks on August 12. For nights leading up to and after it, download an astronomy app or two for constellation spotting year-round.

Scavenger hunts

Kids love scavenger hunts, and there are plenty of ways to make them interactive (and even lesson-packed). Turn little adventure seekers into budding botanists using an app like PlantSnap Plant Identification to identify plants, map a hunt at the local library to take a tour through kids' literature, or give geocaching a try to uncover secret treasures near and far.

Beachy book club

Find a fab page-turner to devour ocean-side (or poolside, or park-side, or couch-side) with your kid. Early readers will love exploring a read-aloud book with Mom and Dad, and older kids will enjoy diving deep into books that really resonate with them and discussing them with you.

Hit the road

A road trip to somewhere spectacular guarantees to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Use National Geographic's National Parks app to plan which of America's must-see spots you can fit in, and read fun facts aloud en route. Don't leave home without a few essential travel apps and backseat babysitters (think audiobooks, podcasts, puzzle games, and sing-along karaoke from movie hits like Frozen -- if you can stomach it).

Enroll in a virtual summer camp

From coding and cooking to gaming and summer reading, there are plenty of cool ways to keep little minds engaged throughout the hot days of summer … without even leaving the house.

Make a mark

Get a jump on those "What I did this summer" essays by encouraging kids to create digital mementos. Whether it's a scrapbook or a journal documenting their days, a work of visual or musical art, or a virtual world born of their very own code, our modern kids' guide to creativity will fuel endless hours of creative inspiration.

Angela Zimmerman
As manager of editorial partnerships, Angela is responsible for packaging and distributing articles and reviews to Common Sense's many content partners, helping people far and wide access advice and information around tech, entertainment, parenting, and everything in between. Angela's background is in music journalism and digital media. Prior to Common Sense, she was the editor-in-chief of the digital incarnation of Crawdaddy! Magazine, the first magazine of rock journalism in the US, and worked as a writer, editor, music researcher, and product supervisor for Wolfgang's Vault, a massive multimedia archive of music and rock memorabilia. When she's not watching episodes of Freaks and Geeks or Homeland, Angela is enjoying live music or happily outdoors in nature. Though she's an East Coaster at heart, born and raised, she currently lives in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Google+