- Family and Parenting
Fighting Summer Boredom With Fun Activities
What To Do With Ourselves?
Before the sun had set on the first day of summer break I'd lost count of how many times I'd heard those dreaded words "I'm bored!" Something about those words irritated me when my kids uttered them years ago and I still have that same reaction when I hear them from my grandchildren. My usual answer is "if being bored is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you'll be fine". Shortly thereafter I invariably find myself trying to think of ways for them to entertain themselves.
I don't remember my siblings and I ever complaining of boredom as children and the toys at our disposal were few and far between. I tried to remember how we spent our days back then. Games like jacks and marbles filled a lot of our time along with hula hoops, bikes, playing in the mud and running through the sprinklers.
Could it be possible that kids are kids regardless of all the technology they've mastered? After playing Mario Brothers and Angry Birds for so long could a game of rummy or hopscotch ever keep their attention? I decided to find out.
To my surprise jacks and marbles were a hit. My seven year old grandson couldn't quite master picking up the jacks with the same hand the ball was in so we modified the rules for him.......whatever works. They also had fun playing hopscotch and trying to keep a hula hoop from hitting the ground. Sitting around the table playing the card game rummy has filled many hours since I taught the kids to play. As the old saying goes 'the more things change, the more they stay the same.'
Mini Camp Right At Home
Going away to summer camp isn't always an option so an alternative is to have a mini camp right in your own home. Plan activities for just your crew or you could include some of their friends. A structured schedule for the day could include anything you have the equipment for, such as archery using toy bows and arrows, a scavenger hunt, mini golf, foot races, sack races, corn hole competitions or basketball and table tennis tournaments.
Crafts to participate in could be making tie-dyed shirts, doing a collage from old magazine photos, making homemade play dough, sand art, constructing bracelets out of beads and string and using fabric paint to decorate shirts. Finger painting and blowing bubbles will keep the younger crowd busy.
Think Out Of The Box Sometimes
A large appliance box in the hands of young artists can become any number of things. I've seen them transformed into space ships, castles, tents and a plethora of other interesting abodes. Most of the time you can pick them up at the appliance store before they dispose of them.
Most kids love playing in water and there are many ways that can be achieved. Trips to the local pool are great from time to time but if you have several children the expense might be a problem. Water play at home can fill an afternoon with lots of fun in the sun for everyone. A slip and slide is relatively inexpensive and can provide hours of sliding while staying cool. Water balloons are always a hit, as is running through the sprinklers or even just playing with the water hose or squirting each other with squirt guns while wearing swim suits.
Planting a small garden is something that makes kids feel like they've really accomplished something. It also encourages them to eat the veggies they grow, which is a bonus. Picking berries and making smoothies with them can fill an afternoon with fun and nutrition.
An evening of sitting around a bonfire roasting marshmallows and making s'mores is a perfect ending to a day of active fun. Having mom or dad set up a tent and camp out in the backyard with them would thrill a lot of kids while others would rather learn to sew or bake cookies inside. Putting on a play that they write themselves complete with costumes from old clothes and mom and dad in the audience is another idea to fill a summer evening.
Don't Stress Over The Mess, Enjoy The Moment
There is nothing kids like better than to be allowed to make as big a mess as possible. Body painting with chocolate pudding, dumping all the cushions off the living room furniture to pretend mountain climb, throwing stuffed animals all over the house to make a jungle and painting rocks on the dining room table are just a few of the ways they can accomplish their goal. Try not to worry about having a clean house to the extent that it keeps you from enjoying your time with your children.
Yes, kids will always be kids, no matter how advanced our society becomes. They will always need the opportunity to play and use their imagination. The undivided attention of a loving adult is something every child responds to, no matter what. The activity matters so much less than the connection made. Snuggling with a good book is a perfect way to end each day. Enjoy them while they're little, they don't stay that way nearly long enough!