By Stephanie Martin
I do know that I am very fortunate to be able to work from home and, in turn, be home with my children and not have to worry about childcare. I am very blessed to be able to be involved in my children’s lives on a daily basis like I am. However, they are still kids and will still “get bored” and “have nothing to do”. But, I do not plan to let boredom turn into watching TV all day or playing on the computer/Wii all day while they are home from school. I do not allow that during the school year and I definitely will not allow it during the summer months. So, what do I do to keep my children occupied? We do have season passes to a local amusement park and a local aquarium, but we do not plan on spending all of our time inside.
When they were smaller, we would make lots of homemade play dough and I would let them have whatever kitchen utensils they wanted to use (unless it was a more expensive piece, that is) and just play to their heart’s content. I also kept a craft box handy filled with lots of pipe cleaners, pompoms, Popsicle sticks, construction paper, glue, paper towel/ toilet paper rolls, glitter, stencils, etc., and would put them outside on the back porch and let them use their imaginations. I even kept water-soluble paints and brushes on hand, and on time we painted river rocks! I still keep a lot of these items on hand, but they are getting bigger and not wanting to do that as much as they used to. Now, I have one that loves to draw and one that loves to paint, and one that loves to do both. We try very hard to encourage our children to be creative in all that they do.
A lady I spoke to recently said she used to let her children finger paint on the kitchen floor (vinyl flooring) because they could be as messy as they wanted and then she would just mop it up when they were done! What a great idea! I never thought of that one, but I used to blow bubbles in the house for my kids when they were little. Don’t worry, it is not messy or hard to clean up unless you spill them. The kids have a blast trying to pop the bubbles, and it is something different from just blowing them outside.
They also love to ride their bikes around the yard. We are blessed to have acreage for them to ride on. We will also make a sprinkler for them to play in when it is hot but we cannot go anywhere that day. Take a clean, used gallon-sized milk jug and punch holes in the bottom. Run hose over a tree limb and place the nozzle of the hose in the top and tape. Turn on the hose and you have a frugal, homemade sprinkler! Of course, there is also the lake when we can.
Another outing that we plan to do this summer is go play a few games of putt-putt at a small local business. The prices are very reasonable and it’s close to home. I know not everyone has this option but make sure and check around locally to see what your area offers in the way of activities for families. Don’t forget to check out local parks. Make sure that, in the hotter months, to go early in the morning before it gets too hot and the mosquitoes become to pesky to enjoy your time outdoors, and take lots of water to keep everyone hydrated.
Make sure and plan a family day/night. Take turns picking a board game to play or a movie to watch. Pop popcorn, fix favorite drinks and snacks, and just enjoy spending time together and catching up on each others lives. Make sure and plan your days accordingly. Try to plan something to do inside on the days that it is supposed to rain and your outdoor activities when it is supposed to be clear.
I hope this helps you come up with some ideas on how to entertain your children. Please remember to tailor activities to be age-appropriate for your child(ren), and have a wonderful summer!
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