The kids are home for summer…now what do you do with them?  You don’t want to over-program, but you don’t want hours and hours of idle time either.  Here are a few summer activities for kids that have worked for us in the past that we will try again:

Make a big deal out of the highlights.  For us, the pinnacle of the summer is flying across country to Virginia to visit grandma and grandpa and James’ siblings.  We countdown until this date and say regularly “I can hardly wait until Virginia!”  Why is this important?  Anticipation is half the fun!

Set a goal to learn a new skill.  This summer one of the skills will be typing.  My 3rd grader is typing with the hunt and peck method, so it’s time for typing class.  I plan to put Ethan and Noelle in front of keyboards and have them type out Bible verses that we will memorize during the summer.  Two goals in one!  Your new skill could be swimming, chess, baseball, sewing, video editing…there are lots of options out there!

Reading rewards.  We have a stack of books for our two older kids.  They are chapter books that will challenge them (biographies for our now 4th grader) so they can earn $1 a book.  When they read 10 books, they get a bonus.

Create some kind of bucket list.  You probably saw this last summer all over Pinterest – writing things on clothespins and make a bucket list of what you were going to do before summer ends.  I’m lagging a bit so I’m doing it this year.  Here’s a sample of what’s on the summer bucket list:

  • Go to the San Diego Fair
  • Original Pancake House
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Pitching the tent in the backyard
  • Movie night
  • Library

You get the picture.  The funny thing is I presented with great pride and excitement my summer bucket list with the clothespins to the kids today.  They didn’t seem to catch the vision.

No hurrays.

No jumping up and down.

No excitement over what they were reading on the pins.

Having said that, I still KNOW they will thoroughly enjoy doing every single thing on those clothespins.

So don’t worry if your kids don’t respond exactly how you think they should.  Don’t lose heart…just keep trying new things and being proactive.  I’ll still be working, writing, and speaking in the summer, so the kids know they will be playing together and reading books independently each day.  But we will plan many activities together too.

Take a few minutes and jot down some ideas that you can put in your calendar to make your summer more pleasant and purposeful for your family.  Down time is enjoyable when accompanied by activity.  Left alone with too much down time, your kids are bound to get into trouble.  Or they may spend hours watching TV, on your iPad or video games which is also not good.

It’s summertime…now what for your family?

BTW:  I saw this in a book and realized it was something that someone with my limited culinary skills could re-create.



Arlene Pellicane

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