Summer is in full swing. The kids are out of school and chances are high that your children have, at least once, caused your sanity to waver (please tell me I'm not the only one!). It seems that perpetual whining and fighting fill our ears daily. How can we turn the summer monotony into summer fun? As a mom of several young children, I have compiled a list of activities and ideas that are simple (and often free) to help occupy children and stave off the boredom blues.
Visit your local library
Allow your children to select books that peak their interest; they are more likely to read if it is something they chose.
Enjoy neighborhood parks
Outdoor play is important for children of all ages. Consider inviting other friends or neighbors to come along and enjoy the sunshine and fun.
Make a picnic
Jump out of the norm and take lunch on the go. Kids will love eating lunch at a park, or even in your own backyard.
Take walks with your children
Kids love being outside. Taking a walk is a great way to cultivate an active lifestyle and a good opportunity to point out the beauty of nature, or have that chat you've meant to have with your kids.
Make puppets and put on a puppet show
This would be fun to do as a family or invite friends or neighbors along. It's a great activity to bring out your child's creative side.
Probably a childhood favorite, building forts is fun and free. Use pillows, blankets, couch cushions, cardboard or whatever you can think of and let their imaginations run wild.
Make a lemonade stand
Encourage your little entrepreneurs to make signs, come up with a recipe and figure out a business plan. This can also be useful to teach them how to work and save money.
Go to a local splash pad
Summer and water go together. Many local parks have a splash pad where you can let your kids get soaked.
Have a "pool" party in your backyard
Invite friends or keep it really low-key for some water fun. Water balloons, a kid pool or even just sprinklers will delight kids on a hot afternoon.
Take day trips
There are many places to see and explore in or around most communities. Drive to the mountains and hike. Find a lake to play at for the day.
Visit national parks
Kids will love seeing these natural beauties, as well as going on age-appropriate hikes through these preserved lands. Annual passes are available to buy, or plan your visit during one of the free entrance days throughout the year. Also, some libraries have a pass that you can check out for a week for free.
Encourage learning by visiting local zoos, museums, aquariums, planetariums and space centers
Children naturally love learning. Often, these children's facilities offer a "hands-on" experience kids love.
Put together service projects to do as a family
This is a great opportunity to teach your kids to serve others. This may be as simple as making treats and baked goods to take to neighbors, or activities such as washing windows, mowing lawns, taking care of pets or sweeping out gutters.
Make homemade snow cones or freezer pops
Play board games or outdoor games and sports
Whether it's Chutes and Ladders, Simon Says or Freeze tag, kids will welcome the change of pace.
This not only occupies your child, but gives parents a little breather too.
Go for a bike ride
Bicycling is exercise made fun. Remember to wear a helmet and other protective gear and enjoy this excursion on wheels.
Sidewalk chalk and bubbles go a long way
Create a game of hopscotch, draw pictures or see who can make the biggest bubble with these classic favorites.
A little extra advice. Try to keep a schedule and not just allow complete laziness during summer vacation. Doing chores, summer reading and other family routines will especially help when school resumes.
Most importantly, spend time together as a family. Build family relationships and make lasting memories. Keep television watching and video game playing to a minimum. Having active, busy kids will help decrease whining and fighting at home and make summer break breeze by. And, it helps moms and dads to stay sane!
Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen