The following post is from Jennifer Burke, a lifelong educator:
The first few days of summer vacation are exciting: sleeping in, playing under the sprinkler, lunch at the park, no homework and catching fireflies! It doesn’t take too long, though, until your ears pick up a whining, “Mom, I’m bored. What can we do?”
A Simple Idea
Save a jar for each child. Write their name on it and let them decorate. Once a day, or when your child complains of nothing to do, let them pull out one of the ideas that you have tucked inside the jar.
Here are some age-appropriate activities to get you started:
(They may not be bored, but if their older siblings have a jar with their names, you can be sure that they’ll want one, too!)
- Get a paintbrush and water. Paint the alphabet on the front porch.
- Make juice popsicles with Mommy.
- Pick a toy that has lots of pieces. Put them into groups by color.
- Make a handkerchief doll with Mommy.
- Make homemade play dough.
- Fill a pan with rice or dried beans. Add some cups and scoops.
- Use shaving cream on the counter to practice letters and numbers.
- Make a stuffed animal zoo.
- Practice reading readiness skills at Starfall.com
For early elementary:
- Learn how to sew on a button.
- Use different colored highlighters to mark vowels in the newspaper.
- Find a dozen different containers. Estimate how much liquid each will hold. Measure to check.
- Display your friends’ most popular ice cream flavors on a bar graph.
- Make ice cream in a zipper top plastic bag.
- Make butter in a jar.
- Make a map of your neighborhood.
- Draw some pictures for an elderly neighbor.
- Record books on tape for younger siblings to listen to.
For older elementary:
- Find three toys you are tired of. Check with Mom, then organize a toy swap with your friends.
- Cook dinner for the family. (Easy ideas: Salad with pre-cooked chicken on top, boxed macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, or a casserole that Mom can take out of the oven)
- Invent a game using marbles and Legos.
- Write a thank you note to last year’s teacher.
- Write a letter to next year’s teacher, introducing yourself.
- Make paper mache masks.
- Organize a neighborhood Olympics.
- Open a weekly lemonade stand to raise money for a charity.
- Put on a play for your parents.
- Sweep the sidewalks for any single mothers or older neighbors.
- Publish a neighborhood newspaper.
- Play online math games at sites like CoolMathGames.com and FunMathGames.com.
Once you start filling the jars with special activities, you may have to limit your kids to one slip a day!
How do you deal with summer boredom?
|Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.|