As parents, the “lazy days of summer” are something we have never had a chance to experience. We have, however, spent endless hours trying to find something new and different to keep the kids active and not hear that familiar “I’m bored!” Preventing summertime boredom can be both fun and a way to discover more about your child and the world. Let’s explore!
Art, whether in the form of drawing, music or acting is something kids are naturally drawn to. You don’t need to spend a fortune on formal camps in order to allow your child to explore the arts.
*A quick look in the newspaper can reveal a number of arts festivals and sometimes even free art classes for kids. The arts festivals normally have a kid’s area where kids can make items, explore art forms they are unfamiliar with and even learn and play music.
*Grab a bird identification guide, binoculars and a camera and take a family walk along an established trail or through the woods. Try to see how many different kinds of birds you can identify and get pictures of those you can. Once you return home, visit a bird call site and see if you can find the call that belongs to each species of bird. Keep track of your finds in the bird identification notebook.
Most kids love animals. Unfortunately, some families, for one reason or another, can’t have pets. While the zoo is one option for seeing animals, it doesn’t give kids the chance to really interact with them. That is where your local animal shelter can help in preventing summertime boredom. Many shelters have adopted a structure where their focus is on getting pets socialized and ready for adoption and there are a few different options for families that will not only benefit the animals, but will also foster love and respect for animals in your child and give them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
*Younger kids can play with kittens and puppies in a controlled environment where they can benefit from the interaction and help the young animals get ready for permanent homes by teaching them how to interact with kids. Play rooms are set up and the shelter staff will only choose animals that are gentle and appropriate for your child.
*Young readers can always benefit from practice. Many shelters have adopted a program where they pair a child with a gentle older animal who is calm and listens well. Your child reads to the animal and not only benefits from the practice, but enjoys the comfort of a furry creature cuddling up to them and giving them their undivided attention.
Young children grow so fast that it is often difficult to keep up with the changes. While preventing summertime boredom, why not find a way to capture these moments of discovery?
*Give each child a disposable camera, or even one of the cheaper digital cameras made for kids, and turn them lose to photograph their day. The only instructions to give them is to take pictures of anything they want. At the end of the day, you can go over the pictures together, maybe print them out and put them in an album with a note on why your child chose to capture that particular thing on film. You not only see the world from their point of view, but may also learn some things about what your child finds important. I guarantee you will be surprised and they will be happy to be able to share.