With kids home for vacation it can be difficult and stressful to juggle childcare, summer activities and work every day. Three summer months can seem never ending and will leave you hoping you had come up with an activity list months ago.
If you have the ability to do mommy-camp or money is tight this year, have no fear I will help you get through the summer!
Even if you work full time, as I do, you should leave with your caregiver a list of options of fun things to do. The last thing you want is to get home from work and find kids filled with energy from doing nothing all day.
Television-sitting bugs me to no end… so let’s not even go there. Since I’m working most of the day, my oldest two are have been at camp most of the summer until 3pm. We did to go California for 2 weeks… but when they are with a sitter I leave a list of activities like the ones below.
Have a picnic. We all know that packing our kids’ lunches is the healthy and most cost effective way. Why not make it fun and prepare lunch ahead of time and have a picnic? Head to the nearest park, your own back yard or your neighbor’s.
Hit the books. Take a few hours and visit your local library. Many of them have story time and activities for younger kids, plus it’s air conditioned and free!
Get cooking. Another great summer activity is to teach the kids how to cook, or bake. Having a solid foundation of knowledge in the kitchen will benefit them not only that day, but also for the rest of their lives. When it comes time for college, or moving away, it is important that kids know how to cook healthy meals for themselves so they do not end up making frozen foods or ordering out every day. Just make sure to be patient with the clean up. The easiest way is to get them involved in making their lunches and snacks.
Be crafty and play games. Visit your local craft store and ask for help. The employees are craft-encyclopedias and know how to do amazing things. Many craft stores have inexpensive crafting activities. Another great idea is to pull those board games out of the closet. They might not play “all day” but a quick game of memmory should allow you some time to fold a load of clothes or get dinner started.
Make movies. Most of us have phones with a video camera. Create a play, get the kids to rehearse and act it out. Kids love to be on stage. You can spend a few days getting the play written, costumes made, the set decorated… and then it’s show time!
Get moving. Seems silly but often times parents fall into the “electronic babysitting trap.” Regardless of where you live your kids need exercise and fresh air. Whether it is the back yard, playground, or a friend’s house, kids need to get out of the house.
Play in the Olympics. Set up an obstacle course, a game of kickball, or a jump rope competition. If you have access to a pool, get them to do laps, learn a new stroke, play in an inflatable slide, even do relay races. You can pick up inexpensive medals at a craft store.
Hang with the animals. A trip to the zoo is a must-do summer bucket list. Check into a family membership and you can go often. Check your local zoo’s schedule because they might have special attraction days.
Camp it out. Camping or hiking whether in the yard or at a campgrounds is a good way to get the kids to enjoy the outdoors. Build a fire, roast marshmallows, tell stories and sing songs. Live in a city? Camp in your living room!
Document it all. Finally, buy a disposable camera or let your kid use an old film or digital camera and give photography a try. At the end of the summer, create a Summer album. The kids will get really creative and soon will think of their own “adventures” to document.
Not sure where to begin? Get a calendar and write down 2-3 activities per day. Accommodate naps, lunches and driving time and you will surely exhaust them by the end of each day! Just look at us!