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How to Survive Summer Break… from One Mother to Another

Written by Kim Keane –  www.kimkeane.com

The school year has finally come to an end…with virtual learning taking place it seemed like there was no end in sight. Now my girls are done with school, my focus has changed from managing school work to wondering what to do with them for the summer. Are you thinking the same thing? 

Camps are slowly re-opening. I’m not sure if I feel comfortable sending them, especially to the nature camp, which has no outdoor plumbing. At the same time, I don’t want my girls melding into the couch and being glued to the tv, video games, and the iPad. But it feels as though options for keeping them busy are limited. 

Normally, I allow them to have down time with no academic pressures and to give them a chance to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of the school year – doing homework, studying for tests, and participating in weekly extra-curriculars. 

My girls are getting antsy now. Every day it’s, “What can we do?” “We’re bored…” “There’s nothing to do.” Does this sound like your kids too? With the list below, we should be hearing less of these sentiments. There are so many things to do – learn new skills, give back to the community, and participate in activities that are good, old-fashioned fun. 

Ways to Give Back to The Community

  • Find a volunteer opportunity with VolunteerMatch 
  • Do something kind for someone – the possibilities are endless here!
  • Write a letter to breast cancer patients – girls love mail or make a picture or write a letter for nursing home residents – Love for the Elderly
  • Be a peer tutor with school on wheels
  • Walk your dog or a digital dog to earn money for animal shelters by using the app – WoofTrax.

Learn New Skills

  • Learn to cook healthy meals & create a meal plan for one week 
  • Learn to make a new dessert or healthy summer treats such as popsicles; here’s a recipe for Green Smoothie Pops you can try: https://aseasyasapplepie.com/smoothie-popsicles/
  • Train for a 5k using a Couch to 5k training app
  • Learn how to make origami using a YouTube video or a book from the library
  • Learn how to garden and start your own – this is a good resource even though it is intended for parents with young children: https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/gardening-with-children/
  • Learn how to make a face scrub, face mask, and foot soak and do your own DIY spa treatment
  • Take a class on OutSchool – https://outschool.com/; the classes start at $10 and are for children ages 3-18
  • Take a class on Udemy – www.udemy.com; search “kid” and you can find art classes, coding classes, photography classes

Good, Old-Fashioned Fun

  • Camps for older children – American Camp Association: Find A Camp Directory
  • Read a book
  • Do a puzzle
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go for a hike at a local state park
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Run through a sprinkler
  • Make a Summer bucket list
  • Learn how to draw Zentangles
  • Hand write a letter and send it to a friend
  • Write a letter to your future self
  • Create a COVID-19 time capsule

Have Arts & Crafts time – make DIY room decor, paint a picture using watercolor paints, make friendship bracelets, etc.

Create a summer photo collage by yourself or with your friends – use pictures, poster board, stickers, puffy paint, etc. or use a free digital app such as Canva.

Creating a Routine

A routine or a schedule can also help with the feeling of boredom since it will fill in the gaps of time when the boredom buster activities are done. Do you create a schedule for your kids during the summer? It can include a designated wake time, a certain amount of device time and when it can be used, along with a specified lunch time, a time for chores, and practicing a musical instrument, skill, or sport. 

Exercise can be scheduled into the routine too because according to the Journal of School Health students tend to gain weight during the summer break. 

My 10 year old is officially a middle-schooler now. She has required summer work. My younger daughter doesn’t yet. She’s going to do one math page and one language arts page per week. To make sure this gets done on time and we don’t wait until the last possible minute we’ve created a routine for Monday and Wednesday. On these days, my girls have to wake-up by 8:00am, have breakfast, and be ready to do their summer work by 9:00am. They will work until 10:00am. My girls have piano lessons each Wednesday, so we’ve designated Monday and Thursday as their practice days. Once their summer work and piano practice are done we will pick something to do from the list below. Do your kids have required summer work or lessons they participate in all year round? 

Here’s to a wonderful summer break with your children where fun-filled, loving memories are created!

For more information about Kim and all that she has going on, head on over to www.kimkeane.com and follow her on INSTAGRAM – @kimvkeane.

REFERENCE: Journal of School Health, Changes in Weight Over the School Year and Summer Vacation: Results of a 5 Year Longitudinal Study, June 19, 2012.