Moms and dads, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The kids have hung up their backpacks, they’ve put away their notebooks, and there’s no more scrambling for the bus in the morning. Ladies and gentlemen… it’s summer break!
Of course, summer break just means that in two weeks’ time, your kids are going to tell you they’re bored. That there’s nothing to do. That they miss their friends. Instead of plunking them down in front of Minecraft, why not try one of these different ways to break up the summer holiday?
Ready to get the kids off your case? Here are the best ways to break up the monotony of having your kids around all day.
Camp Out – At Home
This is something even the littlest of summer breakers can go for. Chances are you’ve already got everything you need. If not, hit the local yard sales to find a tent, a camp stove and a few sleeping bags. Then, go camping!
Set up your tent in your back yard. If you don’t have a yard, no worries. You can be creative and camp out in your garage, or head over to grandma’s house. Then, go all out. Build a campfire in a little portable grill, roast dogs and marshmallows, and tell ghost stories around the “campfire.”
Little kids will dig being so close to home, and the bigger ones will love a change of scenery. Give them a special task, like helping to cook the Campfire Potatoes. Best of all, you’ll love that there’s a bathroom and a coffee pot nearby when you camp out at home.
Host an Epic Water Balloon Fight
I’m not talking about blowing up a few balloons and lobbing them at one another. Instead, get the whole neighborhood involved. Choose a Saturday afternoon and plan ahead. You can choose a theme for your party if you want, or you can just have a cookout. Invite all your neighbors, and plan to get wet!
You can get a few kiddie pools for less than ten bucks each at your local discount store. Fill these up with water balloons that you’ve filled in advance – I have a neat tool that makes this super easy.
The thing about water balloons is that, obviously, they break. That leaves little rubber “treats” all over your yard for your dog and your lawn mower to find. To make cleanup easy, spread some deck carpet over your yard. Or, you can put the kids to work – offer a prize to the small fry who can pick up the most balloons.
Play in the Rain
For many, the summer months bring warm rain. And while the rain can be a welcome way to cool the air, it’s also a drag – you’re stuck inside, and your kids are, too.
Or are they?
The next time you look out the window and see a torrential downpour, go outside. (Be sure, of course, that it’s not thundering and lightning.) The first few steps out into the rain will make you a bit apprehensive but trust me! Once you and the kids get wet it’s really fun!
Splash in puddles, float leaves down the curbside, whatever strikes you. After just a few minutes you’ll find that you’re laughing just as hard as your kids are!
Start a Garden
If you’ve got a little extra space and aren’t afraid of killing plants, the beginning of summer break is a great time to start a garden. Depending on where you live, it’s probably a little too late for seedlings. But tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and more can be planted in May or June, and will give you plenty of fresh veggies year round.
It doesn’t matter if you dig in your yard or not. In fact, my most successful “gardens” have been in large pots on an apartment patio. The best part about gardens is that, while the initial planting will take a full afternoon, they’re low-maintenance for the rest of the summer.
For the best results, check with your local nursery for the best plants. You’ll also find plants that are ready to be potted at home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. And, once June creeps up, you can often find plants on clearance. I’ve found tomatoes for as little as $1.50 per plant.
My boys, with the cooperation of their cousin, have been working on an insanely elaborate fort at their grandmother’s house. They began, believe it or not, over winter break a couple years back and have tackled it over summer and spring breaks since. What began as a pile of sticks has grown into a wonderful demonstration of just how ingenious kids can be.
What you and your family decide to build is up to you. Construct a tree house, or simply build a little bird house. What’s important is that everyone have a hand in it. Of course, you’ll want to keep everyone safe, too. Be sure you have kid-sized tools, and always make your kids wear protective eyewear.
Take a Road Trip
I’ve actually mentioned this before, but it’s a tried and true hit with my family. Take a road trip with your kids, and go see a few sights that are out of the ordinary. You don’t have to go far – some of the most interesting things are right down the street!
There are a few websites that can help you on your quest to find the unusual. First, check out Roadtrippers.com. This site will point you to restaurants, attractions and more. Just plug in your route – it can be a local one – and you’ll be rewarded with a very descriptive map.
For a bit more fun, check out RoadsideAmerica.com. This site has all the bizarre attractions you could ever dream of. From the World’s Largest Frying Pan to the Cheese Shop Shaped Like Cheese, there’s something on this site for everyone.
Summer break doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck inside listening to your kids lament how bored they are. Think outside the box. Even the most innocent of water balloon fights can turn summer break into something really special for your kids.
Here are some great product that your kids will love during their summer break: