Many kids look forward to the first day of school, but the excitement wears off and they begin the countdown of how many days until summer vacation, after about the second week of class. Parents also look forward to summer vacations, when time spent with the kids means doing activities other than homework, but trying to find ways to occupy them for two months or more, can be a daunting task. Summer brings with it longer days and fun trips to the water park or zoo, however, the majority of parents eventually will hear the dreaded “I’m bored” more than once during summer vacation. With a few simply tips and careful planning, you can give the kids a unique and fun-filled summer that will leave them anticipating next year’s summer vacation.
Tip #1: Schedule Activities
Make a schedule each week for daily activities. Scheduled events give kids something to look forward to and will make planning extra outings much easier. For example, Monday is library day; Tuesday is going to the park day and arts and crafts on Wednesday. On library day, check out a week’s worth of movies and/or books for each child. Have plenty of craft supplies available for arts and crafts day and have a variety of items so the kids do not get bored with the same project.
Tip#2: Outside Fun
Kids and the outdoors go hand-in-hand, so have plenty of outside activities available to keep them busy. Sidewalk chalk and Hula hoops are inexpensive sources of entertainment that will provide hours of fun. Designate one section of the backyard as the area for larger entertainment items and play equipment such as a trampoline (mini or full size), swing set and/or a small pool. On a free day, visit a local appliance store where the kids can get a couple of large, empty appliance boxes to use for “building” a backyard fort.
Older kids are the most notorious for becoming bored quickly, so it will be necessary to arrange special activities for them, especially if there are younger siblings. Find something your teenager is passionate about and help them get volunteer work for one or two days each week. For example, if your teenager adores animals, pet shops and shelters are usually in dire need of helping hands or they could spend a few hours each week at the local retirement home reading to the elderly. Volunteering is not only a great way to keep them entertained, but is beneficial for teaching them responsibility and to get an idea of different types of part-time jobs they may be interested in.
Tip #4: Family Day
Schedule at least one day each week, as family day. Spend the day doing adventures that you do not typically do. For example, instead of going to the park, pack a picnic and go on a hike and fishing. Have a back-yard camping and movie night. Set a tent up in the back-yard, put a television set in the tent and pop some popcorn on the grill, the kids will have a blast camping and watching movies in the backyard.
Tip #5: Have a Carnival
At the beginning of summer vacation, choose a day towards the end of the vacation to have an end of summer vacation carnival. Throughout the summer, have one day each week as carnival preparation day and assign the kids various tasks to help prepare for the carnival. Games could include a hula hoop contest, water balloon throwing contest, pie eating contest and/or ring toss. Preparations could include tasks such as during the first week the kids cutting and decorating paper plate rings for the ring toss. Make first, second and third place ribbons for contest winners as another task. Let them make and hang posters around the house with date and events for the carnival. Planning an end of the summer event will give the kids something to look forward to and the preparations will keep them busy for several weeks.
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