School summer holidays can be wearing on both parents and children. Finding ways to stave off boredom is challenging but a long way from impossible. Try the following tips and see if you can beat the summertime blues.
A – Active – It is all too easy to allow your child to become inactive over the summer months. An active child is a healthy child, and keeping them moving and doing is vital to prevent the exhaustion that often accompanies a return to school after the summer holidays. An inactive child can find a return to everyday school life hard after weeks of sitting around doing nothing. Look for local activities in your area and keep your child active.
B – Bedtime – This may seem like an odd choice, but it really does help. Don’t let your child extend their school day bedtime by more than an hour during the holidays. A child who has to switch from going to bed in the early hours of the morning to ten in the evening can find it extremely difficult to make the adjustment. Keep the difference of no more than an hour, and the transition back to school time will be less stressful.
C – Cooking – Get your child to help prepare the family meal. It keeps them occupied and gives you a helping hand. It’s also worth looking at simple recipes that the children can make and have fun with. It keeps them busy, and they can eat the result! A good source of recipes can be found here.
D – Dancing – We’re not talking ballet or tango here. Put some music on dance to it. This can be silly (imagine your child trying to headbang to Bohemian Rhapsody) or slightly more meaningful (teaching them a particular dance), but it keeps them active. They’ll also love seeing parents make fools of themselves if you join in!
E – Exercise – You don’t have to drag your child to the gym. Go for a walk, play running races in the garden or try Hoola hoops and skipping. Exercise should be fun, not boring.
F – Films – Take the camcorder or digital camera and make films about your local area or simply the everyday doings of the family. Post them online to share with family and friends. This activity is possible even if you don’t have digital. Buy a disposable camera, take pictures, develop them, and turn them into a flick book.
G – Games – Dig out the board games from the back of the cupboard and have a family games day. This can be accompanied by finger foods and treat drinks to make it special.
H – Holidays – This site is brilliant for this idea. Choose a month and a day and see what excuse there is to celebrate. How about celebrating ‘Blame someone else’ day in April or ‘National Lasagna Day’ on July 29th? There are extensive archives, and you are sure to find a celebration for any day of the year, not just the summer holidays.
I – Internet – It’s a part of our lives now. Even those who don’t have Internet connections at home can get access via libraries and Internet cafes. Use it to find fun and safe games sites for kids. These can be fun and educational or fun just for the sake of it. Stimulating the brain is just as important as keeping your child active.
J – Juggling – Teach your child to juggle, or learn with them. You can use anything to juggle with. Try starting with small oranges or soft play balls. A great site for tips and demonstrations can be found here.
K – Kites – Make a kite and go fly it. How to make a simple kite is shown on this page.
L – Learn – School may be out, but that doesn’t mean learning should be ignored. Keep your child’s mind active by working with their interests and hobbies. Learning during holidays has to be fun. No child wants a classroom at home, especially in the summer. Keep your learning efforts discreet and under the mask of ‘This will be fun.’
M – Music – Children love music. Make your own instruments and form a band. If your children play real instruments, do the same. Have a seventies day and ‘inflict’ your music on them with suitable food and clothing as an extra. Just remember that you may well have to sit through twelve hours of Greenday and Slipknot in return!
N – Nothing – keeping your kids active and occupied during the summer holidays is great, but you also need to remember to allow them to relax. Have a ‘Doing nothing’ hour somewhere in the day. Let them read a book, watch TV or play a video game whilst you do your chores or take an hour’s relaxation for yourself.
O – Outdoors – Get outside as much as you can. Take a bus to the nearest beach. Visit local attractions (use the internet to find free activities in your area). Visit with friends or offer to walk the neighbor’s dog (if you don’t have one), but get outside and make the most of the good weather and fresh air. Simply weeding the garden or planting seeds can be enough.
P – Party! – Throw a party once a week. Choose a theme and use some time each day to prepare for the party. Make banners, decorate the house (or just the party room), prepare to treat foods and drinks, and let off steam at the weekly party. This can be a family thing, but why not open it up to the neighbors and get a street party going?
Q – Quests – Make up quests for your child to go on. Treasure hunts are fabulous for this purpose. You can also make up a story about a quest and get your kids to act it out. Make a puppet theatre and puppets and tell the story.
