Midsummer Doldrums

Mom and daughter blow bubblesI walked into Walgreen’s yesterday to buy another tube of Jergen’s Natural Glow moisturizer to add another layer of fake tan to my fair, Irish-English complexion, taking care to avert my eyes from the disturbing display in Aisle 3 which held the Back-to-School supplies.

“Nooooooooo! Not yet! There’s still lots of summer left!”, screamed the teacher side of my brain. My teacher view of summer vacations (glorious weeks of blissful days spent gardening, hiking, reading, enjoying my own children) always conflicted with my parent view of the same time (long weeks trying to keep bored kids amused with meaningful, educational, and fun activities). We are now six weeks into summer vacation, and to kids, even the eagerly anticipated long summer days have evolved into days of doldrums and “I’m bored.” Help them embrace boredom as a great opportunity to try something completely new.

Get Them Outside!

The outdoors hold a wealth of opportunities for fun crafts and collections.

Science Museum – Kids can collect seed, flower, rock, and leaf specimens from around the yard, and label them with names, sort them by attributes, or make a pretty pattern.
Insect Collection – Get a bug box or make one from a can or jar. Perforate the lid and to look for insects to examine.
Leaf Prints – Collect leaves and flowers, brush them with paint and press onto paper, creating patterns and designs.

Get Creative!

Movie Time – Gather a cast of characters (Barbies, Transformers, or stuffed animals to name a few). Outline the story elements of characters, setting, problem and solution, develop a script or improvise as you go, and make a video.
Write a Book – For very young children, have them draw a picture and transcribe the words as the child dictates the story. Older children can do this with you. Design front and back covers, and bind the pages into a book.
Create a Space – Create Jurassic Park for a dinosaur collection, a campground for GI Joe, a water park for a collection of sharks, a zoo for stuffed animals. Children can use cardboard boxes, art materials, blocks, the possibilities are endless!
Make a New Alphabet – Develop a symbol for each letter and write to someone in your new code.

Learn Something New!

Visit the Library – Head to the nonfiction section and pick something new to try. Karate, folk dancing, magic tricks, and science experiments are all great ways to help your child develop a new interest.
Museum Scavenger Hunt – Many art museums offer printed scavenger hunts for kids at the admissions desk or you can create your own by making a list of things for children to find. Some ideas are: find a painting with a candle, a baby, a dog, the color orange, a sculpture of a child, a soldier, etc.
Snack Recipe – Find a recipe that your child likes. Write a list, shop for the items, and help your child prepare it at home. This will help develop writing, reading, money, and measurement skills, as well as taste good too!

There’s plenty of summer left. Go have some fun!

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