The basic idea is to decorate a jar (or have your kids decorate the jar as mine did in our original Summer Jar idea) and fill the jar with slips of paper that inspire your kids.
Make up your own ideas based on your kids likes and interests and also your budget. Make up ideas based on whether YOU want to be involved, too. If you want your kids to be more self sufficient create ideas that they can do on their own. If your children are smaller you will probably want to include simple projects that you will work on together.
NOTE: I decorated a cardboard box to hold the printables (rolled with an elastic and numbered to match the idea in the jar) and re-sealable bags with instructions etc.
Copyright 2011. Family Theme Days. All rights reserved.
Step 1: Find a jar to use (decorate)
Step 2: Decide on activities you want to include and write them on slips of paper (or use my printables below)
step 3: Write out a shopping list of what ingredients/ materials you need, buy them or find them in your house, and set them aside. I like to print out pictures of samples and instructions to use on the day each activity is pulled.
Here is my first Summer Jar Printable from 2011. It is very basic but might be a good stepping stone if you want some simple ideas: 2011 Summer Jar Ideas
My updated Summer Jar Printable for 2013 had 47 ideas!!!! I went a little nuts that year but was so inspired I just couldn’t stop. I hope this printable will allow you to write your own ideas to inspire your kids: 2013 Summer Jar Ideas
For Summer 2014 I included 35 ideas. Some of the ideas are ones we never got to the previous year, some are ones I knew they’d want to do again, and some are brand new: 2014 Summer Jar Ideas
Our Summer 2015 Jar has only 30 ideas but they are fun ones: 2015 Summer Jar Printable
Summer Jar 2016 has 30 more ideas (I think only a couple are repeats) and a lot are geared toward my Youngest son who loves to make crafts: 2016 Summer Jar Printable
Summer Jar 2017...32 more ideas for summer fun coming your way! 2017 Summer Jar Printable
Summer 2018 added 26 more ideas: 2018 Summer Jar Printable
SUMMER 2019...18 new ideas colour coded for activity type. As we have nine weeks of summer vacation I offered my son 9 Craft and/or Art Ideas (one science experiment) and 9 Food and/or Drink ideas: 2019 Summer Jar Printable
SUMMER 2020 - when your 14 year old still asks for a Summer Jar you know you've done something right! He wanted to incorporate learning about a new country in the jar this year and wanted lots of cooking ones. 2020 Summer Jar 9 Weeks of Summer Social Distance Style
NOTE: Some of my ideas need expansion so I will give more details below, plus links where needed on the Summer Jar Suggestions Page. You can find that link below.
summer boredom busters
a decorated box to hold printables and other materials
for more details and ideas when making your own summer Jar!
Our original Summer Theme Day had a Summer Jar listed under “For Fun” and it was very basic. The printable I offered there had a mere 14 ideas on it. For the summer of 2013 I updated the Summer Jar and made it into something MUCH BIGGER and for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 I added a new lists! In 2019 I changed it a bit by colour coding the activities due to a busy family schedule. I hope these ideas help bust boredom during summer vacation and that they encourage creativity, physical activity and plain old fun!
I post photos of the new Summer Jar activities on Facebook and Instagram so check there to see how this project has worked out for our family!
Print out this Summer Jar Blank Template and fill it in with the summer jar ideas you would like to include. Choose from crafts, recipes, outdoor activities, science, and toher. See the additional links for suggestions.