As kids are nearing the end of another school year, there is an outbreak of summer fever that erupts in anticipation for the adventures that await! You can almost smell the funnel cakes at the carnivals, taste the crisp, home-made lemonade, and feel the refreshing pool water on your toes-all the elements that remind us fondly as to why we love summertime. In the midst of all this excitement, befuddled parents are often left with the summer dilemma: what to do with the kids during these months off from school. And in attempt to survive, create a strategy to combat all the constant inquiries, the whining statements of “I’m bored” and “It’s hot” and the daily question of “Mom! What are we gonna do today”?
As I began to filter through suggestion blogs for summer fun, I can’t help but wonder: when did family entertainment become so complicated? I recall summers running barefoot outside, making a fort in the woods and playing capture the flag. Now it seems moms are formulating these elaborate summer itineraries that include lengthy Pinterest “must-do” picturesque crafts, projects and recipes. Not to mention the multiple visits to the local attractions of amusement parks, recreation centers, zoo trips, and museums (complete with scavenger hunts, of course).
No wonder so many of us are pulling our hair out at the thought of summer! It’s become far too complicated! Do you remember your childhood? Our parents would never have stood for such ridiculousness. If we got bored when we were younger, our parents didn’t react like “Oh, no! What do we do now?- our child is bored”! They responded with a simple solution, like “go outside,” leaving us completely mystified as to how that solved our problem. It’s time to consider going back to basics- enjoying the nostalgia of good ole’ fashioned entertainment. Don’t overthink it, don’t stress out about it and just have fun making memories with your kids- that is the true opportunity of summertime!
11 Simple Summer Solutions:
- Sidewalk Chalk- kids love drawing on the cement. But don’t just sit there sipping your sweet tea-get in there and draw too! Draw a hopscotch or a four square and play a game with your kids.
- Take Bike Rides- check out local bike trails or just ride around the neighborhood. If your kids are smaller, bring a bike trailer.
- Nature walks- kids have this awe and wonder about nature. It is a great way to help them discover, while teaching them about God’s creation.
- Picnic in the Park- have the kids help you pack a picnic lunch. Eat at the park, then take part in a game of catch and play on the playground equipment.
- Library Reading Programs- kids don’t have to be on education auto-pilot over the summer. Libraries are a wonderful resource to encourage reading and offer a variety of family events throughout the week.
- VBS- take your kids to your church VBS and check out other local churches who offer a VBS program. This gives your kids the chance to make new friends and learn about God in a fun and exciting way.
- Water fun- it may not be the beach, but nothing’s better than a good sprinkler to run through or kiddie pool to beat the heat! Or even bask in the competition of a water gun fight!
- Bonfires- sit around the fire, tell corny jokes and funny stories, and make some gooey smores. This was the essence of my childhood summers growing up.
- Family game night- Board games and cards are great for rainy days, but on the beautiful days, get outside and play a simple game- play a game of soccer, have a hula hooping contest, or team up for flashlight tag.
- Garden- kids enjoy getting their hands dirty. It is a great learning experience for them to plant and watch the fruits of the labor grow.Let them pick two or three things each to plant. Remember- think simple- a small flower bed or vegetable garden is enough.
- Visit a local farm- many farms open to the public one or two days per week with reasonable admission. The kids have a chance to pet and feed the animals, and have a pony ride ( or five) Children can learn about farming and where food comes from and enjoy taking home some local, fresh produce for dinner!
When considering what to do with your kids this summer, just keep it simple. Our kids don’t expect (or need) this expensive, lavished summer. What kids do crave is not a daily schedule filled with endless projects and outings until reaching total exhaustion, but building relationships and memories with the ones they love the most. As we begin our summer adventures, don’t think about how you can “survive” this extra time with your kids. Moms, I would love to encourage you that this is a golden opportunity to plant seeds of love in your kids. Seeds that are planted through your time and attention, not business. It is a season to enjoy, not endure.
This is my last summer of having my kids home with me everyday as I get ready to send my daughter to school for the first time this fall. Our routine will soon shift into fifth gear as we incur hectic early mornings, followed by afternoon sports practice, homework, and evening programs. I anticipate to cherish every moment of this summer before embarking into the busy unknown. I know a time will come when I will have to twist my kids’ arms to hang out with me. Take advantage of this time! Embrace the company of your kids in this summer season and this season in life!
The Humble Homemaker