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Summer is upon us. My kids' last day of school is Wednesday, which means I better be thinking ahead as to what we're going to do to fill our days! Thought I'd list some ideas I've had. I hope you will share yours, too!
1. Make a reading list. If you're like me, you mean to read aloud great chapter books to your kids, but the busyness of the school year seems to swallow up your best-laid plans. Make a list of books you'd like to read to your kids this summer, then set about getting them through your local library or bookseller. Might I recommend Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards, Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White, Danny The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankwiler by EL Konigsburg, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and I Am David (formerly titled North To Freedom) by Anne Holm.
2. Find a great story Bible to read to your kids from daily. We might not have time to do a daily Bible study with the rushing around of a school day, but we can make time this summer. I plan to use this Bible with my kids this summer. For less than $15 on Amazon, it's a great deal for what it will teach you and your kids. Another option is to download this free summer Bible reading chart to get kids reading and keeping track on their own. I found out about it through this post.
3. Gather some craft supplies and create an art box. Pick up some new coloring books, paper, watercolors, tempera paint, crayons, markers, etc. That way when they say "I'm bored" you can direct them to the art box and tell them to create away! A great craft idea book is another handy tool to throw in for older kids who like to make crafts but might need ideas for inspiration.
4. Look into area classes and camps that aren't that expensive. I am not one who thinks kids need to be signed up for camps just to keep them busy, but I do think that if your child has a special interest or talent, it's wise to use the time in the summer to help encourage and build on that talent or interest via classes or camps. Keep your eyes open for stores, community centers and libraries who offer classes and camps for reasonable fees.
5. Make a list of places in your city you've always meant to visit, but never get around to it. Then pick one place per week to go to all through the summer. Your kids will look forward to this and you might just learn a thing or two too.
6. Find "You Pick" places and go pick blueberies, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, etc. This is a cheaper way to get fresh fruit and a fun activity to do with kids. When you get home let them help you research things to do with your bounty-- cakes, pies, cobblers, oh my!
7. Seach the free movies in your town and list out some that you'd like to take your kids to. Most movie theaters offer some sort of free movie program in the mornings. A cool movie theater is a great way to beat the heat and pass the time.
8. Befriend someone who owns a pool. :)
9. This might sound cheesy, but buy a workout dvd and do it with your kids in the morning. They get their wiggles out and you get valuable exercise time. Some (not all) of my kids loved doing Jillian Michael's Shred video with me and bragged about being able to outdo me. They still like to do rock star jumps just to prove they can do more than me. What. Ever.
10. Instill in your kids the value of SDR (Stop, Drop and Read). Have a quiet hour each afternoon in the hottest part of the day where you all (mom too!) lay down and read a book. Even the youngest child can learn to lay down and look at books. I believe this fosters a love of reading and you are leading the charge by modeling it. Need some great books for you to read? Remember She Reads exists for just that purpose-- pointing you towards great Christian fiction you might not hear about otherwise. I highly recommend a weekly library trip this summer to keep your kids stocked with books so that when you do SDR, they can't whine "But I have nothing to read!"
And a bonus idea: Make a list of projects you'd like to tackle over the summer. Maybe you want to teach your kids to do certain chores around the house like laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc. Summer is a great time to do that instruction. Or you could decide to clean out the toys in the bonus room, or organize their rooms, etc. They won't necessarily love this idea-- but it's a good one nonetheless.
If you start thinking about this now, there's no way you'll be bored this summer!