Well, it’s here, our official first day of summer vacation. A break from busy schedules, alarm clocks, and homework. We had a wonderful school year, but are looking forward to enjoying less hectic days. I wanted to share a few ideas about how you can make this time with your children fun and enjoyable.
First, give them a pen and some paper and ask them to make a list of what they would like to do this summer. Then, discuss what they have on their list and let them know what is do-able. For example, a trip to Disney World might be one of the items you will have to scratch off immediately. Also, offer some other suggestions for things they may not have thought about. Then, print out a calendar sheet for June, July, and August, and try to schedule in some dates when you could do those things.
Here are few suggestions for activities you might try:
The Library – they offer so many options. They have summer reading programs with incentives and celebrations. They offer book readings at the library and off-site in bookmobiles, and at various local parks. They also offer days for crafts and days for movies, and other activities. So be sure to check out what your local library has to offer. You can fill many days of your calendar with activities from your library.
Crafts – of course there are many projects you can do at home with your kids, including some great ones for your backyard and garden. But you should also check out your local craft stores. Some, including Michael’s, offer days when your kids can participate in craft projects at their store. Additionally, sometimes Home Depot or Lowe’s will offer days when kids can participate in craft or building projects. Some of these are free and some are offered for a minimal cost. So be sure to check your local stores and see what they offer.
Movies – you can have your own movie night or you can check out local offerings like outdoor movies in your town, discount mornings at your local theater where you can get a movie and popcorn for really cheap, movies at the library, or movie nights offered by local churches. Keep your eyes open – read the newspaper, read community bulletins, or look on line for various options.
Museums and Zoos – check out local museums and zoos. Some offer days that are free to the public. Additionally, some libraries have free passes to museums that are available to patrons. Check with them for details and if you need to reserve them. Visiting museums and zoos is not only a fun family outing, but can also be very educational. And, if you do your research, you can visit for free.
Outdoor Fun – Be sure to include some good ‘ole outdoor activities like walks in the park, picnics, bike riding, rollerblading, fishing, and swimming. Nearby parks, trails, pools, beaches, and lakes should definitely be on your list. You can also create some fun in your backyard with plastic pools, sprinklers, water shooters, and water balloons. Try making an obstacle course where kids can climb thru, over, under, or hang from. You can even make it a “water” obstacle course. Or, have a backyard treasure hunt. The options are endless.
Camps – Park districts offer various day camps and some high schools and colleges offer sports camps. Or, make your own fun camp at home and invite a few friends.
Vacation Bible School – Various churches offer a full week of vacation bible school which includes games, crafts, and bible lessons. You should definitely have this on your list.
Education – While it is good to relax and enjoy summer, you should incorporate some time for continued learning. Schedule some time for your kids to play on-line math and grammar games that reinforce skills. Buy a workbook and have them spend some time a few days a week reviewing skills and concepts. And of course, read. You can even start a book club with a few friends. Have them read the same book and then get together once a week to discuss it. You can make it a lunch date or even a pizza night. Make learning fun.
Other Ideas – A few other items to consider are bowling, having an ice cream social with friends, and cooking together. Create a breakfast buffet where each family member cooks something or a make your own pizza night. And finally, if it is a rainy day, consider declaring it Pajama Day and lounge around all day in your PJ’s and play indoor games or watch movies or clean and organize – but KEEP IT FUN!
Enjoy your summer. Enjoy your family.