We hosted a last-minute summer party for the kids today.
Totally last-minute. As in running-to-the-store-to-buy-water-balloons-and-snacks-and-getting-home-4-minutes-before-the-party-officially-started kind of last-minute.
My 4 oldest that are in school each invited friends over. About 12 friends total. Plus my 6 kids. Yeah – that’s a lot of kid power.
There were movies, games, water fights, Wii playing, ice cream, snacks, laughing, crying, running, falling and just a general all-around good time!
And now summer is officially here. No more school. For almost 3 months.
Ah. The wonders and magic of summer. Doesn’t it just sound enchanting?
I forgot that there is no magic for the kids unless every single day is some new adventure, vacation, party or something of the sort. But that’s not reality. At least not in my world.
In my world there’s still chores that need to be done. A garden that needs to be weeded and watered. Piano practicing, scouts, dishes, making beds, etc.
And there’s nothing enchanting about that at all.
The kids’ new favorite phrase becomes “I’m bored!” (can’t you just picture Luke saying that?)
Yuck. The daily task of trying to “entertain” the kiddos is quite daunting. Not that I try to do that because I don’t believe kids need to be constantly entertained. Nope. Not at all.
But I do tire of the words, “I’m bored!”
You know what my Mom says to that? She says, “If you’re bored that’s because you’re too stupid to think of something to do!”
She doesn’t mince words, that Mom of mine!
Still, it’s nice to help the kids think of things to do. I can do that. I’ll be nice and help them out. But I’ve got to make them think it’s their idea or it’s just not as fun.
So, what to do?
#1. Enlist their friends
Find out what other families are doing during the summer. You may just discover a new favorite activity that your kids will love. Even better is doing the activity with your friends.
We went hiking a few weeks ago with some friends. Super fun. The kids loved it. I loved it. Great memories.
#2. In a word: Google
Love the internet. It’s chock-full of endless ideas for summer activities, from the super expensive and hard to plan to the simplest of ideas that are free.
#3. Explore your world
Or how about your city, county or state? For those who live in Utah like I do, how many of you have been to the Great Salt Lake? Or what about Utah Lake? Antelope Island? The Salt Flats, Mt. Timpanogos, Sundance, all the National Parks down south? The list goes on and on and on.
That’s just what popped in my head in the last 30 seconds.
Um. Confession time.
Last Saturday was the first time my children have been to Utah Lake.
Here are most of my kids with some of their cousins. Aren’t they cute?
So yeah. This was the first time. Pathetic. And we haven’t been to the Great Salt Lake, either.
We haven’t been to a lot of places that are close to us. I mean to change that this summer.
#4. Gather all your coupons
You know all the coupons and discounts your kids bring home throughout the school year and especially at the end of the year?
Go use them! We have ones for bowling, rock climbing, skating, food places, etc.
#5. Take advantage of free services in your area
Think library, parks, hiking paths, fire/police stations, factories, museums and more. Many places are more than happy to show you around and help you become familiar with what they have to offer.
#6. Have the kids make a list
Ask them what they want to do this summer. Help them think of ideas that are free, ideas that are cheap and ideas that are a little more elaborate. It doesn’t hurt to dream, right?
Now you have no excuses.
Okay, well, I guess you do. Because kids will say they’re bored even if you suggest something fun. They’ll say it because it’s not something they want to do right that second.
Give them time. They’ll come around.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t take all summer long.