“There’s NOTHING to do! I’m TOTALLY BORED, Mom! How come I can’t play video games all day?” What do you mean my brain will shrivel up and die a slooow death?!!!! Go out and get some exercise and sunlight?! Did you forget – I’m allergic???? [text to friend: “Srsly my mom is crzy!!! No vids 2day! WHTEVA!!! ”]
Summer is soon to be upon us and…seriously…what ARE we going to do???? How many times have we uttered the following words?
“Well, let’s just do a little family activity/craft/game. Doesn’t that sound fun? Now, all I need to do is grab a little of this and some of that………” Fifteen minutes later someone, including Mom, is either frustrated, crying, fighting, or has completely lost interest in the proposed “activity.”
Does this sound all too familiar, especially in the summertime? I always want to have great, quick activities at my fingertips, but that takes time and organization – two things I seem to run short of with a house full of kids! Hopefully with (collaborating kids and/or a few friends), a little effort, creativity, and some planning we can end up with a great variety of “ACTIVITY& IDEA KITS.”
Parents need all the help they can get during those off-school times: helping kids to take care of keeping themselves and their family by being proactively engaged in great fun, a good cause, a family activity, learning something new or maybe developing skills in a sport, academic strength , artistic, music or other talents. Over the next few weeks, I’ll discuss some of the ways to encourage our kids to do just that with a little assistance and collaborative preparation from parents!
Often, one of the biggest challenges facing the parent and child is the “out-of-shape-creatively-thinking” muscle in a kid’s (and sometimes the parents’) brain! J When they sound the “alarm” of “boredom” – WE generally get thinking about what can be done and how to go about doing it! Unfortunately, this just teaches a child that “someone else is responsible for my discomfort AND responsible for my happiness!” I don’t know about you, but I have finally figured out that NO ONE BUT ME can decide if I am going to choose to do something about the situation I find myself in!
What ARE we to DO…..you ask?
– Here’s one idea that my families have loved:
ACTIVITY, IDEA & SERVICE CHALLENGE KITS:
1. Involve the kids in planning out your summer! What has been successful for them in the past? What activities have they enjoyed and what service challenges are you interested in them trying or participating in? Where are the activities located? Gather all necessary information and place it in a conveniently located area – either on your computer, or have flyers/registration packets ready to review and fill out. Providing pictures of, and explanations for, plenty of age-appropriate activities, ideas, and crafts that your kids might be interested in, want to do or have participated in; along with lots of choices for those that can be accomplished by individuals are two important keys for success.
2. Once you have your kids or friends gathered, Select 1 Activity Per Participating Child (i.e., if you are receiving kits for 3 children, then you select 3 activities.) These could be baking kits, science projects, crafts, story telling activities, indoor or outdoor games, going to the library, museum of science; helping out at a homeless shelter or elderly home; picking up garbage at a park, picking a new puzzle and timing yourself on how quickly you can solve it – anything!!!! Your activities can be simple or elaborate…it’s up to you. I recommend you divide children into the following age groups: 0-4 years, 4-6yrs., 5- 8 yrs., 9 -12yrs, and 13+ for packaging the activities Make sure you make more for those kids that you are aware of that struggle with self-motivation.
3. If you are coordinating with friends – email each other before you purchase anything for your kit – to ensure that someone else is not already planning to prepare that activity kit for the group.
4. Stock your Basic Supply Kit; make sure it includes the following items: glue, paint, paintbrushes, markers, crayons, permanent marker, and scissors and any scrapbooking items you prefer.
5. Plan and purchase. Each activity kit should contain an instruction sheet with specific directions and/or a photo. Please remember, the goal is have ALL materials needed to complete the specific activity, idea or service challenge included in the kit; not to spend time running around the house trying to gather materials. If common household items are needed, like a kitchen bowl or hammer, that everyone generally has “at their fingertips,” please list and highlight those items on the front of the instruction sheet. Please keep them to a minimum.
6. Divide and Package. Now, here comes the fun! Choose a day (either a weekend just before school gets out or a day just after they are released) to have your divide, package and label party with friends and/or kids. Plan to have all items purchased and organized before beginning to assemble the kits. Freezer Gallon-sized Ziploc bags work great and are easy to store. Please label each kit using the family’s last name, ages for which it is most appropriate and the name of the activity/idea/service challenge. Your friends might want to bring a laundry basket or box to carry their finished kits home.
Collaborating with your children is a big component to the success of these activity kits. When they participate – they get excited about what is available and they want to participate in the activities and ideas contained in the kits. You can get more ideas from these links:
I’ll have more to share with you next week!