Okay, the last day of school has come (and gone) so now what are my kids supposed to do? After Memorial Day is over, the picnic and trip to the beach has come and gone, what now? These kids are complaining that they’re bored! It’s raining (I can’t believe this… it didn’t rain for the past two weeks!) and they can’t go outside and play (all day long and stay out of my hair). HELP!!! They’ll be home for 8 more weeks!

Maybe you’re not the parent that I just described, and you’ve been waiting for the kids to get out of school so you can relax and enjoy spending family time together on that special occasion! You’ve made all the necessary arrangements and will be leaving in a week (or two). Then out of nowhere, the car breaks down and the monies you have set aside for the trip has to go towards the repair bill. How can you explain to the kids that the vacation is off? What are they going to do now for the summer?

I’d like to share with you some “freebies” that will keep your children not only “entertained” but actually expanding their minds so that when August rolls around (and it comes quicker each year), they’ll be in a great mindset for the next school year!

  1. Check out your local library for the summer reading program. Most only require a library card (free until you lose it and have to replace), and actually offer prizes for your child successfully completing their reading goals.

  2. Go to the park! You can go to your local park. Plan a picnic! No not fried chicken, barbeque ribs, and potato salad (which has to be packed down in ice or you’ll get food poisoning). KISS-Keep It Simple Sweetie! PB&Js with chips and Capri Suns. The kids will have a ball, and you can relax and read your favorite book.

  3. Take a ride – even if it’s just around town! Make a game and ask the kids to read each sign they see… whoever reads the most signs gets a prize! (Which could simply be a free pass to not do chores for a day.)

  4. Okay!!! I know you have the kid that would much rather be inside in the air conditioning playing his/her favorite video game than outside “sweating.” Get on their tablet (or IPhone) and download the free math or reading games. If their older and “refuse” to “play those kiddies’ games,” apply your rights as a parent (disciplinarian) and REQUIRE that he/she spends 30 minutes on the educational app you have downloaded in order to have 30 minutes of video game time. Please don’t forget to monitor, monitor, monitor! (And don’t cave in!) Set the timer, and stick to your rule.

Just remember, regardless of what activities you decide to plan for your kids to do this summer, the most important thing is to be consistent. Surprisingly, kids need (and love) structured environments. So don’t let those “little brains” become idle all summer long!

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