Like many other parents I know, there are a few words uttered by my children that have the ability to drive me completely and instantly nuts. “I deserve…” “It wasn’t me,” “She started it!” But, chief among those annoying phrases? “I’m bored.” Those two little words can challenge my sanity like no others, especially in the summertime.
I’m assuming I’m not alone in this particular summer struggle, so I’m sharing how I combat it:
The Summer Stuff List.
For the past several years, our family spends the weeks leading up to summer break brainstorming ideas. They can be big things, little things, serious or silly, then we compile them into a list of 100 things to do before the summer ends. It’s our summer bucket list.
We have greatest hits that appear on the list year after year, like sit in a police car or make dinner for mom and dad. Some we’ve eliminated as the kids have grown, such as design an outfit made from recyclables and put on a fashion show (they really were stylish ensembles).
The only rules are that everyone can participate, most have to be free or inexpensive, and at least 10 have to be helpful.
I like to add things in to account for our brutally hot summer days. The movie marathon is great for this. We invite all the neighborhood kids over, black out all our windows, make mountains of popcorn, and turn our living room into a movie theater. We’ve screened Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, and, of course, Harry Potter among others. My advice would be to pick something you’ve already seen. It can be a little hard to focus over a chorus of kid giggles!
Another great hot day activity is tie-dying. If you take the more simple route like I do, this doesn’t have to be a messy, outdoor craft. Just tie your shirt or pillow case over the top of a plastic cup, and allow your kids to draw designs on the fabric with Sharpies. When they finished, let them drip rubbing alcohol onto their picture, and watch the colors blend. Let them dry and wash them separately in cold water. It’s fun, creative, and all the mess ends up in your plastic cup!
Any way we can encourage time without screens we do, so we have added lots of museums and hikes to our list. We will even have an entirely screen free day. Or as the kids call it, “Pioneer Day.”
For the sake of your sanity this summer, I would like to invite you to steal some ideas from our Summer Stuff List. And if you think of anything new or exciting, please share…especially if it’s something cheap, because the other kid words that drive me batty are “Can I have some money, please?”