Summer is a great time for children. School is out for most of them and it's time to play. Running, climbing, building sand castles, swimming...
Sweating, sunburns, complaining.
It isn't necessarily all that easy to keep the kids busy all summer long, especially on particularly hot days, the days when the kids come into the house five minutes after you send them out, complaining "it's too hot outside!" What can you do to keep them busy, short of turning the AC on full blast, driving up your electrical bill and letting them watch television or play video games all day? Plenty!
First of all, have some cheap, cool treats on hand. Otter Pops or homemade popsicles don't cost much, and you just have to enforce the rule that they are eaten outside to limit the mess. These may only keep the kids out for a short time or they might find something fun to do outside anyhow.
Try getting the kids outside to play in the earlier and later parts of the day, when it's cooler outside. Then you won't feel so bad if they're watching television in the hottest part of the day. Try to keep television watching/video game playing under two hours a day total.
Have fun things ready for them to do indoors. Board games work very well, depending on the ages of your kids. My daughter loves doing "projects," that is, arts and crafts. She has a box of supplies she can use, or we look at our copy of Little Kid Crafts for All Seasons to get ideas.
Many parents choose to enroll their kids in activities for the summer. This is good if not taken to extremes - kids need time to just be kids. My daughter is taking swimming lessons for two different sessions this summer, as well as a one day a week drama class. The drama class suits her style (it starts next week), so I expect she will enjoy it, yet it won't take much out of her summer fun. The swimming lessons are a necessity since she has regular access to a pool at her grandparents' house.
Of course, just because the kids are complaining that it's too hot outside doesn't mean you have to give in and let them play inside. If you have a yard, get those kids into swimsuits and sunscreen (if they aren't wearing it already) and turn on those sprinklers. You know you loved running through the sprinkler as a kid. You don't even need to buy the ones designed for kids to play with, jut make sure yours is fairly kid friendly - low to the ground, no sharp edges and so forth.
Ride bicycles, go hiking, get some of their friends to come over to play one sort of tag or another, all the stuff you enjoyed as a kid. In many cases it isn't that it's too hot to play outside, it's that your kids are bored.
Stephanie Foster is getting used to chasing the kids into the back yard this summer. For more parenting tips for stay at home moms, visit http://www.homewiththekids.com/family/.
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