If you’re a stay-home parent, you’ll know all about the challenges of keeping kids occupied through the long summer break. While it’s good to have them home with you, it’s not always easy to find enough for them to do, and a bored child can quickly become restless or sulky.
The best way around this is to keep a big batch of activity ideas up your sleeve. Here are a few to start you off. They won’t cost much – if anything.
A change of scene is always refreshing, so take your children out as often as you can. A run-about in the local park or a visit to nearby friends will be as good as anything, but a trip to a place of interest or natural beauty will enrich their experience.
Gather some old clothes, shoes and accessories, inviting friends and relatives to contribute, too. Everything from shiny shoes to dark glasses and sunhats will be fun for the kids to try on. Check out the thrift stores for novelties, such as animal or character costumes. Your children will love dressing up and taking on a different persona.
Ask your children to put on a show for you. Depending on their ages and interests, you could suggest they prepare a little concert or play, or take turns to tell jokes and stories. They might like to include a dance or some magic tricks. Occasional support from you will help them stay focused and avoid squabbles. Video the show to share again later.
Assorted ball games
How about treating the kids to a shiny, new beach ball? It will provide daily sporting fun for them and their friends, inside and indoors, especially if you can show them some new or forgotten games. Check online for examples and guidelines.
Whatever ages your children are, they’re sure to enjoy playing hide-and-seek and similar games. Join in yourself to encourage them. Kids may not always show it, but they usually love it when Mom or Dad share the fun. Treat them to a little wrapped snack each, hiding them around your home for them to find, perhaps with clues. Then suggest they set treasure hunts for each other, using old toys or playing cards as treasure.
Let your kids rearrange their bedroom furniture. You may need to help them shift heavier items or set limits to what they can move. If you’re happy for your older children to use home-decorating paint and have some spare, perhaps let them paint a small area, such as a closet, table-top or door, with supervision as needed. They’ll find these activities fulfilling.
Encourage your children to help keep your backyard tidy and bright. They’ll enjoy watering the plants, sweeping the steps and tidying the patio, especially when they see how pleased you are. Hand out garden trowels or forks for digging a patch of soil. They can have fun watching creepy-crawlies, too. Perhaps they’d like to hose down the car for you, while they’re out there. If you don’t have a yard, perhaps you have a balcony or window ledge that they could decorate.
Arts and crafts
Children love a chance to be creative. Set out paper and crayons on the kitchen table, floor or patio tiles and give them some subject suggestions. If you have any old wallpaper rolls, tear off long sheets for giant creations. Paints and clay can also be used freely outside. If there’s a birthday or other family event coming up, suggest they make celebratory cards or posters.
Occasional rest days can be of benefit to growing, developing children, so don’t worry to plan for every day. With all your suggestions and support, your kids will have a brilliant summer vacation.