This guest post was sent in by Tara.
Every summer it’s the same. Your kids are so happy to be out of school that they run around like crazy for a week or two, occupying themselves and staying busy. Then, before too long, they’re slumped on the couch in front of the television complaining of boredom and demanding to be entertained. It’s trying on everyone’s patience.
Here are a few tips to help keep your kids engaged this summer instead of becoming zombies in front of the television.
It’s natural that your kids are going to want to rebel against anything resembling academics. It is important, though, that you keep your kids brains engaged throughout the summer. For one thing, letting them completely stop learning will make the transition back into the school year more difficult for them come fall.
For another, there are certain skills that their teachers are going to expect them to have mastered by the time the new school year starts. Some of these things can be found in those summer bridge books you can buy at the bookstore. Others will require more creativity on your part, but you’ll figure it out.
Find a community project in which your kids can participate. Volunteering, even at young ages, is a fantastic way to teach your kids civic responsibility and get them off the couch. Spend time outside working in a community garden. Participate in neighborhood beautification projects. Help organize fun things like neighborhood block parties and fairs.
Even little kids can assist in something like a face painting booth (believe it or not, face painting isn’t hard! We found these fairly easy makeup tutorials and how-to videos to help you figure out how to do different looks).
Summer is the time for Little League, PeeWee Soccer, swimming, and a bunch of other fun sports. Signing your kids up for a local team is a fantastic way to get them up, moving and out of the house. It can also be a great mechanism for helping them stay in touch with school friends they might not get to see much of otherwise.
Okay, so technically chores are not fun things that will get the kids off the couch. They are the things your kids will most likely find annoying. Summer is an ideal time to increase your kids’ household responsibilities. Things that you might have let slide during the school year in favor of homework and studying need to be taken care of now. Plus, with some extra help around the house, you’ll be able to get more of your own work done.
Hint: a great incentive for doing chores is being told that they are the opportunity for your kids to prove that they are responsible enough to care for a pet, or to earn a reward such as an allowance.
There are lots of really fun things that you can do with your kids to help them stay engaged and using their brains over the summer . . .and if all else fails, there’s always summer camp, right?
What are some ways that you keep your children engaged during the summer?