Summer's nearly upon us and along with it comes the inevitable cries of "Mom! I'm bored!" I mean, here are these kids who've whined about having to study and do schoolwork now wanting me to give them something to do! What's up with that?
I've been compiling a list of activities I'm going to try with my kids - or have already tried - to combat the boredom. Some of them actually will keep their reading and writing skills honed for the summer. Hee hee, they're doing schoolwork without even realizing it! Some of these activities are just for the fun of it. Every child needs memories of summer time fun, even if I do have to prompt them to do it!
So far, I've got twenty different things for the kids to do. I figure we'll do two a week. I'm going to break the list down into more manageable posts, so check back next week for Part Two.
Here's Part One:
1. Make a craft box available. Put paper, glue, scissors, pens, string, crayons, tape, stickers.....anything you can think of that your children can cut or glue. I went through my scrapbook stash and found tons of paper and stickers I haven't used and probably won't. But I know two kids who will! The Princess has already availed herself of the box and created some pretty interesting things. I'm starting to rethink including glitter, though. Here's a tip....check out the Dollar Spot at Target for some cheap supplies. Or the Dollar Store. The sky's the limit with what you can include in the box, and hopefully your child's creativity will soar!
2. Invest in a couple of new board games. One of our favorites is Doodle Dice. We have the standard Clue, Monopoly, Sorry and Dominoes, too. But this summer we're going to try some new ones for variety, such as Apples to Apples and Guess Who. I also want to get Zobmondo. Keep your eye out for games at yard sales and thrift stores, too. If you don't want to spend the money on a new game, have your children invent one.
3. Have a water gun fight. What's summer without getting wet? I know it can be a pain to clean up after dripping wet kids, but it's something they'll remember. Don't stand on the sidelines, either! Grab a gun and start squirting! If you don't have water guns available, try water balloons. And if you really want to live on the edge, plan to ambush Dad when he gets home from work. Only if he's not carrying his laptop or important papers, though.
4. Act out a favorite story. All kids have books they read over and over again. Let them dress up and portray their favorite characters. It's amazing how closely they can recreate the dialogue and actions they love so much in books! Much better then Hollywood! Try to act out your favorite Bible story, too. And don't forget to take pictures!
5. Make ice cream in a bag. We love homemade ice cream around here, but we don't have an ice cream maker. So I found a recipe that all of us could help with. It makes about 1 cup which will serve two people.
Ice Cream in a Bag
1 gallon Ziploc bag
1 quart Ziploc bag
1/4 cup rock salt
1 cup milk
1 teas vanilla
2 TBSP sugar
Pour the milk, vanilla and sugar into the quart bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal the bag. Make sure it's sealed tight. Place the smaller bag inside the gallon bag. Cover with ice and seal.
Shake, toss, or flip the bag for 10 minutes. You can wrap a dish towel around the bag if it's too cold. You will see the milk start to freeze, but don't stop shaking for at least 10 minutes.
Open the bags and spoon ice cream into cups or bowls.
For chocolate ice cream, omit the vanilla and 1 TBSP of sugar. Add 2 TBSP (or as much as you like!) chocolate syrup. Then shake, shake, shake!
6. Send the kids on scavenger hunts. Go ahead and print out several lists of things for them to find, indoors or out. Make each one a little different. Have them find things like a yellow flower, a paperclip, a quarter from your state, etc. You could modify this to include a picture scavenger hunt. Send them with a digital camera to take photos of certain flowers or people - but only if you feel they're responsible enough to handle the camera! Then you can take the pictures and have them document the fun they had in a scrapbook! Which leads me to my next point....
7. Let them create a scrapbook of favorite memories. Supply them with pictures of your last vacation or Christmas or field trip, anything. Let them create their own scrapbook page to preserve their memories of that special time. Encourage them to write the who, where, when, why and how of the picture somewhere on the page. (See, keep them writing even though they're out of school!)
You could continue this throughout the summer and by the time school starts again, your children will have a keepsake of their childhood. Don't just scrap special occasions, either. Let them have pictures of the family pet, their grandparents, house, whatever might spark their interest.
8. Design a driveway city with sidewalk chalk. Challenge them to draw enough buildings to fill the entire driveway. Then add cars, flowers, trees and even people. I'm sure my daughter will have a castle or two in hers! Just a thought...let them do this in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat the pavement!
9. Plan dinner and help Mom cook it. If you're like me, you have tons of cookbooks and recipe magazines on hand. Give them to your kids and let them pick a recipe or two that they might like. Help them make a grocery list, then take them to the store to shop for ingredients. Not only will they realize how much effort you put into cooking for them, it will give them a sense of accomplishment. And who knows? Maybe they'll try something new and actually like it because they prepared it!
10. Check out "how to draw" books from the library. Then let your children draw, draw, draw. Praise their efforts and display their drawings. Have a family art show to highlight their work. Invite some friends to participate, too.
Hopefully you can save your sanity this summer by offering some fun, new things for your kids to do. I'll have ten more activities to try next week.
For more helpful tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family. You'll find tons of hints to make your life easier!