R – Rubbish – Recycle your rubbish and use it in projects. Paint up cardboard inner-tubes and use them to play skittles. Turn empty boxes into paper and pen containers, decorating them with painted pasta shapes or glitter and sequins. Wash out empty bottles and use them to grow seeds in. Help your child research what items can be recycled locally and visit the recycling center.
S – Soap – This is connected to recycling and a fun project for your child. Recycle ends of soap into new bars. A safe method that does not require the handling of lye can be found here. You don’t have to wash with the bars; try using them to carve stamps or models instead.
T – Tents – There is nothing quite so much fun as putting up a tent and letting your child play in it. You can even erect it in your back yard and let them sleep out overnight. (Pay attention to safety, though. You might want to sleep with them). Tents can be simple. Peg an old sheet over a washing line, and you have a tent.
U – Uncle – or aunt or granny, anyone in your family. If you have relatives, use them. Take your child visiting and help them get to know their family and their family history. Older relatives are usually a mine of information and willing to share stories about family history. Turn it into a project and get your child to draw up a family tree.
V – Volleyball – Baseball, football, softball, any sport involving a ball can be played to keep your child occupied. Most can be played in the back yard or at the local park, and you may even have summer clubs in the area that cater to your child’s particular sporting interests.
W – Water – Go swimming. Teach your child to swim at the local pool or help them improve their skills and have fun in the water. Its good exercise, lots of fun, and every child should know how to swim.
X – X-Men – Don’t underestimate the value of a good film. Providing it is not gratuitous and caters to your child’s age range; there is nothing wrong with letting your child watch a movie once in a while.
Y – Yipee! – Youthful enthusiasm needs an outlet. If your child has a creative passion, help them foster it during the holidays. Turn the entire summer into learning about penguins or trying to break a world record, whatever it is that fires your child’s enthusiasm and imagination. Remember to show your interest and ask questions, help them expand their horizons.
Z – Zoos – Cliche as it may be, zoo trips and summer holidays go hand-in-hand. Zoos are no longer the drab places they once were. Visit your local zoo and help your child learn about conservation whilst giggling over the antics of the monkeys and being awed by the size of the tigers.
This A-Z of activities for your children during the summer holidays should get you started and will hopefully inspire other ideas. Try some of them and enjoy your summer holiday with your child.
Here are even more ideas to keep kids physically active during the summer holidays by providing fun activities that will move more than just their thumbs on a game controller.
Limit TV and video games
Summer break should not be an excuse for kids to spend ten hours a day watching television or playing video games. TV and video games do not need to be banned but moderated. Set a time limit for each per day. Even though the Wii is a motion-activated video game, it’s still advisable to limit it just as you would a traditional game. Let the kids play a game of Wii tennis and then take them to the park to play a real game. It doesn’t matter if they only just hit the ball around; the key is to get them moving and interacting with something other than a television screen.
School may be out, but many junior colleges and even universities offer a variety of entertaining, challenging, active classes for kids of all ages. Cooking, film-making, acting, science exploration, and more these classes will help the kids to be both physically and mentally active while learning and having fun.
Join local YMCA/YWCA
These great organizations can be found in most communities and offer many different classes and activities for kids during the summer. To keep the kids moving, consider various sports, crafts, and even open gym time. Many facilities have indoor pools, so swimming is possible even on rainy days or when the temperatures soar.
Encourage group sports
Baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and swim team are opportunities for kids to be active and enjoy time with other kids their age. Group sports will require more of a commitment for both parents and children due to team practices and games.
Make family time active time.
Get moving as a family. Day trips to hike park trails, bike rides, or playtime at the local beach or park are all great ways to keep kids active and bond as a family. Make it a habit each evening after dinner to do something active together. Ride bikes, fly a kite, take a neighborhood walk, play catch, or another game that has everyone up and moving. Beanbag toss or the washer toss game is perfect backyard fun for all ages and can be played in small yards, big yards, or even on a driveway or sidewalk.
Whether veggies or flowers, a garden is a great way to keep active all summer, a garden takes time and care, a little each day. From weeding to watering to harvesting, a garden can provide an opportunity for activity while teaching nurturing and responsibility to kids.
Whichever activities you choose this summer to keep your kids physically active, have a bit of fun and take your summer mantra from the lemurs in the kid’s movie ‘Madagascar’ and just “move it, move it!”