Last summer was surely the most challenging one for parents with everyone trying to navigate work, school, household chores, activities, and boredom. Kids have always complained about having nothing to do over a long, hot summer but last year they had a legitimate reason to gripe. The joy of swimming in a pool with friends, playing baseball, going to camp, and just about every part of summer fun was cancelled. But this year, we’re ready to enjoy life again!
Kids can once again run, play, and explore with their playmates. But … those three words are coming: “Mom, I’m bored.” It’s inevitable.
Help Around the House
Growing up, my sister and I always had chores to do before we were set free. Depending on your child’s level of concentration, chores can take up a good chunk of time, making freedom feel like a real reward. It’s never too soon to give kids chores, and managing their toy collection is a great place to start.
Have them pick up toys by color, size, or shape. Turn on some music and take dance breaks to keep the fun going. Hide a treat or reward of some kind. Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? Try having everyone work together on the same chore, like making their bed or folding their clothes. Set a timer and see who can finish first.
If naps are still part of your child’s day, storytime helps everyone settle down and ease into quiet mode. Kids of all ages will benefit from some down time, without electronics, to decompress. After a good snooze, head to a nice cool library. Stock up on books and movies for tomorrow’s quiet time.
When the kids are ready to go outside, plan a few simple activities that only require things you have on hand, according to their skill level. Use a bucket and brushes to ‘paint’ the house, sidewalk, or patio. Hunt for bugs, lizards, or birds. Make an illustrated book about what was found.
During the heat of the day when it’s time to come inside, let the kids prepare part of dinner or dessert. Use an illustrated recipe card that everyone can follow. It doesn’t matter if it takes you twice as long, or they make a mess. They’ll learn math, teamwork, patience, and so much more.
Plan a dinnertime picnic at your favorite park. Give the kids an extra snack to push the dinner hour and avoid the late day sun. We’re so lucky to live in a place where dusk doesn’t bring on the mosquitoes that can ruin a good outing. After dinner, let the kids run and play, then watch the sunset and head home.