Dear Sue Ellen,
I’m looking for some fun things to do with my kids this summer but all they want to do is stay inside and watch TV or play video games. They are 8, 10 & 12 years old. We have a limited budget. Any suggestions?
Stay at home Mom
When I was a kid, I remember my grandparents telling me lots of stories about things they did when they were young, and I was always transported to another place and time as they described their adventures. Now that I am a grandparent myself, I have collected quite a repertoire of my own stories. I hope you don’t mind….I am about to share one. When I was 12 years old, my parents let me visit a friend. She lived in another town, and had lots of brothers. I was allowed to stay there a week. This was my first big-girl trip without family.
The two things that stand out about that summer trip are my new bell-bottom paisley pants that I wore for the first time and Velveeta cheese sandwiches. Every morning, my friend Sharon and I would get up, pack up some cheese sandwiches and head for the lake. We swam and played with other kids, then had a picnic and ate those sandwiches, slightly warmed by the sun. I was in heaven, and those were the best sandwiches I have ever eaten in my whole life.
My point in telling you this story is kids remember unexpected little things about life. Here are some of my favorite things about summer as a kid: swimming, campfires, catching lightening bugs with a badminton racket and putting them in a fruit jar, the sound of cicadas and June bugs, flowers, cool breezes, big puffy clouds that form an array of creatures and watching storms roll in. Truth is….I still love those things and have been able to share them with my grandchildren.
What are some of your favorite things about summer? Have you shared them with your children? It doesn’t have to be a trip to Disneyland to be special. You could sit down with your children and have them help you make a summer calendar of things to do, and then stick to it.
It will mean more to the kids if they have involvement in the planning. Here are some suggestions:
1. Go to the Waco Zoo and eat lunch at McDonalds on the way back
2. Camp out in the back yard and make some s’mores
3. Invite other kids over for a sleep over
4. For your 8 year old, pick up a couple of large appliance boxes and have him build a fort in your family room or garage. The bigger kids can help him.
5. Go swimming
6. Play croquet in the back yard
7. Collect interesting bugs
8. Have some rainy day activities planned and on stand-by
My final suggestion is…don’t let the whining and eye-rolling from your kids discourage you from finding a way to make this their best summer ever….and yours too!
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