The last day of school has arrived. And part of you might feel relieved to get a break from the pick-up lines… while part of you is suddenly asking WHAT are we going to do between now and August?
Hopefully there will be trips and adventures and maybe even some summer camp on the calendar… but what about those in-between days when the play date is cancelled or the weather is rubbish? Or… what about ALL THE DAYS… you’re asking yourself?
I’ve gathered up a handful of ideas that I hope will help you have fun and keep learning this summer… and perhaps you won’t pull out any hair in the process.
- Create a Daily Schedule… like now.
Before you get into the thick of planning the activities that you’ll cross off the list, think about what your day is going to look like at home. Decide when snack time is so that when kid #3 says they are hungry for the eleventeenth time, you can say “Snack is at 10 am.” Maybe reading time is from 9 to 10. Maybe screens are only allowed to come on at 2 or 3 pm. Maybe you’ll do art every day at 11 (see tips below!). Maybe you’ll always hit the pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The routine will help you keep your sanity!! Sprinklers on Wednesday, Kitchen time on Friday… brainstorm the ideas and then start plugging them into the calendar.
- Shop the House and Make Some Stations
You already know this: Part of the “I’m bored” struggle isn’t that there’s anything to do, per se, it’s more that your kids are kinda used to someone telling them what to do. When they start tumbling over each other with frustration and you can tell they need some ‘separate’ activities, consider setting up some stations around the house. Set up your stations, send a kid to each one, and then rotate every 20-30 minutes. A few stations ideas:
– Playdough at the Kitchen Counter
– Puzzles on the coffee table
– A reading nook with pillows and blankets in a cozy corner somewhere
– Lincoln logs or legos
– ‘Painting’ with a wet brush and water on the back deck
– A drawing station with blank paper, crayons and markers
The key is to spread them out, switch up the ideas and let everyone get a turn to do the ‘thing’ all by themselves.
- Your Library + the Summer Reading Program
Our local library has a fantastic summer reading program we’ve participated in for several years now. The kids earn prizes for reading based on time or the number of books/pages they read… They LOVE going to the library for more books and they love getting to color in their little star chart recording their progress. Extra stars for big siblings who read to smaller siblings. #win Your library might also have some fun visitors coming to town — ours has a program that welcomes guest storytellers, musicians and even magicians. Ask for a calendar and plan to take advantage of this wonderful FREE resource! Library on Tuesdays!?!
- Introducing Art for Kids Hub… you’re welcome.
If you haven’t already been visiting Art for Kids Hub on youtube, check out their channel and get ready to say THANK YOU. The kiddos around here can spend HOURS drawing with the simple, step-by-step instructions AFKH offers. My Little Pony and Pokemon and animals and the list goes on… this is fun and learning at its finest!!
- Grab this Origami paper and get folding!
We found several GREAT origami instruction books at the library, but you can also check out Art for Kids Hub where there’s tons of great step-by-step stuff. The Collie kiddos are currently spending thirty minutes a day on Origami… seriously… music to my ears!
- Audiobooks are awesome!!!
If you have a library card, you probably also have access to tons of free audiobooks. The Libby app makes it crazy easy to get audiobooks on your phone. Pop popcorn and crowd the coffee table. Draw and color and let someone else do all the reading! You can also visit Librivox.org, where hundreds (maybe thousands?) of books have been recorded by volunteers. The quality is not necessarily as great as a traditionally published audiobook, but Sarah Mackenzie has a list of some favorites to help you get started! Audiobook Thursdays?!
- Plan Your Own Summer Chore Chart
This can be as simple as writing on popsicle sticks and putting them in a jar or as detailed as all the things the kiddos need to do before friends can come over or screens can go on. Jordan Page has some GREAT free printables right here to help you create a clipboard and your kiddo can get to work and check off on their own list!
- Get Outside with a Nature Guide
Over the past few years, without ever specifically focusing on this one ‘thing’ as a ‘school subject,’ we’ve learned to identify dozens and dozens of insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians (and even a few mammals) in the backyard with nature guides. Pick up a book at the library or grab a few of these on Amazon — your kids will have so much fun learning so much. And ya might find a five-lined skink or two in the process… who knew! I’ve linked to some full-sized guides and some pocket guides, which are easier to tote but don’t have as many species.
– Full Sized Birds Field Guide | Kid-Sized Pocket Guide
– Full Sized Reptile Guide | Kid-Sized Pocket Reptile Guide
– Perfect-Sized Guide to Insects (SO well-loved at the Collie house) | Pocket Sized Insect Guide
– Full Sized Mammals Guide | Kid-Sized Pocket Mammals
One other idea: This fantastic Illustrated Guide to Wildlife by National Geographic covers many different types of wildlife you’ll find out your backdoor.
- Bring Back the Awesomeness of Pen Pals
Each of my boys has asked a friend to be a pen pal and they spend AGES drawing pictures, writing letters and even folding origami to send to their buds. They don’t have to be in another town! It doesn’t matter if you are likely to see them before they get the letter! For the price of a stamp, it is so much fun, and encourages them to write without you having to prompt them at all…
- Welcome the Kids to the Kitchen
Sometimes we’re in such a hurry during the school year, I just want to get DONE with whatever needs to happen in the kitchen. Summer is a great time to slow down and welcome your kid to join you doing whatever you already need to do. Bake a loaf of bread or some muffins. Mix a batch of overnight oatmeal you’ll be able to throw into the oven for breakfast tomorrow. Make time spent together well the main goal.
Woot, woot — Bonus Idea!!!
- Out the Door? Dollar Store!
One last idea for when the walls seem to be closing in and you just aren’t sure you can be at home for another full day: give each kid a dollar or two, or tell them to grab their wallets … or even better get them to do the chores to earn the dollar… and then make a break for the local dollar store. Maybe they’ll pick up a hula hoop and some sidewalk chalk… or some pool noodles you can turn into a backyard obstacle course… and yeah, maybe they’ll choose something that will break after ten minutes but at least you got out of the house for less than $10!
Do you have some great boredom busters ideas or some fun activities planned for the summer? Please leave a comment to share the fun!