"I'm bored," sigh. Saying this is almost as necessary as breathing for kids. Instead of a reciprocal complaint I decided to plan some fun summer activities for my children to fill their weeks off from school. We had a jump start this year and took two weeks of vacation beginning the Sunday after school let out the previous Friday. But now boredom has poked its eyes into our lives and threatened to stand firm in the hearts of my children if I did not offer something other than swim team and short chores to preoccupy them.
Ideas to Beat the Summer Boredom Blues
Plant a Morning Glory and Sunflower House
Yes, it is July and the temperatures have been 100F +, but these two flowers grow so quickly and are easy to care for. I dug four shallow holes and placed a wooden 2x2 about 6 feet long into each. Next, I leaned them against each other and tied them together to form a pyramid shape. Then, we dug a small trench (basically just pull up some of the sod) around three sides of the pyramid. Next, scatter seeds for the flowers in the trench. Sprinkle a bit of potting or top soil over the seeds and water. Keep water each morning and evening (as needed) and soon the plants will be sprouting. You can over more climbing support by tying twine between the poles. By the end of the summer, you should have a nice spot. The flowers will last into fall.
Visit a Cavern
Where can you go to cool off in the summer besides the pool? Underground! Caverns are fascinating for children and not only do they offer spectacular structures to see, they are chilly. Most have a constant underground temperature of 55F. I would take that over 90-100F any day.
Picnics are fun and visiting parks are highly entertaining. Unfortunately, my children seem to complain about the heat and the bugs not long after arriving at a park in the summer time. My solution is to have a breakfast picnic and enjoy the park before it is crowded and too hot. Pack some jam filled muffins, boiled eggs, fruit and iced lemonade.
Daytime Pajama Party
We do not often allow our children to spend the night at others houses or have children over to stay but do make an occasional exception. Another way to do a 'slumber party' is to have friends over during the day to do what you might normally do at a sleep over: wear your favorite pajamas, have snacks, play games, and watch movies.
Make Watermelon or Lemon Ice
There are all kinds of recipes for either of these on the internet. Children will spend time helping make the treat, then clean up and make some lemonade or watermelon limeade to enjoy while waiting for the frozen treat. Another thing they could do is write a 'how to' from memory while they are waiting. Then see how close they were to the actual directions.
Around my home town there are a few pick your own orchards. In July they offer cherry, blueberry and peach picking. Most open early, around 8 a.m., so you can go before it is too hot. Once home make some preserves or a pie together. Most preserves you don't need to have special canning equipment for just keep in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.
Make Sidewalk Chalk
Here is a recipe I found but I am certain you could find more. Use it not only for the sidewalk or driveway but to make a masterpiece on paper. This activity could be related to art museum visit.
Participate in Reading Challenges for Children
PBS has a reading challenge this summer that provides any child participating with a 44% discount coupon for Barnes and Nobles. I have not participated in many of these in the past because most offer a free book and the books have been ones my children are not interested in. I thought this was a nice 'prize' for their reading. Another thing you could do is visit either Barnes and Nobles or Borders story time. Check for availability near you.
Some of the theaters in my area provide $1 and even free family movies once a week. Often my children have seen what is showing but not always. Even if they have seen a movie that is offered, they really enjoy going to see it on the big screen with some popcorn. The theater is cool inside and provides some inexpensive entertainment.
Trip to Museum or Historical Site
Yes, most of you already have this on your summer list to do, but these trips can be made more exciting and educational. Choose a topic that your child will be studying at school this fall to give him a head start. Find books that are related and read before taking the trip. Also, plan a scavenger hunt. These are simple such as finding a list of items. You could also make a word search of the things on the scavenger hunt list.
Shirts (and onsies for babies) can be bought new or purchased from a thrift store. Even use an old favorite that you might have tossed due to stains. There are some great videos found on youtube as well as written instructions online for tie dying. You could even make your own natural dyes.
Camp Out, In Your Backyard
My children always want to go camping. If you can't take the time or don't want to, pitch a tent in your back yard. If you aren't able to make a fire, just broil some hot dogs and pop some popcorn to enjoy. Tell some stories and watch the night sky.
Finally, have your child keep a picture journal. I have been taking pictures (even of every day ho-hum events) and have my children choose one picture each for a week. Then they write about the picture, usually three paragraphs: one for what happened before the picture (minutes, hours or days), one for just what is pictured, then one for what happened after the picture (again, minutes, hours or days). At the end of the summer we will put these all together and each child will have a keepsake of his summer. There are some neat websites that allow you to put an album together and have printed in hardback for a fancy touch. It can be treasured for years to come as well as used as a show and tell item for the new school year with new friends.
Add your ideas and favorite summer activities in the comments. Enjoy your summer and enjoy your family!