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SUMMER THRIVING: No More Bored Kids Staring at Screens, Blog & Podcast #93

Click Picture to listen to Episode 93: More IDEAS for SUMMER GROWTH for your Kids. NO MORE BORED KIDS STARING AT SCREENS, with Emma & Val.

Those 18 or less summers that your child has at home can be a special time of growth in several key areas while still being fun and relaxing.  It just takes some intentionality to make it happen! 

Go ahead and give some of these ideas a try, you might just happen to create some lifelong memories on your quest for your child’s summer success. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to # 93.

Emma with some of her tomato & pepper plants

Nature Exploration – There are lots of studies on the important ways our kids thrive both physically and emotionally when they spend time in nature. Have your child make some nature collections, plant seeds in a garden or in some containers, take nature photos and follow up with research on these different new discoveries.  If you can, provide a magnifying glass, some jars, a catching net, flashlight, microscope, binoculars, and a sketch pad.  Check out books from the library on birds, gardening, bugs, the water cycle, and earth science. Or, do like I did and find an inexpensive set of used encyclopedias and have them to - gasp- the unthinkable - look things up in an encyclopedia! Last month, I had Emma pick one topic each day in the category of math or science to look up and tell me about it before she was free to get on any screens for the day.

Emma reading on the front porch with Copper

Reading Adventure

If we can help your children develop a love for reading, that will help them both in their academic futures and in all the rest of life as well. Likewise, being a poor reader can hinder them throughout life as well. Do all you can to foster a love of reading.

I have my kids pick out their reading choices for the summer at the beginning of summer.  I approve the books, but they get to choose them. 

I do also give them some categories that they for sure need to include in the summer selections.  Generally, I have them pick

* two books about any Christian missionaries in other countries,

* two books about the time period of whatever history they’ll be doing in the coming  school year (such as reading the Little House on the Prairie series if they’re going to be studying early American history, or they might choose The Hiding Place if they’re going to be learning about WWII next school year)

* two books from a topic of their choice (often these books are discovery based, like how to play the guitar or a book on volcanoes),

*one self-improvement book. 

Now I’ll be honest with you, I don’t give allowance at our house (not that I’m against it, I just don’t), but I do give money for reading books.  And this money provides them with some good summer spending money. 

Enrichment Outings

Summer is the best time for special events and family fun at new locations. How about we schedule events that include enriching our family members’ character while we’re at it. 

Sure, go to the museum and to the lake, but also, let your kids experience the wonderful emotion of caring beyond themselves.  

Here are some Enrichment Outings that we do with a focus on caring beyond yourself:

*Go to a Nursing Home once a month to play games with residents in the memory care department (We have kept this up during Covid. It took some planning, but we did it! We take a karaoke machine with a wireless mic. We're outside some windows and the residents are inside with the amplifier. We sing songs, we play wheel of fortune with them by holding up pages with letters on them and they guess on a white board inside, and then we finish up with some exercises they can do in a chair.

*Volunteer in the church nursery or kids’ department or any other way at church – for our family church is a place we SERVE

*Help at a mission or soup kitchen

*Drop off clothes at a sponsored children’s home in your community or help a struggling family out by providing a meal or playing with the kids or cleaning their house

*Adopt a “grandparent” in your neighborhood who could use some help on their yard or just to visit together or play a game with them.

One summer, my third daughter, Abby, and I had probably the greatest mother/daughter summer of all time.  We selected one other mother/daughter pair. The other mom and I took turns planning a "object lesson" date about being God's Girl.   It was an amazing, life changing experience for all four of us!