The good news and bad news is the same: there’s a lot of summer left. It was just last month that the kids were pining for the end of school and now they’re wandering around the house looking for something to do. Camps are great but not every child likes them and most families can’t afford them all summer long.
Why not take a little slice of your summer and try something new with your kids? Share a skill you already have or go and learn one together, create something unique or just kick back and play pretend.
Squeeze some creative juice
Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the craft store. Send your child into the backyard with a pencil and paper and challenge them to sketch what they see.
Grade school kids are old enough to operate a point-and-shoot camera with a few simple instructions and some encouragement to get arty with their photography.
If your creative confidence is weak, go to the experts to help get you started. Stores like Designher Co. offer workshops in crafty skills like beading, paper and textiles.
“We offer programs for all ages,” says owner Dara Frydman. “And projects can be fine-tuned to suit different abilities.”
Venture into your own yard
Who says you need to shop, pack and drive to have a camp out? Dust off that tent, set it up in the yard and watch the fun begin.
Kids love having their own hideout and will thank you for your efforts by playing on their own for hours. Use whatever you can find in your yard to set up an obstacle course and pretend it’s a treacherous hike. Fire up the barbeque, eat on a blanket (less clean up for you) and sing camp songs around some campfire candles. When the sun goes down, get cozy in the tent and tell ghost stories until the kids fall asleep.
It’ll be a highlight of the kids’ summer and will cost nothing more than a mediocre night of sleep.
Knit one, pearl two…
What’s old is new again and knitting is enjoying a renaissance. Sit down and teach your child or go learn the skills together at a knitting store.
Knit-O-Matic Knitting and Crochet Supplies owner Haley Waxberg says they teach children as young as grade 2 how to knit.
“We usually start with a square and then move on from there,” she says. “Kids will make a scarf for someone they know or a blanket if a new baby is on the way.
“We try to keep it fun and affordable for kids. We even have special needles and yarns just for them.”
And knitting isn’t just for girls, says Waxberg.
“We get lots of boys in too, they like to make hats.”
Kids love to cook and the summer’s slower pace is a great time to let them get their hands dirty in the kitchen.
Show your kids to make spaghetti or a stir fry and really let them do it themselves, regardless of the mess. It teaches them valuable life skills and you just may decide to call on them to throw supper together on a hectic night when the fall comes around.
For some extra fun cooking, check out the amazing edible creations at www.familyfun.go.com. Fish-shaped tuna sandwiches, a strawberry shortcake snake, cruising car hotdogs, a butterfly apple and the cutest little Babybel cheese heads are among the innovative food creations you can try at home.
Leave them to their own devices (but not the electronic kind)
Parenting expert Ann Douglas reminds parents that it is okay for kids to be bored.
“If you constantly rush in to alleviate that boredom, your child won’t be motivated to learn how to find ways to entertain himself.”
When they come in crying: “I’m bored!” Douglas suggests parents encourage their kids to think about what they feel like doing and then allow them to make the decision themselves.
The pressure doesn’t always need to be on you to make their summer fun, nor does the fun need to belong just to the kids. Take time to make some memories with your family and enjoy it while it’s here.
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