As a home-school mom, summer break can be an exhausting experience. After all, the only difference between the school year and summer vacation is now the kids are bored and are constantly asking you for something to do. I often call it the ‘Summer Boredom Blues’. They’ve been so busy all year with structured activities that they have trouble entertaining themselves. I don’t know about your kids but mine love to be busy. Not in the ‘chore’ aspect of busy, but in the ‘mind’ aspect of busy. Put a challenge in front of them and we have balance in our home.
I tend to get in a rut with new experiences for the summer. We just got out of school and all the busyness that school brings. The last thing I want to do is jam-pack our schedule again. So I look for the more ‘out-of-the-box’ adventures.
First rule for success….Don’t let them know it’s coming. You have the element of surprise on your side, don’t waste it. This can also be used as a motivational tool when behaviors start to act up.
Second rule…..These activities do NOT have to be flashy. It’s more about the memories than anything else. I especially need to remember this! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just memorable….
I have compiled a list of 10 summer activities to share with your kids. Here is my list of activities we WILL experience this summer…
1. Sleep on the trampoline with your kids. I so hope you have one. This activity was one of my absolute favorites growing up as a kid. I couldn’t wait to drag out every blanket (and critter) we owned. I would lie for hours just gazing up at the massive sky. Now I love to see my kids’ same excitement. You can do some extra planning with this and save it for a meteor shower or eclipse.
2. Give yourself pedicures. Even boys can appreciate a pampering foot soak. I have girls so this is right up their alley. I go all out. We start with a lavender-infused salt bath. I do throw a little teaching in there with proper foot hygiene. There is always one kiddo that just can’t seem to trim their toenails correctly.
3. Take them fishing. This is a NO gadget activity (for the adults too). Even if you don’t catch a single fish, the activity is more about connecting back with your kids’ hearts. I am so guilty for not slowing down enough to hear them. This gives us a chance to really talk. I am looking forward to this so much this summer.
4. Let them choose a small town on your state map and hit the road. Let them pick the music and snacks (with guidance). Sorry, but I want to eat too!!
5. Hiking with a scavenger list. We hike a lot as it is, so this makes it a little more special. It’s amazing how fast the trail goes when they have a list of objects they are looking for. My family is very competitive so we always make it a contest. No sore winners or losers allowed. Be creative when making your list. Know the area you will be hiking and have them search for items they normally wouldn’t look to find.
6. Volunteer at a shelter. I have said we are going to do this every year and have failed to do so. Having a rural family, we are sheltered from so much of the world’s hardness. We tend to think the entire world is our own 30 acres. This is such a good lesson for them to understand that life has hard consequences and we still have a responsibility to act with love, hospitality, and compassion. I’m specifically saving this activity for when the kids’ complaining starts up….or maybe even mine!
7. Make garden labels. This is a selfish project, but I don’t feel too bad because the kids really enjoy this. Anytime they can whip out the paints and get creative they are ALL IN. This year I’m going with a ladybug theme. They can paint them what ever color they want as long as it resembles a lady bug and has the garden plant name written on the stripe down the middle. I use about 3-4″ rocks. Part of the project is finding them. This works perfect if you need a field or garden cleared of rocks.
8. Visit a nursing home. Sometimes I forget what a gift my kids are to others. It is a shame that I keep them all to myself. Every time I have ever visited a nursing home, my kids have been a hit. There is always someone there that could use some lovin’ on. This is such a great way for them to grow their compassion and respect.
9. Let them plan, shop for, and cook dinner. This is a team effort and you, the parent, are there to guide. It is so fun to see them come up with a menu and look very satisfied with the element of control they have. Of course, they also get to clean up! This is a great hidden life-skill lesson.
10. Learn one new hobby WITH them. Nothing says humility like learning something new along side your kids. I haven’t discussed with them yet, but they will have equal input. I cringe at the possibilities, but I feel it is important that they see me grow too.
I know now more than ever that the time we have with our kids is short. We have a small window of opportunity to capture their hearts and engage with them. I have been down the road where I’ve let busyness steal these precious times away. Beating the summer boredom blues is so much more than being busy. You beat it by finding contentment in growing their creativity. Summer is such a great time to slow down and grow right along with our kids.
What are your favorite summer activities? How do you beat the summer boredom blues? What are some of our favorite childhood summer memories? Do you incorporate those with your kids today? I’d love to hear from you!
favorite summer activities : Picking blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and other fruits and veggies. Learning to make jam, pickles, relishes, etc.
Visiting small town museums, parks, memorial parks, state parks, historical sites, graveyards. So much history and so little time!
Road trips in rural areas- finding small parks, farm stands, ice cream stands, hot dog stands.
Free outdoor concerts.
Festivals- every small town has festivals, with parades, activities, and fireworks at night.
Minor league baseball games. Double A , Triple A teams have players who are still dreaming of making it to the big time and are playing for the fun of the game. Also, many of the big name players come down to the minors to rehab injuries so it is a great way to get autographs and meet “stars”.
Organize toys, clothes, etc, and have a yard sale. Include a lemonade stand and use the money for fun activities like going to a water park.
Make up your own obstacle course in the backyard, with slip n slides ( can use a tarp) with a bit of baby shampoo on it, sprinklers, pool noodles, etc.
Fire pits with hot dogs and so’mors.
Library reading program
4-H day camp programs