The Surprising Differences Between French and US Summer Activities

Summer is here, and with it comes the delightful challenge of keeping our kiddos entertained. 

But did you know that summer fun can look pretty different depending on where you are? Let's chat about how summer activities for kids in France compare to those in the US. It’s a fascinating peek into two very different worlds!

The differences between French and US summer activities

The French Way: Letting Kids Be Kids

2 children fishing in a lake

In France, summer is all about letting kids explore, imagine, and even get a little bored. French parents have a pretty laid back approach, encouraging open play and creative freedom.

Open Play

French children are often given the freedom to play outside without a strict schedule. They might spend hours building forts, playing tag, or simply wandering through fields and forests. This kind of open play is fantastic for sparking creativity and independence.

Countryside Escapes

Many French families escape to the countryside during the summer. Imagine your little ones exploring nature, swimming in rivers, and enjoying the simple joys of rural life. It’s all about connecting with nature and having unstructured adventures.

The Art of Boredom

In France, there’s a belief that a little boredom is good for kids. When children are bored, they have to get creative and find their own ways to entertain themselves. This can lead to some amazing imaginative play and self-discovery.

The American Way: Keeping Kids Busy

a group of children doing arts and crafts at a table

Here, across the pond in the US, summer often means a packed schedule of camps, classes, and activities designed to keep kids busy and engaged.

Summer Camps

Summer camps are a big deal in the US. From sports camps to arts and crafts, these programs offer structured activities that keep kids active and help them learn new skills. Plus, camps are a great way for kids to make friends and socialize.

Enrichment Programs

Many American parents sign their kids up for enrichment programs during the summer. This could be anything from academic tutoring to music lessons. The idea is to keep those little minds sharp and prevent the dreaded “summer slide.”

Organized Sports and Activities

US kids often participate in organized sports and activities over the summer. Soccer leagues, swimming lessons, and dance classes are all popular choices. These activities provide structure, keep kids moving, and teach important skills like teamwork and discipline.

Finding the Perfect Balance

children's hands with smiley faces painted on them

So, which approach is better?

Honestly, both have their perks. The French method of open play and embracing boredom helps kids develop creativity and self-reliance. Meanwhile, the American focus on structured activities and camps provides opportunities for skill development and social interaction.

As moms, finding a balance between these two approaches can give our kids the best of both worlds. Allowing some unstructured playtime can help nurture their imagination and independence. At the same time, a few structured activities can keep them engaged and learning new things.

Petites Pensées (Final Thoughts)

Summer is a magical time for kids to grow, explore, and have fun. By blending the best of the French and US approaches, we can create a summer experience that’s both enriching and enjoyable.

Whether it’s through free play or scheduled activities, the goal is to make the most of these sunny days and create wonderful memories for our little ones.

Cheers to a fabulous summer, moms! Let’s make it one to remember.


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