Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keeping your sanity this summer

Summertime activity ideas from the Greenhabilitator...

Just a few short weeks ago I could not wait for school to be out. I was completely over packing lunches every day, I couldn't bear to sit in the pick up line at school for one more minute, and I was done with the morning battles over getting dressed. I knew summer was going to be so much better.

Now, only a month later, I'm wondering what planet I was living on -- and how I'm going to make it through the next two months trying to work full time from home while three kids use me as their personal jungle gym.

Lucky for me, I'm not the first mom to run into this issue. Here are some of my favorite boredom busting ideas, and a few I've "borrowed" from some other moms.

  • Journals - So far my kids have bug journals and bird journals. Each time they find a new bug they study it, then draw a picture of it in their journals. If your kids are a little older, you could have them look the bug up online and write down some facts about it too.
  • Explorers - Pack a back pack with lunch, water and a pair of homemade binoculars (our aren't quite this fancy) and explore the great outdoors.
  • Nature Center - Our local nature center has classes throughout the week for various age ranges, including a cool night time stargazer class.
  • KidsBowlFree.com - Just like it sounds. Sign up and they send you weekly coupons for free bowling.
  • Free Regal movies - Regal Theaters show free movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
  • Minor (or Major) league sports - They often have great deals on "the cheap seats" or you can get family 4-packs for a steal! Our MLB team has $4 "rock pile" tickets for every game.
  • See your city - Since we moved to the mountains my kids love going down to the big city. They love to ride the free shuttle bus that goes through downtown. We also walk around and see interesting buildings, stop at any parks we pass, and jump in every fountain.
  • Water park - Check your local water and splash parks to see if they have discounts for residents of the county, or if they have discounted "twilight" hours in the evening.
  • Reading - Most libraries do a summer reading program. After 8 hours of reading, our library gives each child tickets to the local amusement park. Barnes & Noble has their own summer reading program for kids in 1st grade and up. Upon completion of 8 books, your child can pick out a free book in their store. 
  • Museum - Target sponsors free days at a ton of museums and children's museums across the country. Check here for one near you!
  • Free days - Google "free days" and your city name or check out your local Parents type magazine. They always have the best free events listed from street fairs to movies in the park.
What are the rest of you innovative mommas doing to keep the kids busy and keep your sanity this summer? Share your secrets with us!

    3 comments:

    Kathryn Grace said...

    Those are fabulous ideas! Lots of fun for you and the kids, and lots of memories for them to return to later in life, when they're long gone from home.

    Re your question, top of my head: School age children have fun making things in the kitchen, and there are lots of online videos and how-tos to get them started and teach them kitchen safety. Homemade play-dough is always a good one, of course.

    Making paper is another. Zero Waste Home shows you how with a good way to use up some of those bulletins, drawings and other bits stashed away during the school year.

    Then, of course, the kids can help pick bugs off the tomatoes, if you have a garden, turn the compost, and all those fun gardening chores. I loved helping with the garden as a child, especially early in the morning, when the air was crisp and fresh, the light not yet searing, and the birds were singing merrily.

    Daisy said...

    I love these ideas! One of favorites for years has been the Public Library. Our local transit system lets kids ride free on Wednesdays with their library card as a pass. It's a terrific way to get downtown - and then make the library part of the trip!

    Robbie said...

    We are fortunate in that we have a community pool, so "good" days are rewarded with a short evening swim, sometimes with friends. (It's an easy way for a playdate, too!)

    I'm pretty fortunate right now that my daughter is interested in "homework" (not sure where she gets it.) This morning, after breakfast she wanted to watch TV. I refused, saying she had to do "homework" first, and they both ended up drawing pictures, then going off to play and forgetting about the television. Whew!

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