Summer Daze: Keep 'Em Busy!

When the last school bell rings, the cries of "I'm bored!" and "There's nothing to do!" seem to start almost immediately. And while summer should be a time for the whole family to relax and slow down, that process can be frustrating when you want your kids to enjoy themselves but not vegetate in front of the TV all summer. Summer is a needed break from the academic rigors of school, but it's important to keep their minds - and bodies - engaged. For working parents, day camps offer the dual benefit of child care and a way to keep little minds and bodies active. With so many out there, you can tailor the camp to fit your child's interests. Fitness-minded camps teach cheerleading, football, soccer, baseball, swimming and many other skills. For musically inclined kids, why not choose a camp where they can learn a new instrument? Kids interested in science would love camps that focus on experiments and different fields. Summer is a perfect time for high-school age kids to make some extra money by babysitting, doing lawn work or entering the work force part-time.

And if money's tight, then most cities have a YMCA program that keeps kids occupied for a nominal price. If the kids are stuck at home - and you're stuck with them! - think about projects that they can complete to fill their days at home. Scrapbooking, decorating and other projects keep them busy and out of your hair. Allow them a small budget to redecorate their rooms, for example. Crafts are a perfect way to keep them busy - and they can be a cost-effective and timesaving way to make Christmas gifts to stow away until the holidays! Finding kids' interests and keeping them busy - but allowing them down time - will ensure that they return to school rested, relaxed, and perhaps smarter and more fit!