All year long you look forward to summer. So why do you feel like you might lose your mind when school is out and you're at home with the kids – all day, every day? Here are some fun and affordable cures for your family's summertime, stuck-at-home blues. If your kids spend the day with a nanny or sitter, pass along these activities and tips for surviving until September.
Make Movies and Put on Plays
If you have a video camera that sits around until holidays or milestones, put it to good use over the summer making movies with your kids. If you don't have a camcorder, put on a family play. Have your kids work together on a script and act it out at home or around town, if you're up for an outing. Or have them lip synch their favorite songs and make a music video. You'll all get a kick out of watching homemade movies when they're done and years down the road. Here are some related ideas:
Cleaning up isn't the most fun thing you can do during the summer, but it always feels great once it's done. Work with your kids to clean their room, get rid of old clothes and toys, and even rearrange the furniture and paint or redecorate if they've outgrown the old style and set-up. Decorating can be as simple as buying cheap bulletin boards and covering them with cool wrapping paper, photos, or magazine clippings. Try these organizing and decorating tips:
Summer Arts & Crafts
As summer camps have known for years, kids love to get crafty. Stock up on inexpensive arts and craft supplies such as construction paper, glue, glitter, paint, popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners, and plan a craft time every few days. Try some of these ideas:
Make summertime reading fun by having a family book club. Even if your kids aren't close in age, pick a topic or theme that everyone can read about, such as the beach, summer camp, or camping. Have each child discuss what their stories had in common, what they liked or didn't like, and describe the characters. Make your book choices at the library where the books are free and kids can't be distracted by the TV or video games.
Do you have some old outfits kicking around from a bygone era, or clothes you were thinking of donating soon? Why not use them to play dress-up with your kids? They'll have fun imagining they're a high schooler, doctor, tea party hostess, or president. Don't forget the hats, bags, jewelry, and other props and accessories.
On days when it's not too sweltering, get outside with your kids and play! You'll be glad you did once the weather turns cold again. Explore the public playgrounds, pools, recreation fields, and parks in your area. Inexpensive outdoor toys include sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, jump ropes, bubbles, and hula hoops. Here are a few ideas for outdoor fun:
If it's rainy or the sun is too blazing, indoor play is a fine way to pass the time. Your playing cards and board games have probably been sitting on the shelf for a while, so why not break them out and get reacquainted? Donate or recycle the games your kids don't enjoy anymore. Here are some indoor game tips: