As crazy as it sounds, summer vacation can lead to summertime boredom. Kids are always so excited to get out of school, whether that happens in May or June. But what is a parent to do when their kid comes up and says “Mom, I’m bored!”? It may be easy to come up with things to do for the first few weeks, but after a while, it can be tough. So today, I am sharing some summer boredom busters to help kids and parents make it through the summer. These will be a mix of fun and educational activities that your child can participate in.
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Summer boredom busters
Whether your child is young or reaching the teen years, it can be a challenge to fight off summer boredom. While many of these activities will be appropriate for all ages and skill levels, keep in mind that some may need to be modified to meet your child’s needs. Your child may be reluctant to try some of these out. After all, who wants to vacuum the house or do a math problem during the summer break? The fact is, that learning never stops. So find ways to incorporate these into the daily routines.
Keep them active
While some kids naturally gravitate towards constantly moving, others tend to become couch potatoes over the summer. I know my son would sit and watch TV all day long if I let him. Let’s be honest, some days we all just want to sit in front of a screen and do nothing. But being active is so important, especially for children. Teaching them those healthy habits of staying active will pay off in their adult years.
But what can we do on rainy days? Well, there are still plenty of things to do inside to stay active. You can build something out of LEGO, play table tennis, or even do some exercise. My son even joined me when I did my 30-day fitness challenge, doing a small number of each of the exercises.
Get them outside
This goes hand in hand with keeping them active. It’s great to be moving around while indoors, but getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is best. Chances are, they already spend a decent amount of time playing with their friends. However, some kids can fall more into the introvert side of life and need a bit of a push to get out. My son falls into the category. He is not much for going out with friends or even by himself. But, he (almost) always looks forward to going on walks with us every day. This gets him outside and keeps him active. Of course, if your child is an introvert, make sure to provide him or her with some of the introvert must-have items to make them feel more comfortable at home.
Going to the park, the lake, or even for a walk is a great way to experience the outdoors. If you are looking for a bit more of an adventure, there is camping, hiking, canoeing, and several other good activities to do with the family. Even something as simple as throwing a ball around the backyard can give them that daily dose of sunshine and vitamin D.
To add in some extra fun, take them berry picking in the wild, go to an apple orchard or even let them help you with the garden.
Keep them learning
Just because school is out for the summer doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Studies have shown that kids lose 1 to 3 months’ worth of what they had previously learned over the summer vacation. This means that teachers need to spend the first few weeks of school going over many subjects before moving onto the current curriculum. This summer learning loss can be prevented by adding in some learning activities.
No matter what you end up doing in your adult life, reading is a necessary skill. Keep this skill fresh over the summer break by ensuring that your child is regularly reading. Even a single chapter a day can keep their reading proficiency where it needs to be. For kids who struggle with reading, the summer is a great time to work on improving this. Alternate between reading silently and aloud. This will allow you to also keep track of their reading progress. They may be resistant to reading aloud, I know I’m not a fan of it and neither is my son, but it can be good for them. After all, they will be asked to read aloud in school.
Many libraries will offer a summer reading program. These programs may also include rewards for reaching certain milestones, which is a great incentive for kids to read. If your local library doesn’t do this, you can create your own reading program at home.
If your child is hesitant to read, try finding a book or series that interests them. Once they find books that they enjoy, then they are more likely to be bitten by the reading bug. I know my son wasn’t much into reading. However, there are some series that he enthusiastically reads. The Bird & Squirrel series is one of those. Honestly, this was the first series he read willingly, and has reread it multiple times. Another great one is the Warriors Series by Erin Hunter. There are actually several series of these books, but they can be read separately from each other.
Another great idea is to read the books your child reads. This will allow you to have discussions about these books. What did they enjoy? What didn’t they like? Who was their favorite character? I have done this with several series my son loves and was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the books. Then we spent quite a bit of time talking about them.
Much like reading, writing is another part of life. Even in this digital age, it is important to know who to print and write correctly. Spending a bit of time every day working through printing and cursive can really help. This can be done by keeping a journal, writing stories, or simply practicing letters and words on a sheet of paper. There are plenty of writing workbooks out there that can help with this skill as well.
I have my son practice printing and cursive each day. It’s not a lot. He does one page of printing, which usually consists of practicing some letters and now writing out sentences. For cursive, he does two pages, focusing on letters and short words at the moment but will soon move onto full sentences. I have already seen an improvement in his writing after just a month.
Another great way to add education into the summer is through workbooks. There is a large variety of workbooks out there that cover single or multiple topics for each grade level. These workbooks generally follow the curriculum of the schools. Whether it’s to brush up on the previous year’s work or to prepare them for the coming years, these are excellent sources of learning.
My son does several pages of workbooks each day, ranging from math, writing workbooks, and even social science. There are days when he doesn’t want to do them. He will drag his feet and take his time getting to his desk. But in the end, he gets it done and then can play or watch TV afterward.
Chances are there is some kind of summer camp where you live. Signing your kids up for these will not only get them out of the house, but it will keep them busy, active, and expand their knowledge. Camps can range from free workshops put on by a library, to large science camps that cost a decent amount.
Grow their skills
It is never too soon to start teaching your children life skills. Whether it’s something simple like picking up their toys or learning how to cook, the summer can be the perfect time to pass on this knowledge. Yes, it can be difficult at times, as having your child vacuum or peel potatoes means that it takes longer. You may even need to do the same thing yourself when they are done to truly get the job done, but if they don’t do these things now, they may struggle with them in adulthood.
Make sure that your kids are participating in the household chores. Now is the time to pass on those skills and habits. If needed, schedule a certain day of the week to work on one or more jobs around the house. Set a timer if needed. This will help them to learn time management skills as well. If these activities are practiced throughout the summer, and beyond, then they will quickly master them and can move onto the next skill.
Don’t forget to have fun
Of course, the most important thing to remember is to have fun! Summer vacation is a great time to kick back and enjoy life. Watch some television, play video games, build something out of Legos, explore the world around you. Board games are another great activity to do. These can be done with their friends or family. There are many board games out there to choose from. Some of our favorites are the Game Of Life, Catan, Barrel Of Monkeys, and Tiddlywinks.
The key to having a good summer is all about balance. Kids don’t want to spend their entire summer doing school work, but they also need to get away from the screens. After all, before you know it, it will be back to school time. I know it can be a struggle some days, telling your child to turn off the television or stop playing video games so that they can go do something learning-based, but it will be worth it in the long run. Just remember, don’t restrict these things to the summertime. These activities can and should be done all year round.