Now that summer is in full swing, I have heard parents and kids alike starting to use that famous “B” word. They are “Bored.” It’s difficult to manage boredom with our children, because our first reaction as parents is to solve it, or keep them busy. But does that really solve the problem? Are we teaching them how to be “OK” and navigate boredom? Or are we keeping them busy until the next lull in activities?
Part of being a mindful parent is being able to spend (and enjoy) this quiet time with our kids, and not rush from one activity to another. Not only does this help quiet our mind, but theirs as well. With the hustle and bustle of the school year in the rear-view window, we want to make sure they are taking this time to recharge.
This, however, can be painful. I myself spent three hours at home navigating nothing but sibling disagreements the other day. They fought over the garden hose, who wanted what cup, etc. It took every ounce of my patience not to lose it. For more on managing your own self-care, check out our earlier blog.
Ultimately, as the day went on, the kids did calm down. They started navigating and communicating more effectively with one another. And wouldn’t you know, by the end of the day, they had worked together to make an “herb sale” and offer fresh picked herbs to our neighbors!
Here’s the thing: there are going to be lulls in the schedule. It’s just a part of the many gifts of summer’s freedom. Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain a balance. Some days are best spent at home enjoying one another, while other days or weeks should be spent traveling (if that is in your plan) or at a local camp (if that is something the kids feel interested in). Here is a list of some fun activities to do with your children this summer on those afternoons when boredom is unbearable.
- For fun summertime science experiments, check out Fun Learning For Kids. Their projects include making slime, ocean themed projects and more.
- Lemon Lime Adventures has some great ideas, such as ice Legos, bubble snakes and exploding volcanos!
- Fun-A-Day has great ideas including experiments about weather, sand and chemical reactions.
- If your child is into building, try order a STEM kit from Tinkercrate by Kiwico.
- Highlights Magazine and Little Passports offer some fun activities that educate children on world travel and history, while solving some mysteries!
- The Bergen County Library System (bccls.org) has an enriching summer reading program, as well as day programs, such as reading to a therapy dog, art projects and movie nights to help break up the day
- Try helping your kids learn about healthy eating and cooking with programs like Raddishkids.com. They will love creating their own food and taste-testing it-and you can even make them help clean up the mess!
- If your child is more of an artist, try creating an “art box” with leftover recyclables. You will be surprised what they will create with these items. You can also give them a subject and guide them. Themes such as nature, plants and animals are a good place to start. See what they create when given some inspiration and tools!
While they may fly by for us, summer days are long for children, and if you aren’t a family that can travel and get away, the weeks can seem even longer. It’s always great to spend time together as a family, so while you’re thinking of ways to stay busy, also find ways to relax together. If you’re stumped for ideas, check out our blog listing 20 fun weekend getaways and daytrips to help make your summer a memorable one. Share these ideas with your kids and create a summer bucket list and see how many you can do-mindfully of course!