The ABCs of Beating Summer Boredom

by Nancy Twigg

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Has the newness of summer vacation worn off for your kids? Do your kids seem to have more time on their hands than they know how to fill? If you answered "Yes" to these questions, why not try some of these A-to-Z ideas for combating the "I'm bored" summer blues?

  • Adopt an adult. Let the kids choose a family in the neighborhood to "adopt." Then help them brainstorm ways that they can do good deeds for the family like cutting their yard or bringing homemade cookies.
  • Befriend the birds. Spread peanut butter over the outside of an empty toilet paper tube. Then roll the tube in birdseed. Use a piece of string to hang it from a tree as a yummy treat for the birds.
  • Construct a card house. Pull out the playing cards and see who can build the tallest card condo. Or, two or more children can work on the same house, each taking turns adding the next card.
  • Dish up a delicious drink. Make a refreshing fruit smoothie by blending together 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup of your favorite flavor of yogurt, 1/2 cup of your favorite fruit, and 5 ice cubes until smooth.
  • Encourage your young entrepreneurs. What could they do to earn a little spending money this summer? Could they set up a lemonade stand? Maybe they could help a neighbor with yard work or have their own little yard sale.
  • Formulate a field trip. Call ahead to make arrangements. Then get together with other families for a tour of a restaurant, factory, TV station or veterinary clinic.
  • Get the day going right. Get up early one day and go to a park to watch the sunrise together. Then have a breakfast picnic with easy "take-along" foods such as bagels, fruit slices, and yogurt.
  • Hang pictures in your "Hall of Fame." Designate one hallway to be the family hall of fame. Hang photos of each family member accomplishing something memorable or noteworthy.
  • Ignite your children's imaginations. Plan activities that will stimulate creative thinking. Visit a children's museum, attend a free craft demonstration, or participate in a youth dance class.
  • Joviality just because. Help your kids host a "just because" party for neighborhood friends. Let your kids decide whom to invite, what foods to serve, and which games to play.
  • Keep your community clean. Adopt a small area to keep clean by periodically picking up trash together. Turn aluminum cans into a recycling center to earn money for a special treat.
  • Love your library. Call the local branch to see what summer activities they have planned. Take advantage of reading programs, free story hours and other fun activities.
  • Master memorization. Challenge your kids to memorize poems, nursery rhymes or Bible verses. Give homemade certificates and small prizes for their accomplishments.
  • Navigate through nature. Give each child his own bag to pick up small items as you take a nature walk. Use the encyclopedia to help identify the items when you get home.
  • Organize ongoing activities. Sticking with a routine will keep everyone on track. Make Monday - library day, Tuesday - play day with friends, Wednesday - picnic at the park day, etc.
  • Piddle with play dough. Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 cup water and food coloring (if desired). Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, knead until smooth. Store in airtight container.
  • Quiet down for quiet time. Be sure to incorporate some "downtime" into each day. Make a rule that for at least 30 minutes everyone must lie down to take a nap or read a book.
  • Reinforce reading. Make it fun by giving rewards for every book completed. Encourage each child to make his own bookmark and "Reading - Do Not Disturb" sign for his bedroom door.
  • Study the science around you. Check out a book on children's science experiments from the library. Do a few with your children. After each experiment, talk about what happened and why.
  • Tinker around in a tent. To make a pretend tent, throw a large blanket over the dining room table. Or if your kids are adventurous, pitch a real tent in the backyard and let them sleep under the stars.
  • Unload unnecessary clutter. Okay, this may not exactly be fun but it will definitely keep everyone busy. Make it a game to see who can gather up the most unused stuff to be given or thrown away.
  • Videography fun. Let the children create their own commercials, music videos or skits to perform as you record. Start with a blank videotape and continue adding footage throughout the summer.
  • Worldwide letter-writing. Check the Internet or library for information on children's pen pal clubs. What could be more exciting than getting mail from someone in another country?
  • Explore aerobic exercise. Rent or check out children's exercise videos. Form your own little aerobics class by getting all the kids involved.
  • Yummy yogurt sundaes. Give the kids each a bowl of vanilla yogurt. Let them create their own healthy sundaes by topping the yogurt with sliced fruit, granola and chopped nuts.
  • Zip on over to the zoo. Call first to ask about "free" times or discount days. Then invite some friends to come along to enjoy a day of fun.

Nancy Twigg is a Christian speaker and the author of Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions

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