A short gap-toothed person looked at me today, smiled, and said, “…only fourteen more days of school!”
Summer is on its way!
No need to run screaming to hide in a closet. Below are my top ten ideas to fill those sunny days with things that will engage their brains and bodies:
- Exercise. They have been cooped up all winter. Throw them outside with a ball, bike or roller skates.
- Be creative. All those regimented classes, begone! Break out the finger-paints, colored pencils, and charcoal and let them draw anything they want. Find some sticks and build a fort. Act out a drama. The world is their canvas! I mean that literally: they can draw on bark, rocks, the sidewalk…
- Listen to music, and make your own. Break out the kitchen utensils if you don’t have instruments. Write your own songs and play them on pots and pans. This is a two-fer, because you will also build reading skills as you play with the words. Listen to music from other cultures and styles and you will painlessly add on lessons in history and anthroology.
- Explore. Hit the museum, the library, and the internet, where the world awaits. If nothing comes to mind, ask them what they find interesting and start with that.
- Volunteer. Not only is a great way to spend their time, it also fosters an appreciation for what they already have.
- Do chores. Chores bind a family together, allow for pride of accomplishment, teach responsibility, and provide a source of money so you can…
- Teach financial lessons. What better way than with summer money? Decide before they have it in their grubby paws what they want to save for and how much of their earnings will go into savings. Then watch the pile grow. This works even better if you can match their savings for a little extra inspiration.
- Learn a new skill. Make sure it is something they want to learn, of course. Summer is the traditional time for classes, camps, and music lessons. Have a “we’re only speaking spanish” hour, learn to swim, make a tile mosaic – the options are endless.
- Introduce yourselves to strangers, especially those who look different than your usual friends. Compliment what they are wearing, ask about what they are doing – be interested and start a conversation. Seeing the world from another person’s point of view can up possibilities for your child.
- Get a modern sort of pen pal. These days it’s as easy as getting a twitter account, search #WhatYourChildFindsInteresting and see who pops up. Your child might end up with friends from all over the world. Umm, monitor that, OK?
Keep them moving, reading, and doing, so they won’t turn into sloths.
Have they ever seen a sloth? Isn’t it amazing how slowly they move? Let’s go find a video on Google! Or hit the library! Or draw a picture of one, and make up a story! Or do the sloth dance!
School will start back in no time.