Our Personal Guide to a Bored-Free Summer
Summertime is in full swing. I feel super accomplished when I set up our family to take full advantage of the endless free time by doing a few things that allow me to cruise into summer life. Having some plans in place helps to calm my anxious mind. Because let’s face it, 24/7 with the kids at home instead of at school isn’t what most would call “calm.” In our family, everyone excels with a little bit of structure and plans in place, so I like to think of things that will keep the kids engaged and my sanity intact. The following tips are helpful because it gives us things to look forward to, things to pull out to play (instead of my hair), and keeps my kids’ minds engaged instead of the TV and tablets sucking them dry.
Whether it’s a staycation exploring the town on free weekends or heading out and exploring the world, this is a great time to connect and make memories no matter the destination. Planning a trip that holds your kid’s interest is vital to designing an enjoyable trip. Perhaps a place they learned about in school or a place you vacationed as a child. These memories will last a lifetime and be well worth the time spent together. So block the calendar and plan the trip.
Create A Weekly Calendar
Pay attention to Facebook pages and Blogs recommending museums, shows, or activities. I try to make plans to include one event per day out of the house. It could be a playdate with friends, and afternoon of swimming, or lunch at their favorite restaurant. Put it on a calendar for them to see. They’ll be less likely to fall into the refrain of “I’m bored.” It also gives the kids an idea of what’s on tap for the day, so they can relax and not worry if we are doing “something fun” today.
We use Brain Quest Summer books. There are plenty of options, even in your favorite super store’s dollar bin. These are easy for the kids to grab when there’s some downtime or quiet time during the day. They grab the books and a snack … and I have an hour or so to get a few things done without interruption. I notice my kids love going page by page and filling out game boards that accompany each chapter. The books also help them keep their minds sharp and avoid that summer slide.
Out of the House
Use part of your precious free time to find out what’s happening around town. The $1 movie. Puppet shows, special events or classes at he library. Book them up to fill your calendar so you don’t wake up and have to find something to keep them busy – especially when you can’t listen to the bickering or boredom any longer.
Summer Reading Challenges
Sign up for local Library and store reading challenges. This gives you another activity to keep busy. Going to the library is fun when it’s part of their routine. If you go daily or weekly, the kids will know where to find their favorite books. A few that my kids recommend are: The Magic Treehouse Series™, A to Z Mysteries™, Calendar Mysteries™, Ivy and Bean™, The Unicorn Rescue Society™, The Boxcar Children™, The Ballpark Mysteries™, books by Roald Dahl, and the Katie Woo series.
Summer Family Reading
Choose a book or two as a family to read in the evening for some downtime together. After a hectic day out and about, at camp or work, we relish in the quiet togetherness after showers and dinner. (ex. Harry Potter series (8+), The Wild Robot Series or the new James Patterson children’s series.)
Cleaning Out the Toys for Crafts
You may just find you have a lot of toys that have accumulated over the year. Time to purge the toys! After you purge the toys, consider taking a trip to the craft store or hobby shop with a plan for something the kids are currently into, such as building, painting, or modeling clay. This year in our house the it thing was plastic sewing canvas and some string to make bookmark ornaments for gifts. These were super easy and affordable, and it kept them quiet and busy while helping with hand-eye coordination.
Other things that I like to keep on hand are crayons and coloring sheets. My kids don’t necessarily sit and do an entire coloring book in one sitting, so these are easier. Paper, glue and scissors are other essentials. Yes, some of those last few items may seem scary to have out and about but the amount of time little ones will spend creating things will amaze you! They will be so proud to show you their magnificent creations.
All in all, no matter how you spend your summer, I hope yours is a great one. If even one tip above can save your sanity, I am all for it. Enjoy the sun and relaxation because before you know it, the school supplies will be back to filling the aisles and your to-do list will go back to including all of your errands.
Written by: Michelle Vance
Michelle Vance is a local Las Vegas writer, wife and mom. She has two children 4 and 6 years old. She loves to get out and explore everything Las Vegas has to offer, all while sharing her experiences and helpful nuggets of info with other local moms to help make navigating motherhood just a little bit easier.