It’s that time of year again. Schools are wrapping up their curriculum and teachers are packing up their classrooms. Some schools have already let out for summer! Your children are about to have entire days wide open and free. Questions arise. Whatever will I do with them all day? Do I send them off to camp? Why can’t school be all year long? (Just kidding!) How in the world are you going to beat their bouts of summer boredom?
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent you’ll have to deal with this to some extent. The long hot days seem to breed a certain type of apathy towards structured projects. Kids want to be kids, which means they want to play. It’s really hard to do that when it’s 100 degrees out and the house feels claustrophobic. How do you keep them entertained without spending tons of money or completely overexerting yourself for those 100 days until the new school year starts back up?
Here are just a few of the many things you can do with your kids that won’t break your back or the bank:
- Make a kid car wash out of PVC pipe, a water hose, and some sponges. Watch in awe as your driveway becomes kid central for all the neighborhood bikes and trikes. This will keep the kids busy and COOL for hours. I think you may have a hard time resisting the urge to ride your own bike through it a few times!
- Team up with other parents and host a rotating summer
camp. Each week a different family hosts the camp. That family comes up with a theme to teach to the kids. You get a couple of weeks off while your children are with trusted friends during the day, and then when it’s your turn you get to let your talents shine by creating games, crafts, stories, and snacks all related to your chosen subject!
- Do a monthly museum trip. That’s just three trips to the museum, but so much time to learn about the exhibits and plan your trip. Whether you’re going to an art or a natural history museum, make sure to prime the kids. Talk about art or dinosaurs to get them excited. Show them examples of what they may see online. While you’re there make sure to take pictures (if allowed) and save things like brochures and ticket stubs. When you get home you can add these keepsakes to a summer scrapbook.
- Join or create a reading group. This can be as simple as keeping it to immediate family members only–or take it to the next level and add in friends and/or extended family members. Make a game of it. Set age appropriate goals to start, get points along the way, and award prizes at the end. It’s a great way to keep their brains limber in the three months between grades. (Sometimes schools will provide a reading list for next year’s class, and this is a fun way to make sure it gets done.)
- Teach summer school at home! No, I’m not kidding! It doesn’t have to as intensive as the regular school year, but it’s just as beneficial. Get involved with your kids’ learning. Make sure they know that you care. Make sure you know where they stand with their knowledge of the main subjects. Make sure they don’t forget it all over the vacation. Take an hour or two a day and work on something they’ll need to remember for the next school year. It gives your day some structure and keeps them from falling behind.
- Hold a weekly game night or movie night with your family. Let someone new pick the game or movie each week and sit down to play or watch. Make snacks and have a picnic on the floor and just BE together. It will keep everyone centered and together when a normal week can feel hectic and disjointed. This is a great tradition to hold onto throughout the whole year!