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Category:  Family Fun

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Summer Vacation

By Nikki Willhite

www.allthingsfrugal.com

Every family looks at summer in a different way. To some it is hot, and difficult to deal with all the children home from school. Working mothers often have trouble finding babysitting or summer camps for their children.

Then there are those who canít wait to spend more time with their children, and have all sorts of activities, trips and vacations planned.

However we spend our summers, we can probably all use more ideas for things to do, and activities to keep the children busy. With that in mind, here are some ideas that may help.

Education

One of the important things to remember about summer is to try and keep up your childrenís schooling. Yes, they are probably tired of learning, and need a break. However, kids lose much of what they have learned during the summer.

If you canít review or add to what they have learned during the year, at least give them new learning experiences.

Here are some ideas:

-Visit the library often, and take advantage of their activities.

-Visit educational sites on the Internet.

-Buy educational software.

-Visit historical sites and monuments in your area. Teach the associated history.

-Visit Museums. Talk about what you see, whether it is aviation, natural history, or art.

-Visit a home construction site. Let your kids see for themselves what a house looks like under the sheetrock. Build something together at home.

-Go to the zoo. Learn about each animal. Talk about what countries they live in. Review and add to their knowledge of geography. -

-Put up a birdhouse, and learn what kind of birds are in your area.

-Ride horses or ponies.

-Take up a new hobby. Learn about rocks (and geography), stamps (countries and history), music, photography, scrapbook making, needlecraft, genealogy, cooking, baking, sewing or whatever resources are available to you. Share teaching skills with friends and neighbors, or take community classes.

-Check out planned arts and craft classes in your area for children.

-Go berry or fruit picking, then freeze, can or make jam.

-Make homemade ice cream.

Physical Fitness

Be sure your kids keep physically fit during the summer. Donít let them become couch potatoes in front of the television or computer. Make sure they are getting some exercise every day. There are many activities to keep them moving. Here are just a few.

-Take walks and go hiking and camping.

-Ride bikes.

-Go roller-skating.

-Go swimming or run through the sprinklers. Take advantage of nearby lakes and swimming parks.

-Play catch, badminton, basketball or any other games you can do at home or in your neighborhood.

-Play tennis or go bowling. If your kids are too young to play tennis, let them chase the balls while you play.

-Sign up for group sports, or work on skills for the coming year.

-Get your kidís involved in scouting activities.

-Assign them extra chores around the house and garden for the summer.

-Take up recycling. Walk with them as they look for cans and bottles.

Character Development

Summer is a fun time, but donít let this time with your children go by without taking advantage of the opportunity to help develop their appreciation for their blessings, their good fortune, and their charity for other people. Here are some ideas.

-Visit and help out in food banks.

-Take a meal to a sick friend or neighbor.

-Visit a nursing home with small gifts.

-Put flowers on a cemetery plot, or honor a deceased relative.

-Give your time to service projects, such Habitat for Humanity, community clean-up events, or even helping out young men with their projects to become Eagle Scouts.

-Remind them "charity starts at home". Assign them projects around the house and garden, and help them feel like they are contributing.

Fun

Do not over schedule your childrenís time. They need periods of time that they can think, ponder, and rest, just as you do. It is often during these periods that they formulate the thoughts, desires, and goals that will become their motivation and direction in their lives.

There are many fun things kids do that require that parents must schedule, such as going to sporting events, vacations, water sports, and other things that require both adult supervision and transportation. However, if you try and schedule every minute of their time, you will not give them the time they need to develop their own personalities and interests.

They become too dependent on you, do not develop the creativity to entertain themselves. Provide plenty of time for them to do whatever they want and rest from their other activities.

Time for Mom

If you feel overwhelmed as August approaches, give yourself a break. Find another mom or two, and agree to take each otherís children for several hours once a week. You can even coordinate your activities, so that each of you exposes your children to different activities or lessons.

Depending on your individual skills, they can have a music day at one home, a cooking day with another parent, or go on a field trip with a parent who has a big vehicle. You can also plan on getting together a few times at a fun place.

If you give your children something to look forward to, it is easier for them to take learning and other activities a little more seriously in the summer.

 Summer is short, and your childrenís growing up years go by before you know it.
Make the best of this special time with them.



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