These beautiful days suggest that summer vacation is just around the corner. Many of us may have plans and activities for our families, but it may all comes at a cost. Data from 2014 indicates that parents spent about $985 per child on summer expenses such as camps, school activities, or trips. Making plans now, can alleviate many problems down the road. What are your goals for the summer? What kind of summer do you want your children to have?
When school is out, the lack of routine tends to let children be bored. Boredom can be a good thing. So much of children’s lives are structured, they need some down time to play and come to explore what things they enjoy as hobbies to pursue. You can make suggestions of books to read or games to play, but limit the electronics and let children learn how to be positively creative. Boredom for older youth may not be so beneficial, explore with them what summer employment or volunteer opportunities might be available to advance their hobbies or interests and help build their financial responsibility.
Chores are a great way to keep kids involved and teach responsibility at the same time. Some chores may be required as part of the family unit and others may be for pay that could be above and beyond their regular responsibility. This is a great way to teach money management at an early age while getting tasks done around the home as well. Remember to allow for age appropriate expectations and don’t re-do what they’ve done, if you want lifelong success.
Summer Day Camps are available through many community park and recreation programs, check and see what’s available in your area, and check into scholarships that might be available. Did you know there are more than a dozen parks right here in Wooster? (And many more throughout the county). The local library is another great resource for the summer reading program and building skills for life in reading and research.
Why not plant a garden? Even if I only do a container garden I can grow produce to make a pizza or a salad on my back porch. When children grow and pick the foods, they are more likely to try new and different foods.
Save your re-cycle items for a craft center. Old toilet paper rolls, nature items along with crayons and tape can make many creative items for kids of all ages.
Put together an activity bucket where you have a list of things to do in a jar or basket and the kids can choose one item a day to enjoy after chores are done. Things like playing in the sprinkler or building a fort in the living room, building a bike ramp or making a game are just a few ideas to get you started.
Play some board games, enjoy the time together. Learning concepts like taking turns, following the rules and being a respectful looser are important to learn at all ages. Use the kitchen as a science lab to measure, mix and enjoy new recipes. Dig out some family recipes and tell stories of your memories as a child.
There are many things to think about for summer activities and opportunities, why not take some time today and have the family conversation for what your summer will look like?