How to Keep Kids Occupied During the Summer
When school gets out, kids go from being stuck indoors all day to having the freedom to wreck havoc on the neighborhood all hours of the day and play video games for hours on end. While they should definitely enjoy the outdoors as much as they can, bored kids get into trouble easily. Having them accompany you while you run all of your errands is not always so fun either. However, keeping kids occupied can be difficult if you do not have a plan.
Create a Reading List
Kids who continue to read throughout the summer tend to do better in school the next year. Reading keeps their minds sharp and gives them something calming and relaxing to do, especially on days when it is just too hot to play outdoors. If you do not know where to start with creating a reading list for your child, many libraries have programs that make it easy to find titles your child will enjoy.
The titles you choose may depend on your kid’s age, their reading level and what they enjoy. If you have a middle school age child, series such as Redwall by Brian Jacques and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling may be great places to start. High school kids may enjoy reading some of the classics. Be sure to set realistic milestones so your kids do not feel overwhelmed.
Taking weekly swimming classes, horseback riding lessons or even cheerleading or tumbling lessons is a fun way to keep kids who are not so active more active. Learning how to swim is a critical skill even if you do not live near the ocean. Horseback riding allows kids to strengthen their leg muscles while learning how to listen to instructions. Some instructors will even teach the kids how to properly care for the horse. Cheerleading and tumbling classes can increase your kid’s flexibility, core strength and teamwork skills. Both boys and girls of all ages can be involved in this activity.
Start Long Projects
Having several months with no set schedule gets boring pretty fast. When the boredom finally sets in, start a project with your child. Build a model airplane, build a birdhouse, start an insanely detailed paint-by-numbers kit or get going on a basic coding project. Having a side project that can keep your kid occupied throughout the summer is helpful for when it rains or if all of their friends are out of town.
If you have a backyard, consider starting a garden. Let your kids help plan what should be grown, when it should be planted and when to do the watering. Let them make some mistakes along the way and get a dirty.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Some Free Time
Sometimes having nothing to do is best. The school year is often extremely stressful for all kids, no matter what age they are. Some kids spend their summer sleeping in and staying up late. Others decide to get a part-time job to earn some spending money. Many kids want to spend a week with their friends at the mall or go aimlessly bike riding around the neighborhood. The summer time is theirs to enjoy, so just make sure they have a chance to relax.
Whether you are a stay at home parent or a working parent, keeping your children occupied when they are out of school is extremely important. Not only will you prevent them from simply wasting their summer before they have to go back to school, but you can also ensure that they learn a few skills, keep their minds sharp and get the relaxation and time to unwind that they need.