Summer is wrapping up but there are still several weeks left before the kids head back to school. This is good news for your dog because summer is the season where most of his family members are home to interact with, play with, and cuddle him before it’s time for the little ones to board the yellow bus again. It’s important for children to bond with the family dog as well and summer games that your kids and dog can do together not only help to strengthen that bond but also give your child something fun to do in his last few weeks of summer. Plus, most of these activities are good exercise for both human and canine!
1. Play Fetch
It might seem like old news, but playing fetch is still a great way for your dog and your children to spend a little time together. The game is easy, fast-paced, and fun for all; especially for the dog! Your furry friend can get some great exercise retrieving and delivering the ball while your child can work on basic commands such as “drop it,” “wait” and, of course, “fetch!” Plus, the whole family can partake in this game and parents can use this time to help their child practice throwing a baseball or focusing on a target. You can even use lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, or just your foot to kick the ball if your child is into different sports. No matter how the ball goes, your dog will just be happy to chase it!
2. Blow Bubbles
Who doesn’t love bubbles? Blowing bubbles can be a fun way for your child and your dog to play together as many dogs love to jump up and try to pop them as they float around. Your kids will have a blast running with the bubble wand and you can use many different sizes to make either small or very large bubbles. There are even flavored bubbles for your dog to enjoy that are non-toxic, edible and completely safe for dogs to bite at and snap right out of the air. And just like most games on this list, your child can practice basic commands with your dog such as “sit,” “wait,” and “release.” Just make sure that you pick up a pack of non-toxic bubbles to keep the game safe for all!
3. Set up the Sprinkler / Hose
Everyone has jumped or run through a sprinkler at some point in their childhood and luckily this is an activity that the family dog can join in on as well. Just like your kids, many dogs enjoy getting wet in the summer because it helps to cool them down and hydrate their skin and bodies during all that summer heat. Set up the sprinkler on the lawn and have your kids jump through it either ahead or behind your dog. You can make it even more fun by playing a timed game where your child must get your dog to sit before the sprinkler makes its round and gets them again. If you don’t have a sprinkler, spraying them with a hose or squirt gun can be just as fun!
4. Throw a Frisbee
Just like the game of fetch, throwing a frisbee is still a fun and productive way for your child and dog to spend some time together. Your dog will get great exercise running after and leaping to catch the frisbee and your child can practice his or her swing and throwing arm. Frisbees also tend to travel farther than a ball or toy so heading to a park, beach, or open field where there is lots of space can be fun for the whole family as well. If you have multiple children who want to play, a little family competition of who can throw the frisbee the hardest, fastest or farthest can also be fun. Your dog will be in heaven getting to chase all those frisbees as well!
5. Play Soccer
Your child will love playing soccer with his best furry friend because it’s non-competitive, fun, and he can go at his own pace. Have your child kick the ball around in the backyard and see if he can keep it away from the dog. Have him practice shooting goals, making turns or just switching feet without the fear of messing up or trying to be perfect. Your dog will love running alongside him or trying to steal the ball and your child can work on more commands like “leave it,” “heel,” and “fetch.” And for even more fun, take it up a notch by inviting friends, family and neighbors over for an actual game of soccer that your dog would love to be a part of! Don’t worry about keeping points, being competitive or making goals; use your dog as an example and just simply have fun.
6. Play Hide & Seek
Playing the game of hide and seek with your dog is a lot like playing it with another human only, instead of a person looking for you, it’s your dog! Your child should hide either somewhere in the house or backyard and then call the dog’s name once he’s hidden. Your kid will have a blast trying not to laugh as your dog sniffs everywhere trying to find him. If your furry friend is having trouble getting the concept of the game, have your child hide with some tasty-smelling treats and then call the dog’s name until he locates your kid. Make sure you reward him for the find and then do it again in a different spot. Eventually, your dog will get the idea and then look forward to finding his favorite human playmates as your kids get more creative with their hiding spots. This game is not only fun for your kids and their friends, but it’s great mental work and problem solving for your dog as well. Who knew a childhood favorite could be done with man’s best friend!
As summer comes to an end, make sure you and your kids squeeze in as much time as you can with the family dog before school starts and everyone’s schedules become hectic. There are many activities and games that are both child and dog friendly that we know your best furry friend would love to be a part of! So rather than sitting around watching TV, have your kids grab a ball, frisbee, or some bubbles and head outside for some afternoon fun. It’s the perfect way to end the summer!