School’s out for summer!
And the kids are happy. No stress, no homework, no getting up early…
But then the dreaded question: ‘What are we doing today, Mom?’
Summertime is easy. Summertime is slow and relaxed. But summertime can also become boring pretty quickly.
Unless Mom has a Plan B.
Here are 5 activities to keep your kids busy and happy in summertime – without breaking the bank.
- A new sport/game
The best kind of activities to help drive away summertime boredom are those that last and repeat. Activities that you can do every day, all summer, and that take up a few hours at a time.Learning a new sport or game is one of the best,
Swimming, running, riding a bicycle, and any team sports that are available in your area are all traditional summer sports. They keep your kids healthy and active, and they also introduce a fun dynamic. As they practice the sport, they get better at it. And as they get better, new goals open up. Which means that the sport also occupies their minds and gives their days and weeks some structure.
Best of all: once they learn a new sport, it can stay with them after the summer is over and can potentially become a new hobby. (Don’t forget to include dancing and yoga in your list of possible new sports! These work well with teenage girls.)
- Cooking and baking
These activities work well for days when outdoor activities are rained out or you are preparing for a barbecue, a birthday or some other special celebration. Cooking and baking are ‘cool’ now, and they give your kids a sense of achievement.
‘Look I made this!’ That’s a proud moment for children of all ages. Watching others enjoy their food is very rewarding and can feel quite grown-up. It is also a great way to connect with children when you are occupied in the kitchen.
Pass on your heritage with special dishes and family recipes too. Allow your kids to invent a new version and call it their own. Cooking and baking is always there whenever there’s nothing else to do, and always produces fun results.
- Building and gardening
Do you need to renovate your shed? Are you thinking of upgrading the basement? Perhaps the bedrooms need to be cleaned, de-cluttered and rearranged? Now is the perfect time to do so.
Depending on the age of your children, they can take part in all aspects of the project, from planning and designing, to moving, cleaning and painting furniture. There’s never a dull moment. Activities change as the project comes together. Your kids can look forward to the finished result, and feel proud that they were part of it.
Also, building projects tend to be quite time consuming! If you can get your kids into a gardening project, they will have a little bit to do every day; looking after the plants, making sure they are doing well, watching for fruit and flowers. If you have the space, why not give each child a little plot or their own box on the balcony? A sense of ownership will keep them motivated.
- Artwork or an ‘end of summer’ performance
Summer is the time to get creative.Allow your kids to experiment with colors, shapes and materials. Let them express their creativity without being graded on it. Show them a few techniques in painting, sculpting with cheap materials, creating cartoon strip stories.
Set a date for a ‘home exhibition’ where everyone shows their work to family and friends. Why not serve a few home baked goodies at the same time?
If your family is more gifted in acting and music, why not set your goal as an ‘end of summer’ performance with songs, skits, and dancing? Your kids can work and look forward towards it all summer. It also creates a good transition to going back to school.
- A ‘trip with extras’
Take a family trip once a week. Ask your kids to prepare for it by researching the location, making food, packing bags and helping to plan the schedule. Assign tasks and encourage exploration.
When you come back, you can incorporate your experiences into artwork, performance, home décor or new cooking experiments.
Don’t forget that summertime is family time.
Your kids are growing up fast – spend time with them now!
If you live in New York, here are some links to other great summertime activities to prevent boredom:
Free Summer Activities for Kids: NYC Parks
Liz Morrison, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker with a psychotherapy practice in New York City, where she works with children, adolescents and their families as well as emerging adults.
Liz obtained a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, as well as a Masters Certificate from New York University in Child and Family Therapy. In her work with children and families Liz specializes in behavior disorders, ADHD, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and social skills. She also specializes in anxiety disorders, relationship issues and life transitions in her work with adults.
For more information, please visit www.LizMorrisonTherapy.com.