This is the last week before the unofficial start of summer! Memorial Day Weekend is what most people consider the first weekend of summer, especially hotels which jack up their prices for the season. If your kids are like mine, they're going to play, play, play for the first day or two, then come to you with cries of "I'm bored!"
Last week I shared some fun boredom busters to try with them in Part One. Now on to Part Two.
11. Write a letter to Grandma. Or anyone, really. But Grandmas really like that sort of thing, especially if you and your kids live far, far away like we do. This will give them some handwriting and spelling practice, too. Gotta keep those skills sharp!
12. Build a castle out of cardboard. You can find some really cool instructions here. For a simpler version, go here. You use toilet paper, right? Well, here's a great way to use up those cardboard rolls! And give your kids something constructive to do in the process.
13. Make placemats with their artwork and contact paper. Cut two sheets of contact paper a few inches larger than their pictures. Lay their masterpieces face down on one sheet very carefully to avoid wrinkles. Then cover the back with the other sheet of contact paper. Trim around the edges. You can also use this as a playdough mat to stop those pesky little playdough droppings from sticking to your table!
14. Plan a theme party together. This doesn't have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as having a few of their friends over for sandwiches one afternoon. But pick a theme like a bug party or a water party. You could have a baking party and let your guests create cupcakes or something easy. Have your children design invitations to be sent out. Let them plan games and activities that revolve around the chosen theme. Note - this is NOT a birthday party. Oh, no. This is just because. Mainly because you're a cool mom!
15. Publish a family newspaper. Tell your friends and family all the latest news from your children's perspectives. We did this a few weeks ago - it was Mr. Lego's idea. His headline? "Dad fixes sink!" He also drew some pretty interesting stick figure illustrations. What would a newspaper be without the funny pages? Let them draw cartoons or write jokes. Include favorite family recipes, too. The Princess was a little too eager to inform the general public of her brother's misdeeds, so we left the crime report out.
16. Whip up a batch of salt dough and let them create. Here's a basic recipe:
Dissolve 1 cup of salt in 1 1/4 cups water. Stir in 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, until a nice soft dough forms. Now you have a substance similar to Sculpey clay. You can roll this out and cut into shapes, or you can let them create anything from a bouquet of salty flowers to a zoo full of little animals. You can even make salt dough beads for jewelry! Bake their creations at 200 degrees for about an hour or until dry and hard. Allow to cool, then paint.
17. Design a puzzle. There are two ways to start this project. You can let them color a picture from a coloring book or they can draw and color their own picture. Either way, it's their creation. Once they have their design, cut apart a cereal box and glue the picture to the cardboard. Let them cut the picture into 20-30 pieces. Now they have their own personal puzzle!
18. Maintain a journal. Give each child their own spiral notebook. Once or twice a week, write a question down in the notebook for them to answer. It can be silly like "What kind of super power do you wish you had?" to serious such as "What quality to you admire most about your Dad?" Google "children's journaling prompts" for hundreds of ideas for questions. Even when summer is over, you can incorporate the journal into your weekly routine and let them write down invaluable memories and thoughts about their childhoods.
19. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard. Use chairs, cones, even pool toys to create zig zags, hurdles and race courses. Time each competitor with a stop watch. Then run the courses backwards. Not in reverse. I mean, turn around and run backwards! Reward each athlete with a popsicle or snow cone!
20. Put together an "All About Me" collage. Get a piece of poster board for each child and let them tell about themselves through pictures, drawings, or lists. Include their height and weight, as well as eye color, hair color, how many teeth they have missing, etc. Make lists of their favorite things. Cut pictures out of magazines of their favorite foods. Write the date on the back so you know when they created it. Next year, make another collage. It will be fun to see how much they've grown and changed.
I hope I've given you some inspiration to try new things with your kids this summer. As we do these things, I'll post pictures and tips, too!
If you have an awesome idea for keeping your kids from being bored this summer, please share! Please!
For more helpful tips and hints, visit We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday.