By Angie Ketcham
Every child can hardly wait for the that last school bell to ring so they can be footloose and fancy free for the summer. But, it doesn't take long till every parent hears that familiar chime, "I'm Bored!" from the masses. This summer make an extra point to get your kids out the door and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Take a day early on in the summer to sit down and brainstorm about ideas that your kids may want to do during the summer. Make a list or a calendar to write these activities down. Budget and balance free activities with those that might need to be saved up for. There are many activities that are available with a little bit of research and a whole lot of creativity.
Movies and Plays
Most cities will offer up a public movie theater one or two days a week to do a free movie. Because they are designed for children, they will usually be safe to view for all ages. Be sure to plan in advance, though, as some may too scary or harsh language for your child. Along with free movies, our local theater will offer $5 days, where first run movies are offered for the day. If there are movies that your kids have been wanting to see but haven't had the chance, see if your theater has special days for such events. Make a special treat that you can "buy a snack" that day or invite a friend. This will give your child something to look forward to during the summer. In our area there is also the option of two drive in movie theaters. This is a fun experience to do in the evening time. It's usually cheaper because they usually charge by the car and you can load up the car with a lot of people.
In our local area, we also have several outdoor options for plays, musicals, and bands. Most places will offer a music in the park or something along those lines. Look in your local newspaper to find out what's going on in your area. Some may be free and some may cost, so plan in advance, if this is a concern for your family. You can use these activities as incentives also to "get the jobs done" at home, whether they be chores or other obligations. Time spent with you is what is important in the end.
Swimming and Water Games
No summer is complete without a dip in the pool or a run through the sprinklers. Although this goes without saying, shake it up a little with games to interest everyone. Pinterest is loaded with ideas on summer water games and activities. Once again, with a little research, you'll have a whole summer planned without even trying.
If you are going to be out in the sun, be sure to remember the sunscreen and other supplies. Make yourself a "pool bag" that contains everything you would need to play in the water: towels, sunglasses, shoes, change of clothes, loose change for snacks, prepared snacks, goggles, and any other supplies that might be needed. This makes for a more pleasant trip when everything is right at hand.
Even though we all know, it bears repeating: always keep a close watch on younger children and those who are unable to swim very good. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water under the right circumstances. Make sure any home pools are locked up when not in use. It only takes a matter of minutes before a child can drown. Be watchful at all times.
Indoor Work and Games
Although outside is the preferred place to be during the summer, there are just times when this is not possible. This particular year has been so rainy that there have been as many indoor days as outdoors. When this is the case, we have to be extra creative to keep the kids busy, yet away from that screen for hours on end. It is possible. You might just have to get the creative juices flowing.
First of all, I recommend educational games and worksheets. When my kids were young, they loved to play "school" where one was the teacher and the others were students. And it's okay for your kids to get in that extra practice on math and reading, even if they think it's not necessary. There are many websites that are available that allow you to generate worksheets and print them off. Today on Facebook, I will share some of those sites for those who might be interested. "School", along with "restaurant", were among the favorites of my children.
Another hit every time is building forts, especially when it is storming outside. Remember, for just a short time, what it was like to be a kid, creating rooms in your fort, and just have fun being creative. Kids love to build forts and I find this will make the day fly away before you get "I'm bored" coming from their mouths.
Remember, the object is to have fun, so just be creative and the new school year will be starting up before you know it!