Keeping your kids entertained through the summer can seem like an impossible task. When your kids were younger, it was as simple as an empty milk jug or a colorful ball but those days have long since past. When you have teens or preteens it seems as though your days will be filled with a room of sloth-like children in a vegetative state in front of the Xbox or YouTube. With a little guidance you can your kids moving, creating, and unknowingly even learning.
When I was little, my weekends and summers were filled with friendship bracelets, potholder looms, lanyard keychains, and Shrinky Dinks. I even still have some of them over twenty years later… you know, for nostalgic purposes. While my kids don’t see the intrinsic value of my Pog collection, there are activities you can guide your kids towards that they’ll love.
Loom bracelets are all the rage but can also be made into creative animal or keychain shapes. Crayons are no longer for little kids if you peel the paper and let them create wax dot art. You can teach them about Pointillism and Seurat while they’re busy crafting. Perler beads are making a comeback and can be used to create a candy dish, candle holder, or even a colorful suncatcher. You can lightly engrave pieces of styrofoam plates and containers to create reusable stamps.
Help them start a curbside business.
Simple business skills are important for everyone. Teach them about cost of doing business, profit and loss, inventory, and even location. They can run a lemonade stand, start a carwash, complete basic lawn care, or even sell their craft goods. You can even issue them a loan for their start up costs so they see that even starting their little curbside business comes at an expense. You could even help them set up a basic website and print flyers to advertise. As an added bonus, their days of begging for spending cash may be numbered!
Enjoy a family movie night.
We’re a family of movie lovers so this one is a given for us. Rather than sending your kids off to do something alone, catch a flick together. Sometimes just being in each other’s company in silence is a welcome relaxing moment for the day. Movies to watch with the family could include the latest epic animated release or a heartwarming tale of a boy and his dog. It’s up to you and your personal preferences, but either way you should relish the time together.
Have them plan a meal.
My kids love helping out in the kitchen so I started getting them in on the whole process. Have them find a recipe they want to cook that everyone in the family will enjoy. Have them create a shopping list and give them a budget. You can even have them check for coupons, or plan the meal around available coupons. Then let them get to work in the kitchen, and you can chip in where needed.
Play video games with them.
It sounds strange since we’re usually encouraging our kids to step away from the video games, but you both may end up enjoying it. Your kids can teach you how to use the system and where the bonuses are located in the games. They’ll appreciate you taking time to learn about what’s important to them.
Often times, children get caught up in their own minds and forget about the world around them. No one is saying you need to hold their hand all summer, but a nudge in the right direction might send them in the right direction. Who knows– they may even find a new hobby or life skill.