Summer is officially here! Kick off those Uggs, put on your flip-flops and get ready to bask in the sun! Got Kids? Me too, therefore you know that it is pivotal that you plan something to do during the long hot summer months. Kids get bored easily and an idle mind, well… leaves room for destructive behavior. As parents we need to keep them busy, unless you want bored kids roaming free in your home driving you nuts. If you are not planning on going on vacation or putting them in sleep away/day camps, structure, education and fun will be at the top of your list of things to do.
When children are off schedule they are usually off in other behavior as well. They get cranky easier, they fight more with their siblings and can become couch potatoes if structure is not set in place. First things first, devise a schedule a time for getting up and a time to nap and a time to go to bed. They may stay up a little later and wake up a little later but don’t shift it too much or you may end up trying to reprogram them significantly when it is time to get back into the school routine. Plan for the week by checking the weather forecast first. Will it be sunny, rainy, or scorching hot? Then proceed accordingly.
Sunny day activities. You can plan things to do outdoors like: Gardening, yes it is easier than you think. Our First Lady, Michelle Obama has definitely brought light to growing your own foods. No green thumb needed to start a family garden, just a small area in your yard to be fenced off and soiled. Plant some simple seeds for either flowers or veggies and water. It keeps kids busy and its fun for them to watch the process and then prepare a portion of their meal from their garden, like cucumbers and tomatoes for their salads. Other sunny day activities can include day trips to your local zoo, aquariums and or sporting venues. Explore your hometown and see what it has to offer it may surprise you.
Rainy day activities. These can include board games, card games, arts and crafts, cooking and some good old karaoke. Most cable providers have a karaoke channel and they are fun to sing along to. This is huge in the Griffin household and it is a fun way to bring everyone together. Who knows you may discover the next Beyoncé or Justin Bieber right in your own family. Other fun indoor activities include arts and crafts. From construction paper and crayons, to glitter and glue, every kid loves a little creativity and a fun way to decorate a new masterpiece.
Another one of my favorite indoor activities are creating fun foods together. It doesn’t always require cutting on the stove, for example; making fun fruit snacks with Jell-O or creating fun ice-pops with their favorite juice (available at Williams and Sonoma click here). It’s a perfect opportunity to be creative and have fun with the kids!
Education. Despite it being the summer months do not let constructive activities fall at bay. Keep kids engaged in educational activities but get creative and do it in a fun way. Start a family book club. If your kid’s ages vary pick books according to topic so everyone can engage in conversation about the topic. Have the kids write a summary of what was read. Age appropriate of course. For example if a child is 8 they can write a couple of paragraphs and focus on the ‘who, what, where and why?’. If a child is in H.S. they can write a few pages in greater detail.
Need to brush up on some math and business skills? Kids are never too young to start establishing a great business mentality. Create a fun family business: like a lemonade stand, a car wash. Teach them how to devise a business plan. Keep it simple 1) What is the business? 2) What will you need? 3) Who will do what? 4) What is everyone’s commission? You will be teaching them how to create a job, how to divide the money according to jobs and how to make money.
Are your kids that interested in the performing arts? Break out the camcorder and have the kids put on a dance or a play where they write a script and act it out. This will keep their minds flowing with creativity and it will keep them busy. Memorizing choreography and lines aren’t easy, but it will be ways for them to express their imaginations vividly, all while being entertained! Set a time for the performance and it will be fun to record and look back to watch great memories on film.
Last and certainly not least do not forget that you have a spouse and you both need down time to recharge from planning and participating in all of these activities. You and your spouse should have a day where you can do whatever it is you like to do, separate and together. If he wants to hang with the boys and you want to hang with the girls go for it! If he wants to go golfing and you want to go to the spa, book his tee-time and your spa appointment, while you each take turns watching the kids solo, while the other enjoys a day off. Then have a sitter in place so that you and your spouse can go out to dinner, a movie, a play, a concert, a night on the town, whatever your hearts desire to do to have fun together. It keeps the relationship fun, it keeps you connected and remembering that you are parents but you are also adults that have a life outside of children.
Enjoy your summer, enjoy the sun and remember a little structure, activities, and education can be fun!