This summer (June and July) our blog is all about opportunities for quality time with your children and suggesting boredom busters for kids who have too much time on their hands. We will be posting four lists – Summer Activities List #1 on June 1; Summer Activities List #2 in this post; and two more are coming in July. Hope you find many things to enjoy with your kids. Let us know what you like the best (comment section at the end of the blog).
Calling all working moms!
Do you find yourself feeling guilty that your kids have all this extra time on their hands in the summer, and you are at work? Kids are not the best tellers of time. They don’t necessarily focus on whether you have been with them every minute of every day. What they need to know is that they can count on your attention for some part of every day. They need to know that they are so special to you that you are taking part of every day just for them. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.
Calling all stay-at-home moms!
Do you get to your wits end over the summer after you have heard the “b” word (“I’m bored.”) fifty times too many from kids with way too much extra time on their hands? Summer is the best of times for letting your kids know how special they are to you by taking part of every day and making it just about them. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.
Calling all grandparents, daycare providers, and nannies!
You are so important – to the kids and to their parents. Make summertime special for everyone, including yourselves, by planning new and fun things to do with the children you care for. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.
Quality time happens when we least expect it, often around the smallest and least expensive events. You can’t schedule it. It just happens when everyone is fully tuned into each other.
It doesn’t take a lot of time. Instead, it takes a lot of small moments. Be prepared for a “magical” moment when doing any of the things in our lists. As long as you are fully tuned into your child, you and your child may make an amazing connection. You’ll learn something really important about him. She will show you how important you are to her. Your hearts will connect.
Summer Activities List #2
(Items 1 – 14 can be found at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.)
15. Let’s be all about grandparents. Use your local library or the Internet to find out about grandparents in your culture and also in other cultures. For younger children, you can find the facts and share what you learn. For older children, you can help them find the facts and read all about it. Talk with your child about how his grandparents are alike and different from what you are learning about other cultures. Arrange for your child to share what he learned with his own grandparents, or if that is not possible with some older relatives, friends, or neighbors that are like grandparents to him.
16. Let’s play “Ask for Help.” Take turns thinking of different ways to ask for help in different situations. Make all the situations be about summertime. For example, “You aren’t sure where you need to go in the library to be part of the summer storytime. What could you do?” Or, “You want to play with your friend who lives across the street, but you aren’t allowed to cross streets by yourself. What could you do?” Take turns thinking of different ways to ask for help. Who would you talk to? What would you say? Write down the ideas and post them where they can be seen. Ask your child which suggestions she likes the best. Be sure to let your child know that asking for help is a powerful thing to do.
17. Let’s rhyme. Help your child make a rhyme. Read him rhymes to help him get the idea. You can find things at the library or on the Internet. For younger children, start by finding words that rhyme with their name. For older children, show them how to use the Internet to find words that rhyme. After your child finishes his poem, have him draw a picture to go with it. Post the poem and picture where they can be seen.
19. Let’s have a “no-rules” meal. Work with your child to plan a “no-rules” meal. It can be healthy – or not so healthy. It can be just fun. It’s OK if it is something that has never been served before. For example, cereal for dinner or four different flavors of ice cream – one with nuts, one with fruit, one with sauce, etc. Or think up a color scheme and then think of foods to match – something yellow, white, blue, and green.
20. Let’s sail the seas. Make cardboard boats and try them out on some water – a pond near your house, the bathtub, the pool, a big barrel. Talk about why some boats worked and some did not. Make some more boats trying to improve on the ones that didn’t work the first time.
21. Let’s be all about Dad. Work with your child to think of three things that Dad says or does that are really good for your child. They can be things that help your child grow up well (for example, when he reminds him of his chores without getting mad) and also some things that are just a lot of fun for your child (for example, when he runs races around the house with her). Share with Dad what you come up with and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. (Making a drawing of the things is a fun way to share.) If your child’s Dad isn’t in his life right now, celebrate a male friend, relative, or neighbor who acts like a dad with your child.
