So, it’s almost summer and I know I DO NOT want to watch my children’s faces in their electronic devices all summer long. What are some things we can do without our kindles, phones, & laptops? Even better…what can we do at a low cost or even free? Take a look at your summer beforehand. What is on the calendar? Weddings? Vacations? Graduations? Try to incorporate these events into some summer fun. Kids that are having fun while learning may forget you’re trying to teach them a new skill or enhance and build on the ones they learned throughout the year.
We homeschool, and everyday is a day to learn. But in the summer we do go a bit lighter. It could be a great season to learn things not typically covered during the year curriculum.
1) Try a new recipe. Maybe a new cuisine from another part of the world. Venture to the world markets in your area and see what other cultures have for dinner and try to recreate it.
2) Look at the community calendar and see if they are offering a weekly family event. Some parks do movies in the parks, or community meal.
3) Make a scavenger hunt. You can create a list of silly things like; find a rock that looks like daddys big toe, a receipt from previous month, find a penny from the 70’s, find objects that start with the letters of the alphabet around the house.
4) Paint rocks! This was one of my favorite pastimes from my youth, and I still love it. Paint ladybugs, butterflies or even minions on rocks and then you can put them in your garden.
5) You can’t go wrong with helping out. Volunteer at a local shelter, or nursing home or anyplace that needs help. This can also give your older children a sense of purpose and self worth while preparing them for the workforce.
6) Join a summer reading program through your local library.
7) There is a growing trend called bible journaling. People use markers, colored pencils, stickers. Devote 20 minutes a day (to begin) a bible reading plan. Somehow coloring and making pages beautiful appeals to older girls, so why not incorporate the most precious text of all time?
8) Board games! Remember those? Checkers, Jenga, Life, Sorry, Life. Clue are some of our families favorites. Devote one night a week to game night and put the phones away. Memories are made with these precious times. Not many family memories will start out with, “remember that time I was playing Minecraft?”
9) Set up a tent in your backyard and camp out! Watch the stars, make s’mores and tell stories
10) Rearrange your bedroom. You might want to pull out all the furniture and start over! This could turn into an all day thing, so be prepared
11) Grow an herb garden! Make sure you write down your herbs progress daily. It’s exciting for little ones to see the cycle of life begin.
12) Get a song, some fancy moves…and create your own dance routine! Film it and and share it! (okay, so technically you’re using an electronic device, but it’s a group effort, so it’s all good)
13) Make a birdhouse using popsicle sticks
14) Teach your child how to sew! Start with threading needles, sewing buttons on a shirt, making mini pillows, small blankets etc.
15) Have your child write a letter to a grandparent, or other family relative. This is a lost art and “snail mail” means so much to grandmas and poppas
16) Find a wild edible plant or two that is local to your area and go on a nature walk in your backyard or a local park to find them.
17) Host a cooking class. Either for you and the kids-or a large group! It can be as simple as how to grill the perfect burger or how to build the best sundae
18) Make a science journal for your family. If each child wants one-even better! Take one day to decorate the cover-discuss what you’ll be doing with your journal, sharpen your colored pencils and your imagination to incorporate into these beauties! We love to pick a week where we read poems about nature and then draw a picture of something that we saw in our imagination while reading or just copy a page from your book! Last year our nature journals kept us accountable to get plenty of outdoor time each day, even on the extremely hot ones.
19) You know those old socks that don’t have a match? Or perhaps just an old pair with holes? Put those to use by creating a puppet theatre with them! Grab a cardboard box, your favorite Bible story or book and put it into action with your very own creative theatre!
20) Never underestimate your local farmers market -some even host their events midweek and also on the weekends. Bring your crew and mingle, touch, and even taste the produce and goods from your local farmers.
Sprout potatoes! With an organic potato-stick 2-3 toothpicks in the sides midway down the potato and submerge its lower half into water until its eyes begin to form and bloom. Track it’s daily progress in your family science journal
If you’re in the city and need to stick close to home but still have access to cement surface-chalk can go a long way. As well as water painting, riding bikes, scooters etc. or just bouncing a basketball
That one thing: that thing that they always ask you to do but you just normally say, “not today hunnie”. Why not do that one thing once a week? My one thing this summer will be a water fight. Once a week, I will grab the buckets, the hose, the squirt bottles-whatever we have laying around and have the water fight I’ve been putting off.
Grab the baby books, the old photo albums, even you and your husbands high school year book and lay them out on the table somewhere. Spend the day telling stories of years passed. Your birth/adoption story, your wedding day-anything! Bring out a fun drink and sip through straws as you remember when.
Give the family vehicle a car wash in an old fashion scrub down! Turn on the kids favorite music, give each kiddo a sponge, grab the soap and hose and get to work-but make it fun! This is the time that you don’t have to worry about the wax, the paint, the detailing-while all of that can have its perks, just let the kids have a great time.
Plan a one on one date with each child. Only have one? Then make it memorable! Write them note asking them to join you on the back deck for star gazing or even out and about if the funds allow. Whatever you do with this time, make them feel special. Grab a fancy dress or suite if Dad is doing this adventure. Pick them flowers beforehand. Do whatever it is that you feel that would make your special kid feel that much more loved.
Find a park with ducks and feed them together. Forget your phone in the car, or turn it on vibrate and only check it for absolute emergencies. Ducks love corn, frozen peas, and oats. See which family member can make the best duck impersonation.
Mani/pedi time with your girl/girls. Grab the glitter (yes I know it may not come off for 2 months) and have yourself a spa time. Who is brave enough to allow your kiddo to paint yours?
Do you have a house of boys? Try throwing around the football with them. Grabbing a mitt and throwing the baseball back and forth. Are they into wrestling/self defense? Ask them to teach you a few things! This would absolutely apply for teenage boys.
Begin reading from the Bible together if you’re not already. Proverbs is a great place to begin, or any book for that matter. Take turns reading out loud to one another, or just have them listen while coloring if they’re still young.
Remember that no matter what you do without your device this summer, the main point is engaging with those you love most. They will remember these memories over anything else in their lives