5 Ways to Keep Kids Active This Summer
The idea of my kids parked in front of the television or video games all summer long makes my stomach turn a little bit. I don’t mind a little television or video games, during the week, but I don’t want them to set up camp in the living room for 24/7 television marathons.
On the other hand, I work at home so I can’t entertain them all day every day. For any parent that works from home, dividing your time between the kids and work can be difficult (and that’s putting it mildly). Even if you don’t work from home, you need to have time for YOU and that means teaching the kids how to be independent and active without your constant attention.
Can you turn play time into learning time? You bet you can! Printable worksheets, puzzles, activity sheets, and even coloring pages can provide kids with at least an hour or more of busy time. Have plenty of printable activity sheets on hand for the kids to keep them learning and having fun at the same time.
Computer games or board games are also attention getters for kids of all ages. Board games should be easy for kids to access and easy for them to set up and play without you. If you allow your children to use the computer, either online or off, create a folder or bookmarks of games and sites they can visit and put parental controls in place so kids can’t click away to any online sites that don’t meet your approval.
Revolving Toy Boxes are a fun way to keep your ever growing supply of toys fresh and interesting to kids. Even older kids can enjoy swapping out toys and games for ones that you’ve stowed away for a rainy or even a summer day. To do this, grab some toys that your child isn’t playing with and put them in a tote or basket and put the basket out of sight for a few months. When your child becomes bored with the toys and games that are available, swap them out for the items you’ve put away. As they discover some long forgotten favorites, you can take advantage of some much needed mom time (or work time)!
Backyard Camping always seems to attract a child’s attention. Set up a tent or canopy in your backyard and supply the kids with lawn chairs and pillows. From there they may turn the tent into a clubhouse, school, or anything their imagination allows. A backyard tent provides the kids with a place to go and an opportunity to use their imagination. My kids have taken our large three room tent and used it for a school, house, pet hospital, clubhouse, home base (for tag and hide and seek games), relaxation area (where they’ve actually fallen asleep or read books) and of course… a tent!
Let them get wet on hot summer days. Keep a sprinkler on hand, or purchase one of the many kiddie pools on the market. Empty squirt bottles make great make-shift squirt guns and water balloons never go out of style. Make sure to create some rules with water play and stick to them. If you’re feeling really brave, let them put on their swim suits and then paint themselves with washable body paint.
A money maker list is a great way to get some household jobs done and give them a chance to make some extra money. Supply them with a list of chores or jobs outside of their normal responsibilities and assign an amount that you’re willing to pay to have it completed. For instance, some ideas might include, cleaning out the garage, mopping the kitchen floor, washing the car, washing windows, or babysitting younger siblings. Be sure that whatever “jobs” you have on the list are age appropriate and are things kids can do on their own.
As the summer wears on, remember to keep plenty of art supplies on hand and the fridge stocked with made ahead snacks, meal packs, and drinks. This way kids can grab a snack or lunch and a drink already prepared and you don’t have to stop what you’re doing. This is also a great idea for last minute road trips.
What ideas can you share for keep kids busy during the summer?