22. Let’s make a handmade gift. Make a gift for someone. While making it, talk about the person you are making it for and how much you think he might like it. Also talk about how much fun it is to spend this time together making the gift. Wrap it. Send it, or deliver it.
23. Let’s learn geography. Pick a place – your own state or country, an interesting city, etc. Read about that place at the library or on the Internet. Make a list of the interesting things about that place. What it is near; what it is famous for; who lives there – people, animals, plants; what the weather is like; etc. Have your child draw pictures about the things she learns about.
24. Let’s make a movie. Let your child use a mobile phone, ipad, or video camera to make a movie.
- Talk with your child about what he wants his movie to be about; what the message of his movie is; and who he wants to see his movie.
- Plan the things he will need pictures of to get his message across.
- Shoot the movie according to the plan; review the movie; make changes and additions, if needed.
- Plan a “showing” for those people your child said he wanted to see his movie.
25. Let’s care about others. Go to the park or some other place where children play. Talk with your child about how other children you see there might be feeling. If any of them are sad, talk with your child about how to make them feel better.
For example, if a child falls down, your child could offer a bandage. If a child is sad that he has no playmate, your child could offer to play. If a child is upset that he sees others having snacks and he has none, your child could offer to share.
26. Let’s chalk it up. Use sidewalk chalk to create an art gallery. Talk about all the different types of pictures your child thinks should be in his gallery. Plan the different locations on the sidewalk. Let your child draw the pictures. Have a “showing” of the art with neighbors or relatives. It may surprise you that this activity will be interesting to your older children as well as your toddlers.
27. Let’s have a parade. Plan a pet parade in your neighborhood. Talk with your child afterwards about what he learned about different kinds of pets. Were they under control? Were they well taken care of? Which ones did he like best and why? Which ones did he like least and why?
28. Let’s be silly. Make up a silly, nonsense food like Worm Pudding, Goop Balls, or Sticky Icky Buns. You or your child will pretend to be the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. Figure out what else you’ll need to add to the main ingredient for your silly food. What can you use to represent those things? For example, confetti for sugar; raisins for ants, blanket for gravy, etc. Make the things that will represent the ingredients you will need. Be sure to name your silly food and to let your child know how
creative he is. After you have all the drawing, cutting, coloring, sculpting, and collecting done, plan a day to use all your “ingredients” to play a Silly Food game.
29. Let’s play a Silly Food game. Turn the “silly food” you thought up into a game like Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game. You can see how it is done at Summer Fun or from the book, PETE’S A PIZZA by William Steig. Get ready for lots of giggles and fun. And, decide ahead of time how many games you’re willing to play, because this one is a game you’ll be asked to do over and over.
- You and your child will take turns being the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. The other person will be the “cook.”
- The “cook” will gather all the ingredients that you and your child made for your silly food.
- The “cook” will assemble all the ingredients by chopping, stirring, kneading, tossing, and patting the “food.” (This means you will knead, stir, and pat your child as though he is a food – and he will do the same to you.)
- The “cook” will cook the “food” – in a stove, skillet, grill, etc. (under a chair for a stove, in a box for a skillet, etc.)
- The “cook” will serve the silly “food” – on a plate with gravy, in a sandwich, on a stick, etc.
- Switch roles as “food” and as “cook” and try the game again.
30. Let’s play “What If.” Play “What If” about something scary. You can play it anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. It takes no equipment other than brains and willingness to use them. Ask a “What If” question and take turns answering it. For example, “What if your neighbor got a new dog that scared you? By listening to your child’s answers you can learn how well prepared he is for that situation. By offering your own answers you can make sure your child has heard some good ways to handle the situation. (Your answers should not include “Don’t be afraid.” Accept that your child is afraid and offer ideas for what to do about those feelings, like “slowly walk away.”)
Items 31 – 44 will be posted on July 1.