Ah, summer! Sunshine, peach cobbler, no school... Wait a minute! NO SCHOOL?!?
It's time to find some good summer activities for kids. And fast.
Kids love the idea of summer, but it really is a mixed bag. Yes, they get to sleep in and play all day, but they are not used to filling so much empty time. Get ready for that familiar refrain: "I'm boooored!"
The task of finding things for kids to do in the summer can be daunting. Start by figuring out what's important to you.
Summer offers opportunities for kids to try some new and exciting things, as well as the chance for some great family time. It also brings some real challenges. How do we pry kids away from the TV? What will they do over the summer? And how will you keep them from forgetting what they worked so hard to learn last year in school?
Start by making some decisions about what you want your child's summer to look like. Here are a few things to consider:
Look for summer activities for kids that keep them physically healthy, create connections with friends or family, keep kids' minds active and learning, and feed their spirit in some way. Let's talk more about these.
Set aside time each day for activities that keep your child healthy. If your child loves sports or the outdoors, this will take care of itself, but if your child is a couch potato you may have to help out. Find some really fun outdoor games and teach your child how to play. Your involvement will make any game way more fun.
Find activities that help kids create connections with friends or family. Plan a scavenger hunt for kids in a play group, or find an activity your whole family loves and do it together.
Over the summer, many kids forget a chunk of what they learned last year in school. To minimize this, keep kids' minds active. Do math activities for skills that still need work, then play fun math games to practice them. For more traditional school practice, you can pick up a grade-level workbook at any nearby drugstore. These are colorful, motivating, and happen to work great as a travel activity book.
Finally, find activities that feed your child's spirit. This will be different for every child. For a basketball lover, shooting hoops with dad might be the thing he loves best. Another child may long for the time and the tools to draw or paint, while another may just need to be outside in nature.
Have a better sense of some things to do with your kids this summer? OK; let's get specific.
Here is a not-very-comprehensive list of summer activities for kids, to get you going:
Fill in the big stuff first--the things that have non-flexible dates, like science camp. Then move down to the smaller items.
If there are activities that don't need scheduling, but you want to keep them on your radar, make a big checklist and hang it up where the whole family can see. Then, when you get the "I'm bored" cue or are just looking for the next great activity, scan the list and check one off.
You might find it helpful to schedule certain days or times for school practice. Being consistent will reduce pushback from the kids; they will come to expect it, and may even look forward to it. Consider setting aside a couple of hours on "Math Monday", "Science Saturday", or even "Weading Wednesday"!
And there you go; a full lineup of great summer activities for kids! You've got your plan, a few things on the calendar, and maybe a "summer wish checklist" on the wall. Just having your priorities in mind will make them that much more likely to happen. Goodbye, TV. Hello, smart kids!