Excitement for the coming summer is strong in kids around the country.
As they anticipate days of no school and the ability to have fun all day, it doesn’t enter their minds that two weeks into vacation they are going to be complaining about how bored they are. As a parent, you know it is coming and are determined it won’t happen this year. TV and internet are a sure way to keep them busy so start shopping around for the best TV and internet packages. However, now is the time to start planning some unique activities to keep little hands and minds busy. Busy kids are happy kids; and happy kids make happy parents. Get ready to enjoy this summer.
Learn Something New
Many towns offer things like free art or music lessons during the summer months as a means to introduce kids and parents to what they have to offer. Call around to local museums, dance studios, art galleries and other places that normally offer paid lessons and see if they have some kind of free or low-cost activity for the summer.
The Red Cross often offers first aid training, babysitting classes and swimming lessons, so give them and call and see when the next session begins. You’ll be keeping the kids busy and providing them with new skills and a sense of accomplishment that comes from learning something new. Hint, just don’t call it learning.
Plan a Festival
Get all the neighborhood kids together and have them plan a festival to be held near the middle or end of summer. If your first reaction is, “yeah, right” it is easier than you think. First send a flyer around with any easy contact and that you’re open to questions and suggestions up to a certain date.
The goal of the event is to spend some time; that it’s with neighbors is a bonus. Have kids design equipment, games and performances of some kind (even if it’s mime for the shy ones). Help them whip up some easy to make refreshments, design “tickets” and pass the word around to the neighborhood “audience” (their parents and friends.) Not only do they keep busy, they learn about salesmanship and promotion and have fun while doing so.
Build a Treehouse or Play Shed
This activity will teach them carpentry skills, help with math, give them much coveted time with adults and result in their own special place to go. Search together for plans or design your own and let them help figure out what materials are needed. Again, this could be a neighborhood activity with the possible understanding that wherever the treehouse is built, that person should pay for the majority of supplies.
Supervise with tools but give those old enough the joy of actually using them. Let them decorate the house in (almost) any way they want and watch their faces light up as they see it come together more each day. You might even record the progress for future viewing.
Almost any place that offers a service to the public will allow kids to volunteer if an adult is with them. Decide on a place that the family can volunteer at for a couple of hours each day or week. Some places that can really use help are local animal shelters.
Kids can help socialize the residents, read to a dog, help feed the baby animals and numerous other activities. This will help them learn compassion and give them a sense of pride in being able to make a difference in the lives of another living being.
Document the Summer
They will have a day when they return to school where they will have to tell what they did during the summer. Let them prepare a fantastic presentation in advance.
Give kids a digital or video camera and have them document their days. They will need little guidance, as their imaginations will flow with this like water through a fallow field. In the evenings, go over what they have recorded and help them write captions, edit film or perfect pictures.
Near the end of summer, combine everything into a presentation that tells the story of where they went and what they did all summer. You will be surprised at what they find important and what they considered most special. They will learn new computer skills with the editing and photo manipulation. They will feel important because the presentation is completely their own and they will keep busy and productive.
Most of all, take the time to enjoy these years. In the end, time spent together will be the most remembered in years to come.