How many times have I Googled "keeping kids from getting bored" only to roll my eyes with frustration? I need something to occupy my kids so they can play on their own, not more ideas of where to take them or a list of parent-supervised activities. Cheap, independent and at home. And something they can do without fighting. (Side note: to all those moms who said, "Oh, wait till you have more children; they will play together and you won't see them for hours," all I can say is, ahem, you lie. My two oldest are like this co-dependent tug-of-war between Ms. Bossy Pants and Mr. Stubborn Resentful. They hate each other but won't play alone. Most of my days play out as referee. Okay, side note over, but seriously, if you have one child, stop! I kid. Depending on how much you value your sanity.) But seriously, I need some suggestions besides "blow more bubbles" and "set up a lemonade stand"--how in the world is that going down? Help me out here, people!
This week I asked my daughter to help fold laundry, and I got, "But I'm on vacation." I nearly choked on my tongue. Perhaps it would have been better if I had; she got a long lecture about taking a break from school...not life. You still help out your family. We're a team. You are not going to be a lazy slug this summer... Okay, yes, I probably went too far.
Knowing my kids probably need what I detest, I set up a tentative schedule with the do-you-get-it- understanding that this schedule bows to Mommy's emotional whim. I kid. No, not really.
So, if you are anything like me and have young kids at home, you might try something like this:
We printed it out and posted it on the kitchen door. We'll see how long it lasts.
But, for some bizarre reason, they are excited about it.
Study Monday (sounds exhilarating, huh?)
Since Mondays are rough and my heaviest grading days, I thought it would be beneficial to have them study as well. We'll dedicate the morning to "catechism" and memorization. They also have to help out with laundry this day.
I have several field trips planned for this summer and most, if not all of them, are free. Search your area for places to pick blueberries, a creek to wade in, a place to hike or bike, an art museum or historical homestead. Go to a local Farmer's Market and then cook what you bought for dinner.
During the school year, we don't have as much time, but when summer break hits, we hit the library and stock up. Reading is part of our daily regiment, but on Wednesdays, I want the kids to present a summary on a favorite book, illustrate a book we just read, or rewrite a different ending.
Creative Thursday (yeah, I know the words don't really flow)
Thursdays are catch-alls for painting, crafts, drawing, coloring, etc. Watercoloring consumes most of our art time; maybe you could try that out. We also do a lot of sidewalk chalk art.
You name it--anything goes. Try a new recipe, make some coconut-milk ice cream, swim, have a dance party, learn about a new instrument, write a letter to someone, set up an obstacle course, hide items for "treasure seeking" in the house, playdoh, etc.
Think about someone you can help (yes, even within your own home). Be "other's minded" for even just an hour and put someone else first. Also, they must clean their rooms and pick up toys around the house.
And for those desperate times when you need an electronic babysitter, try one of these educational sites: I haven't checked them all out, but some of them are super-stars.