Summertime is here, and there is lots to do and lots to see beyond our own curtains and backyard gates. Sure, there is something to be said for walks in the park, spending afternoons blowing bubbles on the grass, and making flower crowns. But after a while it can get kind of boring, even for your little ones.

The thing to remember is that children need to see, sniff, touch, and taste just about everything around them. Keeping them engaged no matter what is key. Here are some things you can do to spice up your summer before it all gets same old/same old.

Pick berries. While you may not live right next to a berry patch, it doesn’t take much to do some internet research to find a place to go. In the fall, picking apples is just as much fun!

Identify/imitate sounds. No matter where you live, be it in the suburbs, an urban setting, or in a rural area, sounds abound everywhere. Point out the airplane that flies overhead, or the sounds a bird makes. Getting your child used to the noises in his environment will help him to adjust to his surroundings.

Take your sun-protected little ones to an outdoor water park or community pool. The sooner a child is introduced to water, the more likely the natural instinct to swim will kick in. Running through the sprinkler on a hot day can be a lot of fun, too.

Build bird houses out of milk cartons. Cut a square in the front of the carton, attach a stick for a perch, and decorate. Add some peanut butter and bird seed along the bottom and hang in a tree nearby.  Hang it near a window, and you and your kids can watch the birds even when the weather isn’t cooperative.

Sadly, not every day in the summertime is full of sunshine and can leave you stuck indoors. Keep a few rainy day ideas tucked up your sleeve for these kinds of days. When the storms rain on your parade, it’s still just as important to keep your kids entertained. When they’re entertained and engaged, it’s the best time for them to learn.

Make holiday decorations for the next upcoming holiday. For Independence Day on July fourth, break out the construction paper, glue, and glitter and make sparkly star spangled banners. Let your kids hang them in the windows.

Don’t just sit them in front of the TV and put the Lego Movie on for thousandth time. Get their imaginations working by making up games or doing fun crafts. Keeping them busy in the summer will keep their minds working and growing. By the time September rolls around, they’ll be excited to show and tell all the fun things they did this summer.