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The Backyard, The Coffee Bar, The Family Room

Five on Friday: Keeping the Kids Busy This Summer

Apologies for the…um, hiatus that we (by we, I mean I) took from the Friday Five. But it’s back!

This week’s post was partially inspired by Lynn’s manifesto, as well as by some articles that I’ve written about entertaining kids during the summer. Sure, it’s easy for me to just throw a list of tips out there. However, I’m actually experiencing a bit of anxiety (okay, a lot of anxiety) about this summer with my own child. Organized activities are expensive, camp’s not an option, and we haven’t looked into hiring a babysitter. Keeping him occupied (as in, not watching “Cars 2” for the umpteenth time each day) and somehow finding enough time to write–while also keeping a relatively organized home and feeding my family regularly, that kind of thing–are my top priorities.

If you’re a parent with kids on vacation from school, you might not be up for organizing big summer activities. So here are five ideas that take little to no planning.

  1. Go to the nearest park, playground, or athletic field. We’re lucky enough to be within driving distance of several parks and playgrounds. The more shade, the better, if it gets hot and humid where you are. Be sure to take advantage of other available natural resources too, such as a beach or lake.
  2. Get your hands dirty. Plant a fruit or vegetable garden. Okay, this idea takes a little bit of planning. If it’s too much, try planting something on a smaller scale, or do something unrelated to gardening, like hanging a birdhouse. We have one with no bird seed inside, but a local bird seems to be making use of it and there may be a nest in our future. As for flowers and plants, weeding and maintaining what you already have doesn’t take too much effort. Teaching the kids about nature and keeping their little hands busy is the main objective.
  3. Go camping in your own backyard. At night, you could show a movie, as Lynn suggested. For younger kids, having a tent set up during the day is fun too, since you can let their imaginations run wild while they’re in the shade. Unfortunately, we get some wildlife roaming through our yard some nights, so for now we’re sticking to daytime camping.
  4. Water, water and more water. Whether you have a fancy sprinkler, a kiddie pool, or a simple garden hose, spending even a few minutes splashing around in cool water can provide the best relief from the summer heat. Water pistols and water balloons are inexpensive and fun, too.
  5. Visit the library, a shopping mall, or a museum. If it’s simply too hot to play outside, there are a lot of ways to stay cool indoors without being bored at home. Many local libraries, aside from having great summer programs for kids, offer discounts and passes to family-friendly museums and other attractions.

A bonus tip: Try to get out of the house in the morning, after having a nutritious breakfast that will provide some extra energy. When the day gets too hot, you can seek refuge inside and have some quiet afternoon time. Later on, you could go for a post-dinner walk or just enjoy your back yard. (Our family’s still working on that one.)

So here’s my cry for help question:
If you’re like me and you work from home, having kids in the house all summer creates a challenge, as far as being able to get work done. Flexibility is a must, I know, but how do you still get everything done?
Tell us in the comments!

About katietesta

I am a mom, a wife, and a freelance writer. I love to research and have a passion for social justice and nonprofit work.


One thought on “Five on Friday: Keeping the Kids Busy This Summer

  1. camping in your own backyard is the best!

    Posted by mare ball | June 15, 2012, 10:57

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