So I blogged about a back-to-basics summer. Here are 7 ways to make that happen.
Read good books, silly books, easy books, serious books, cookbooks, picture books, series books. Get thee to the library, see if they have a summer reading program, and SIGN UP. Oh, sure, it might sound like the cheesy stuff your mom made you do (thanks, Mom, for setting a good example and making my lazy self read as a kid!), but summer reading programs are a great way to give incentive to kids for reading. Some kids, like my oldest, don’t need incentive. They just need time and a book. Other kids, like my 2nd child, need incentive. Our local library has in the past had some SWEET incentives, like a coupon book full of so many goodies we have yet to use all the coupons before they expire. Free frozen yogurt? Yes, please. Free admission to some small local museums? We’ll be there. $5 off a purchase of $5 or more at the local kids’ resale? YES.
Read. Read aloud, read alone, just make time to read. A fun idea? Read a book together and then watch the movie version of the story. See if your kids start to prefer the written word like mine do, and enjoy the discussion that comes with seeing scenes in a movie that didn’t happen in the book.
Set rules for screen-time. This keeps kids from turning into cranky screen-zombies, and also provides some basic rules for things you expect to be done before kids think they’re so darn bored that only staring at a screen will save them from being “bored to death.” Inspired by this post, I set up my own printable for screen-time rules. Click to download for your family, if you like!
Allow kids to spend their allowance or some summer cash you give them on whatever they want. Grit your teeth at what seem like bad decisions (exercise parental veto power if you must…some things really aren’t worth it), but let them enjoy the chance to spend some money and learn from it in the process. Remember how fun it was to spend a dollar on a Slurpee at 7-11? Let your kids have that fun, too.
Board games. I remember days-long Monopoly games with my sister and brother, when we’d camp out in the basement to avoid the summer heat (we didn’t have AC back then!), and we’d leave the game board out and just play and play and play. I can’t get away with that now, having a desctructo-toddler in the house, but we’ll play board games when possible, and maybe keep them out on the guest bed with doors shut if we don’t get a chance to finish right away!
Water fight! Come on, Moms, get out there with your kids, too. You know you want to have an excuse to soak them! Grab the hose, or a bucket, or water guns if your kids haven’t grabbed all of them, and get wet. I promise the squeals and screeches and laughter will be so worth it. If you want to be really creative, plan ahead and buy some sponges at the dollar store to make those water bombs…but I didn’t tell you that. That might require a stop on Pinterest to see how to make those things anyway. 😉
Go bowling. You know there are some days that are just so darn hot that you don’t even want to walk outside to turn on the sprinklers for water play (or maybe you have watering restrictions)…and bowling is a fun way to get out of the house and do something most of us rarely do. Grab some socks and enjoy a few games with your kids. p.s.– You might be able to find a free bowling program in your town. Look up “kids bowl free” and see what you find. We are signed up for free bowling all summer!
Picnics. All the picnics, once a week. Maybe it’s a lunch, maybe it’s a dinner, maybe it’s a mid-afternoon snack picnic. I don’t care when, or even where. Half the time it’s the most fun to throw a blanket out on the lawn and eat lunch there for your picnic. But do it. Picnics are brilliant. You can get the kids helping with prepping the food, and packing, and choosing where to go. You might be amazed how responsible and clever they can be once you start planning a picnic and say you need their help to make it work. Maybe go for ice cream after, or get ice cream and then lay out your blanket. Maybe pack it all up early and head for a local hiking spot, spend an hour or so out in nature, and then come back for your picnic. Bring some notebooks and pencils one day, and make it a nature-journal picnic. See how can spot the most animals or flowers. See who draws the funniest picture.