Whether you have kids of your own, you’re a nanny, have significantly younger siblings, or for one reason or another are going to be around kids a ton these next couple of months… let’s face it… summer vacation can be intimidating. Not that we don’t love the children in our lives, but the sudden burst of extra time is definitely a game changer. This is especially true if you work from home, work nights, or have lots of vacation time. So here are some ideas that will hopefully keep you sane in the heat of the upcoming months.
Yesterday, my nine year old sister and I sat down together and made a master list of about 100 things to do this summer in different categories (Outside, Inside, Places to Go). The key is to make sure 90-100% of the things are able to be accomplished by the child without your help. We’re going to put it on poster board, put it in the playroom, and she can refer to it whenever she’s feeling antsy, because she now knows the words “I’m bored” are officially removed from her vocabulary. I recommend doing the same kind of thing, especially with the input of the child(ren) to start things off right.
Here are a few items from our “outside” list:
This can take the form of gymnastics, exercises or obstacle courses. Set them up around the yard, and have goals/objectives to meet at each station. For instance, the gymnastics stations: designate areas for stretching, for cartwheels, for hand/headstands (best if done against a wall, garage, side of house) for rolls, a balancing station, pull-up station (if there are bars around). Have them spend a specific amount of time in each place, meet a goal (15 cartwheels, hold your handstand for 10 seconds, 5 rolls etc.), or ask them to put together a routine that you go out and watch.
Chalk The Driveway
Set-up giant games (tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, 4 square), write messages to those who aren’t home, make a big coded letter. Whatever.
So this takes a little more effort on your part with the set-up, but depending on what you put in, it could mean hours of hands-off fun for them. Hide something (or multiple things) with a string of appropriately challenging clues on index cards taking them all over the house and the yard.
If I know anything about kids, it’s this: they love getting other people wet. So take a break from whatever chore or report you’re doing, (strategically set up towels by the door) fill up the water guns/balloons, or go old-fashioned and use pots and the garden hose and go a little wild. Let’s be honest, the kids probably needed some sort of dousing anyway, and some cold refreshing water on a hot day never hurt anyone. This isn’t as appealing, but trust me, you’ll earn extra cool points if you’re in street clothes.
Stay tuned for more great at-home summertime activities. In the meantime, stay busy and have fun!
Nicole Galovski is a freelance writer currently living in North Hampton, New Hampshire ngalovski.blogspot.com.