The school year is coming to a close, and as parents, we find ourselves excited about the end of another chapter in our child’s educational journey and possibly a bit apprehensive about the long stretch of the upcoming summer months. Sometimes we can’t get through day one of break without hearing, I’m bored or There’s nothing to do. An easy solution can be to power up a device or pop in a movie, but resist my fellow parents!
Is there a time and place for screens? Absolutely. We all use them. With the digital craze that’s inundated our society, we have to be realistic, but we can also be selective. The key to guilt-free parenting this summer is using screens sparingly. We will all feel better at the end of the day if the only buttons involved were the ones used to make the eyes on a sock puppet. Create a Boredom Buster Jar by writing various activities from our seven screen-free solutions on popsicle sticks or slips of paper. A draw from the jar will help active learning step to the forefront this year!
- Earth Art — This great collection from Hands on As We Grow will have your kids transforming objects in nature into amazing works of art. A little time admiring Mother Nature through a new lens can lead to some amazing masterpieces!
- Chipping in on Chores — No matter what age, it’s never too early to teach your kids some responsibility and understanding about the ins and outs of running a household. Expanding chore lists during the summer months can be a solution to, There’s nothing to do., and it can also offer a reprieve for busy parents. Focus on the Family has a great list of age-appropriate personal and family chores. Turn on some music and let a dusting dance party ensue!
- Nature Walk — Take advantage of the nice weather and head to a local park or nature trail to do some collecting and/or observing. A quick Nature Guide can be created with pictures for non-readers and/or names of items for older kids to locate or gather. A Ziploc baggie containing the list can serve as the collection container for leaves, wildflowers, feathers, stones, etc. If collecting doesn’t work for you, the baggie can still hold the list and a marker can be used to check off found items.
- Make a Move — Fitness is a top priority any time of year, but the summer months lend themselves to a bevy of opportunities. Try a local camp or rec league, organize some neighborhood games, and encourage your kids to head outdoors as much as possible. Family Education has a top ten list of neighborhood games from freeze tag to Frisbee that will appeal to a variety of ages.
- Beautification Project — Whether it’s watering, weeding, picking, or planting, time spent tending to outdoor projects is never wasted. This would also be a great opportunity to do a beautification project for a neighbor in need. We believe it’s never too early to become a contributing member to the community. Summer lends itself to service and volunteerism projectsin your own neighborhood.
- Relax with Reading — Create an indoor or outdoor reading nook and keep a variety of reading materials on hand. Leafing through the pages of books and/or magazines is a perfect summer pastime for kids of all ages. Check into summer reading challenges at your local library and/or have your kids read their way to a free book from Barnes and Noble.
- Get Crafty — Having a go-to craft bin for inspiration and creation is a great summer idea. This is a chance to head outdoors and try some of those messier projects. Give some items in the recycle bin a new purpose with projects like these water bottle flowers from Hands on as We Grow.