Escape Summertime Boredom with These 5 Activities for Kids and Dogs
Summertime and the living is easy! Well, it actually might not be so easy once boredom has set in for your kids. If you’re starting to hear those two words all parents dread to hear – “I’m bored” – then keep reading. Summer is a great time for kids to give their dogs some much-deserved attention. Here are some fun activities for kids and dogs to do together this summer.
1. Learn Together
Dog training is a great activity for kids and dogs to do together. Kids can start with teaching their dog(s) very easy commands such as sit, stay, off, and leave it. Once they have mastered the basics, they can work on more advanced commands or fun tricks, such as shake, play dead, and roll over.
By having your child train your dog, you won’t just benefit from better dog behavior, but your child will also learn some new things. They will have to research HOW to train a dog, and then follow through by working with your dog every day.
Keep training session times in accordance with your dog’s age and disposition. While the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t quite true, you also don’t want to over-exhaust older dogs by training with them for too long at one time, especially during the summer. On the other hand, young dogs may not have the patience for long training sessions. Have your child start with short sessions and work up to longer sessions if your dog seems to have the temperament for it.
2. Clean Up
Have your child help with bathing and grooming your dog. There’s no better day to give your dog a bath than a hot summer’s day – Fido can cool down while being washed, and will dry quickly as well – plus you get a clean dog out of the deal!
Having your child help with cleaning your canine will make your dog look nice, AND it will teach your child about dog preventative health care. Your child may not know that keeping your dog clean is essential to keeping him healthy, but they can learn that a good dog owner is responsible and regularly bathes and cleans their furry friend.
Always keep your dog’s temperament in mind, as some dogs can get especially cranky during bath time. Avoid teeth brushing, nail trimming, or any other sort of grooming around the mouth or that requires sharp tools. These tasks are generally best left to adults.
3. Play with New Toys
Introducing a new dog toy into the mix is a terrific boredom buster. With the right toy, your dog and child can have hours and hours of fun playing throughout the summer. Try to find a toy that is more than just a chew toy – something that can be thrown around, tugged on, and endlessly played with – without getting destroyed.
A new toy will get your kids and dog excited about being active and bonding together. Depending on what kind of toy it is, a new toy could also help to mentally stimulate your dog and/or assist with training. Using an exciting new toy as a tempting distraction is a great way to see if your dog really does “stay” or “leave it” on command. Or your child can play hide and seek with the new toy to mentally stimulate your dog.
Make sure the new toy is made specifically for dogs and is not just a child’s toy turned dog chew. This will help to ensure your dog won’t chew through the toy and possibly choke on any small bits of plastic or stuffing. If you don’t want to keep buying new toys all summer, try cycling a few toys in and out. Let your dog and kids play with one toy and put the rest of the dog toys away – out of sight, out of mind! Once your kids and/or dog gets tired of one toy, put it away and introduce a “new” toy.
4. Get Physical
Dogs love exercise! And they probably love exercising with your kids even more! Your kids and dog could go for a walk, take a hike, go swimming, run in the sprinklers, or even set up a DIY obstacle course with regular items they find around the house (laundry baskets, hula hoops, cardboard boxes, etc.).
Once boredom sets in during the summer, it can be really easy to let your kids just veg out in front of the TV, watching movies or playing video games all day. When your dog and kids exercise together, they will have fun bonding and also benefit from the physical activity! Additionally, if your kids opt for an obstacle course, it can mentally stimulate your dog and also promote agility.
As mentioned previously, both dogs and kids can easily overheat while being active during hot weather. Avoid the hottest part of the day, take frequent breaks in the warm weather, and make sure your kids and dog drink plenty of water while playing around. Additionally, kids and dogs should both wear sunscreen when outdoors for a prolonged period (look for specially formulated dog sunscreen – it exists!). If you want to take your dog swimming, pay close attention at all times – dogs tire while swimming much faster than humans, and contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural swimmers. And if your dog doesn’t want to swim, don’t force them to.
5. Make Some Arts and Crafts
Whether making paw-decorated items or items decorated for the four-pawed friend in your life, arts and crafts can be fun for kids and dogs alike. Buy some non-toxic, dog-safe art supplies, and let your kids and dog go wild (well, as wild as you think you can handle cleaning up).
Because it’s fun! Making their own artistic masterpieces will give your children a sense of pride and accomplishment, and your dog will enjoy the quality time.
Kids can use non-toxic dough or clay to make a cast mold of your dog’s paw or nose. They can also make a craft FOR your dog by using art supplies to decorate a collar, bandanas, a leash, or a dog bowl (make sure all your supplies are food safe). If you want to avoid a huge mess, have your kids paint with water. Simply give them some water and a paintbrush and let them draw water designs on the driveway or sidewalk. Your kids will have fun watching their creations disappear before their eyes, and your dog can cool his paws in the water, too. Just remember, dogs’ paws are sensitive to the hot ground – if it’s too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, then your pooch shouldn’t, either.
Keep your kids busy this summer with these kid and dog activities, and they’re sure to have a blast. Your kids won’t be bored, and your dog will enjoy the quality time – it’s a win-win situation!
If you have any questions about what activities your dog might love (or not!), please feel free to reach out to us!