Once I started staying home, the thought of a summer vacation seemed like anything BUT a vacation. It is a daunting task, thinking of trying to get the housework done, keep the kids busy (but out of your way) and at the same time NOT waste those wonderfully eager brain cells that are bouncing around in their little noggins.
I am often asked by friends for some suggestions of things to do with children. One friend periodically has a "Family Fun Night" and is always looking for things to do that are easy, inexpensive and quick. Below are my suggestions for making it through a summer without losing your mind, and preventing your children's minds from getting mushy and oozing out of their ears.
Personally, my biggest challenge is getting my work done without trusting the idiot box to babysit for awhile. It is really easy to allow video games and t.v. shows to entertain the children all for the sake of my own work. Keep in mind, I am not saying to turn off everything electronic for the entire summer. I personally have no problem with a bit of mindless activity.
Well, either because I'm older (ahem....more mature) or because I have just finally come to realize the importance of all this, I have determined to make a lot of changes for our summers. I know this isn't anything "groundbreaking." It is not new, by any means - makes total sense and is easy to carry out.....let's just accept the fact that I'm slow. :) Anyway, here they are:
*originally, I was going to categorize these activities, but I changed my mind.
- set a schedule and stick to it (certain things on certain days)
- take one day a week where you actually GO somewhere: the zoo, park, playground, restaurant, hiking, biking
- play outside for a few minutes everyday
- teach your children to cook (prepare) a certain dish and assign it once a week
- blow bubbles
- plant some herbs
- use yarn and paint for some "string art"
- have "school days" or times to stay sharp on math facts and spelling
- dye hard boiled eggs; peel the shells (break up in various sizes) and use the colored pieces to create a mosaic
- bake cookies
- make jello
- make bean bags out of odd socks and use them to create a game
- teach your kids to play chess (it's really easy.....we taught ours when they were 6)
- give music lessons (if you don't know how, go online and teach yourself and your child at the same time
- write a POV journal (point of view.....for example: take a trip to the park as a pair of tennis shoes.)
- learn the night sky - you don't need a telescope or even binoculars....you can learn so much with just your eyeballs
- make paper chains out of colored paper and use it as a countdown to something big
- glue macaroni and other pastas to a pencil box; paint them when they are dry
- use popsicle sticks to create things: a picture frame, a pencil cup, a "garden"
- go on an alphabet scavenger hunt around the house
- select items outside (tree bark, sidewalk, leaves) and do rubbings to show textures
- buy and complete a latch-hook pillow
- use strips of construction paper and weave to make a place mat
- use crayon shavings and sprinkle on a white t-shirt. Iron (with a waxed paper between iron and crayon) and melt onto shirt
- write poetry (acrostics are really fun and easy)
- buy plastic beads and create jewelry
- buy twine and make key chains or bracelets
- buy chenille pipe cleaners and create sculptures
- read a chapter book as a family (a child's listening vocabulary is higher than his/her speaking vocabulary....pull out those harder books)
- create reports using the books you read (paper bag report, tissue "stained glass" window, bookmarks, character letters, create a board game)
- have children help clear through toys and then donate
- make sidewalk chalk then go decorate your driveway
- memorize a Bible verse as a family (one or two a week)
- SIT AND TALK, ONE-ON-ONE WITH YOUR CHILD EVERYDAY
If there is anything I listed that you don't understand, or you just want to know more about it, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to go into further detail.
Make memories....our children are growing so fast. Soon, they will be so involved in outside activities.....that will be it. There won't be a "wait until next summer."