Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Boredom Busters

You know those words every parent hears on Summer break, "I'M BORED." This year, I decided I'm going to avoid this at every chance. I am going into Summer break armed and.... well, not dangerous, but certainly prepared.

Granted, every day can't be a party but we try to make the most of the summer. My goals are to have fun with our kids, have them learn a variety of different stuff, but not be "The Entertainer." I have them signed up for swim lessons, Vacation Bible School, and of course, we are going on vacation, but they need to learn to make their own fun too.

Here's my plan. Feel free to take these ideas and make them your own.

Weapon #1: The Boredom Buster Jar
This jar is filled with pieces of paper of ideas they can do either by themselves or with a sibling or friend. When the kids complain, "I'm bored." have them draw something from the jar. Our rule is that you can only say "No" 3 times, then you must choose one or go entertain yourself. If they don't, I start giving them work or extra chores. (hee...hee, either way, I win!) . Here are the ideas in my jar. Just remember, our oldest kids are 4 and 6 years old so you may need to adjust based on your kids' ages, skills, and independence levels.

Weapon #2: Educational Websites
I really try not to let too many electronics "babysit" the kids but lets face it, they need technology and it can be SO useful. I'm going to try to make sure they are getting something out of all their screen-time. Here are some sources of great educational websites we use. There are SOOO many out there. If you have favorites, please share with me!
National Geographic Kids
PBS Kids
Fun BrainKids Know It
If you are looking for a specific theme, check here:

Weapon #3: Theme Weeks
We've been doing theme weeks for the past 2 summers and I think they work great for all ages. We all learn a lot and mostly, we use what we have and we go on an adventure on "Fun Friday."

The kids and I choose a theme for the week (i.e. bugs, pirates, vehicles, stars & space, sports, farms, USA, jungle, water and ocean creatures, etc....) and base most of our activities on this theme.For example, last year we did a Water and Ocean Creatures week we pulled out all our books, puzzles, games, and toys about water, fish, oceans etc. (This causes the kids to play with things that sometimes get forgotten!)
  • Food: We ate goldfish crackers and had fish tacos for dinner.
  • Crafts: Last year, we made fishing poles and paper fish using a stick, string, paper, and velcro.
  • Movie: Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, etc....
  • Activities: We went swimming, played "sink or float" in the water table in the backyard, and hiked by a local lake.
  • Fun Friday Adventure: Went to the beach and visited the aquarium (we did both last summer but I don't remember which one was in this week).
All the week, we learn about the water around us and the creatures that live in this water.The learning is all disguised in the fun and the kids really get into it. As a matter of fact, our kids come up with many of the ideas and they do a lot of the work when it comes to finding the toys, books, and movies we already have. If we don't have many books regarding the theme, we use the computer or visit the library. For us, the theme weeks can't be too expensive and they need to be simple enough to implement. Let your kids get in on the creativity and they will help out with the efforts too.

If I get enough interest through the blog, I'll post all our theme weeks through the summer. It is going to be 11 weeks of Summer....get ready! I hope this helped.



Christie said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your ideas for the summer. I printed them out for future reference.

Christy's Closet said...

The jar must be a hit because yesterday Maddie said, "Mom, I can't wait to be bored this summer!" :)