How to Keep your Kids Busy this Summer
As soon as school lets out for summer vacation, parents scramble to find ways to keep their kids busy. Plan ahead this year and preempt the complaints and mischief that accompany childhood boredom. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Take Your Favorite Board Games Outside
If you do not want to chase Monopoly money blowing in the breeze outside, don't worry — that's not what we're suggesting. Instead, think of creative ways to convert traditional games into outside ones. You can easily spend an entire day building and then playing your game.
For instance, you can make a giant Bananagrams set out of tiles or pieces of cardboard and play on the lawn. With this jumbo version, both your body and your brain will get a workout! Play outdoor Twister with spray-painted circles or play Scrabble in the pool using sponges as floating tiles. No matter what your favorite game is, you should be able to come up with an outdoor version with a little help from Google, clever DIY bloggers, and your own imagination.
Get Into Gardening
Image via Flickr by vintagecat
Not only will tending their own garden give children of all ages something to do, there are plenty of additional projects you can incorporate into the process. After all, your garden will need plant markers. Someone will need to get the soil ready and shop for supplies. As the plants ripen, you can expand your horizon by canning or cooking what you harvest.
To get everyone involved, give each child free reign over their own section. Let them choose what to grow, whether that means flowers, vegetables, or herbs, and be creative with how and where you plant them. For instance, you can use ice cream cones as biodegradable seed planters to get your garden started. If you don't have room for a full garden in your backyard, look into plants that grow well in pots or other environments.
Encourage Your Kids to Be Entrepreneurs
While the most common example of childhood entrepreneurship is the iconic summer lemonade stand, that's far from the only option. Every child has unique gifts. If you have a son or daughter who likes to bake, help them perfect a few recipes and find ways to sell what they bake.
Online sites like Etsy make selling homemade items easier than ever. Find a craft project your children enjoy, whether that's jewelry making, painting, or something else entirely. Invest in them as you would a business, helping them obtain the materials they need to get started, including tutorial books or classes, if applicable. If you aren't comfortable selling items online, look for local stores willing to stock and sell some for you. You could also consider setting up a booth at craft fairs, flea markets, or similar events.
Spend Time Giving Back
Another great lesson to teach your kids is how to give back. Once you start looking for ways to help others, you'll have no problem finding them. You could volunteer together at a local charity, host a car wash or bake sale fundraiser, fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child — the possibilities are endless. The key is to find a cause you all care about and work to make a difference together.
While you're giving back, remind your kids to show love and appreciation to the friends and family in their lives. Help them plan a Father's Day surprise or get a jumpstart on handmade Christmas presents. Spend time writing letters or calling relatives you don't see often, such as grandparents. The goal is to get them into a habit of thoughtfulness and creativity when it comes to expressing love, gratitude, and selflessness.
Plan Some Fun (and Educational) Day Trips
If you haven't already explored attractions near your home, this summer is a great time to start. Be sure to tailor your choices to the ages and interests of your children, and try to keep a good blend of entertainment and education. Zoos, museums, and parks are a few obvious choices. With a little bit of research, you can make the experience even better by timing your visit to coincide with a special event, like the chance to spend the night in an aquarium or take a free art class. Most attractions post a calendar of upcoming events on their website.
Of course, these five ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many fun ways to keep you and your kids engaged and busy. From exploring local activities to playing in your own backyard, there is something for every personality, ability and interest!