May 22, 2013

Five ways to create a memorable summer


Not sure if you watch the Disney channel's show, Phineas and Ferb, but those boys have the right idea about Summer vacation!  No sitting around for them: they are busy creating a summer full of memories. While we don't necessarily want our kids creating an ACTUAL beach in the backyard or a roller coaster that runs through town, we want them to keep busy.

What did you do during the summer when you were a kid?  Did you spend hours inside staring at a computer screen, television screen or tapping on an ipad?? Most likely not.  If you were like me, you spent your summer roaming around outside, creating worlds, stories, amazing adventures.

Here are FIVE ways to fight summer boredom, the higher risks of "brain drain" and an increased BMI {which studies show is statistically likely}and have a GREAT time doing it!  {As a side note, many of my suggestions are free or extremely low cost... no need to break the bank... we'll just break some bad habits}

1. Get moving!  Exercise your bodies.

We live in a climate that typically has 10+ days of 99-105 degree temperatures.  I hate the heat, but have found ways to avoid (or beat) the heat but still spend a goal of 2-4 hours outside during the day - everyday.  For example: Go first thing in the morning; choose an activity that will get you wet;  or travel to the foothills or the coast (or a lake) to get out of heat.  Whatever you do, do it for fun!!

Ways to do this:
{Visit my "Get Moving" Pinterest board for more ideas}

2. Get creative!  Exercise your creativity!

Modern education is becoming increasingly void of art and music, despite the fact that research overwhelmingly shows that arts education increases academic achievement, social and emotional development, and civic engagement.   Use the summer months to remedy this gap.

Ways to do this:


  • Many local parks and recreation host art classes for kids each summer for a nominal fee.
  • Dance in your living room with your kids.
  • Learn some new fun songs to sing {and sing them loud!} 
  • Check your local college or junior college for summertime community classes.  Many offer music, art and theater for kids as options.
  • Find a art and music academy for kids that offer short-term classes.
  • Check local theater groups to see if there are summer drama classes for kids.
  • Form a crafting group with other "mommy friends" who have similar aged children, plan a monthly craft day.
  • Make sure to avoid these 6 no-nos that squash creativity in kids.
  • Do some crafts at home.  You don't have to be artistic... just willing to try new things and maybe not afraid of a mess. One of my favorite websites for craft ideas (beside Pinterest) is Spoonful.com, it is absolutely full of hundreds of craft ideas from simple to complex for kids of all ages.
  • Make sure you have a well stocked craft bin.  Not sure what types of craft materials to have on hand?  Check out this post about that very thing.
  • If all else fails, there are free music and art lessons online. 
{Visit my "Get Creative" Pinterest board for more ideas} 

3. Get learning! Exercise your mind!

It's not secret that kids lose educational traction during the summer, or suffer from "brain drain", the question is, what are you going to do about it?  Unless your school district offers summer school, it's up to you to offer learning opportunities to keep your kids sharp and ready to learn come fall.
Don't worry, it doesn't have to be worksheets!  You are the teacher!  You set the tone, choose the "curriculum" and decide what you want to cover!

Ways to do this:
  • Check out this post on five ways to beat "brain drain" this summer
  • Have your kids make a cute "summer journal" by covering and decorating a composition notebook and have them write every weekday, by either give them writing prompts, letting them choose their own or having them journal what they did that day.
  • Keep them reading by offering incentives or getting involved with reading programs at your local Library or bookstores.
  • Give your kids a "job" this summer to allow them to earn, manage and spend their own money
  • Choose a "theme a week" to help create ideas {for example, "Outer Space", "Down on the Farm", "Nature",  "Insects", "Weather", "Dinosaurs", "Pioneer Days", etc.}
  • In addition to (or instead of) the educational basics like math, spelling, writing, history, science and reading, take some time to teach your kids some skills they don't always teach at schools.  
  • Think outside the "BOX" - things like learning to ride a bike, cooking, typing, swimming, basic sewing skills, learning how to safely use the internet, how to manage money wisely, etc.} 
  • Talk with your kids about 2-3 new skills they might like to learn, if you set some goals you are more likely to strive toward them.
  • Check out this post on age appropriate abilities (like household chores, cooking mac and cheese etc.)
{Visit my "Get Learning" Pinterest board for more ideas}

4. Get experiences! Create adventures for you and your family!

As long as time and finances allow, take some road trips, create experiences that your kids won't soon forget. {If you can do it as a surprise, it will be so much better!}

Ways to do this:
  • Visit a National Park, river or nearby forest.
  • Visit a nearby large city (if you don't live in one) and ride public transportation
  • Visit nearby historical landmarks and learn about history.
  • Go make a candle or paint some pottery as a family.
  • See a play.
  • Pick some fresh fruits or vegetables {find a u-pick farm}.
  • Visit your Library.
  • Shop at the Farmer's market.
  • Visit a museum or zoo.
  • Visit a nearby attraction like the "Mystery Spot" or Winchester Mystery House in California 
{Visit my Pinterest board for more ideas}  
 5.  Get busy! Don't let procrastination (or inertia) get you down!
 Yes, it would be easier to just stay home and stare at the computer and let your kids watch t.v. or play video games, but it's not healthier.  Check out this post on how to "reset" your kid's screen addiction (and maybe yours too).

Ways to do this:
  • BEFORE summer vacation starts, do some research {Google searches} of things to do within driving distance of your town
  • BEFORE summer vacation starts, sit down with your kids and have a brain-storming session about topics they might like to learn about, skills they might like to master, places they might like to visit and talk about summer expectations.
  • BEFORE summer vacation starts, contact 2-5 other moms and find out their availability to go on adventures, have craft days, play-dates and times where you can give your kids a break from you, and you can have a break from them (maybe schedule times where you trade kids)
  • BEFORE summer vacation starts, plan a 3-7 day screen fast {you too mom}, to start the summer off on the right foot, to break the addictions to the computer, t.v. and video games we all have!
  • Make a schedule and don't allow yourself (or your kids) put off until tomorrow what can be done today
  • Create simple rules for yourself and your kids like: "No screen time between 9am and 1pm",  to carve out time to get something fun done! (Follow the rules yourself!)
  • Schedule in "do-nothing" days to have downtime
  • Give yourself plenty of grace, if you don't get to something one day, just plan it for the next.
  • HAVE FUN!  The whole point is keeping your kids busy and having FUN!  If you find yourself turning into the "Fun Nazi", you should take a step back and take a break.
  • TAKE LOTS AND LOTS of pictures!!  What an amazing summer this will be (you should be able to look back at it in photographs!)
{Visit my Pinterest board for more ideas}  
AND DON'T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN!!

** Note: Make sure you strive for summertime balance... I am certainly NOT suggesting you spend every minute of every day running around... that is not very relaxing... I am merely suggesting adding these elements as a way to balance all of the laying around time. :)  

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1 comment:

  1. This is crazy amazing! LOVE LOVE LOVE the ideas, creativity, enthusiasm and plain momma joy splashing me from your post.

    Thanks for linking up with us on momma notes. Your post is a blessing to all of us.

    Happy day,
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete

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