Summer break is almost here! That’s right, summer break is almost here. With the end of the school year, the 2-3 month break is usually met with mixed reviews as parents and kids wonder what they are going to do with all that time on their hands. If you’re lucky, a family vacation will be a part of the plan; however, those usually only last a week or two. And, maybe there will be a nice visit with relatives to occupy the kids another week or two.
Finding things for kids to do during the summer can be a challenging, so to help beat back the “summer blues,” here are some suggestions that you and your family may want to consider:
- If your child enjoys reading, join a summer reading club through your local library.
- Create a beach scene in your own backyard with inflatable pools – one filled with water and the other filled with sand.
- Join a play group or home school group so everyone can make new friends while enjoying a variety of activities.
- Map out a 10-20 mile radius and mark all of the local parks to visit over the summer. Then, revisit your favorite ones.
- Do the same thing with history or science museums.
- Exercise together with bike rides, walking, swimming, jumping rope, playing ball or tennis, and even yoga.
- Sign the kids up for music lessons such as guitar, piano, drums, or voice. Even toddlers can learn music appreciation at a young age.
- Plant a garden with fruits and/or vegetables the kids will want to eat. If you don’t have yard space, container gardens are a great alternative.
- Teach your kids to “give back” by volunteering at a local food pantry or no-kill pet shelter. Other opportunities could involve random acts of kindness such as baking cookies for an elderly neighbor, or making care packages for children in the hospital or homeless shelters.
- Summer camp can be a positive experience – whether it’s an overnight or day camp – by teaching social skills and developing character while making new friends.
Be careful with managing screen time while the kids are out of school. Studies have shown that during the summer months, many children suffer a deficit in learning that can be attributed to having too much time on their hands. Or spending too much screen time in front of the TV, computer or video monitor. When you do allow screen time, make it fun and educational by watching classic movies, learning new software programs on the computer, or playing problem-solving video games.
Keep in mind that if your child struggles with boredom or seems to have the “summer blues” by being listless and unfocused, or perhaps has anxiety or behavioral issues, you may want to talk to a qualified psychologist who can help identify any underlying issues and bring harmony back into the family.