By Nikki Willhite
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
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.
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
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
-Visit educational sites on the Internet.
-Buy educational software.
-Visit historical sites and monuments in your area. Teach the
-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
-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
-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
-Go berry or fruit picking, then freeze, can or make jam.
-Make homemade ice cream.
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.
-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
-Get your kidís involved in scouting activities.
-Assign them extra chores around the house and garden for the
-Take up recycling. Walk with them as they look for cans and
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.
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
Summer is short, and your childrenís growing up years go by before
you know it.
Make the best of this special time with them.