Monday, 18 July 2011

22 Ways to Survive the Summer with Kids!

So, in another couple of days, the two words that send shivers down the spines of most parents will be heard…. “School’s out”. That’s right – no more teachers, no more books…. No more kids out of the house and kept busy by someone else for seven hours a day! So, with 44 days of “I’m bored” ahead of me, I’m determined to attack with a plan this year. 44 days? Bring ‘em on…

1.    First and foremost, track down every friend with kids who lives within walking, biking, driving… hangliding distance and put them on notice. The more playdates you set up, the better your chances for success. Share the pain.

2.    Turn your yard into a makeshift artist’s studio. Line your back deck or patio with rolls of easel paper or construction paper – tape it all down, bring out as many paints, markers, & crayons as you can find (all washable, of course) and let your “mini-Monet” go to town!

Little kid car wash
3.    Sunny day? Dirty car? Set up your own car wash and let your little ones run the show. BONUS POINTS: Get them to clean their dinky cars and any other random toys too!

4.    Let your little one plan an entire meal, from start to finish and then spend some time in the kitchen helping them prepare their meal for the family. (NOTE: You may want to set some suggestions around “One food per food group” or use the Today I Ate A Rainbow guideline so you don’t end up with chocolate pudding, marshmallows & goldfish crackers for dinner!)

5.    Let them plan a meal that includes chocolate pudding, marshmallows & goldfish crackers. Hey, its Summer!

6.    Hop on the city bus, GO Train, streetcar, or subway and make an adventure of it. Half the time you don’t actually have to be going anywhere in particular for them to have a good time!

7.    Break out the sidewalk chalk and create a masterpiece on your driveway.

8.    Create a Scavenger Hunt list and see how many items you can find around your neighbourhood.

9.    Grab a camera (or pick up a disposable one) and let your budding photographer take pictures of whatever catches their eye each day. BONUS POINTS: Get them printed and put in a little album for them to remember that they actually had a fun time with you!

10.    Check out a local Conservation Area – take a nature hike and see what you can find. (Don’t forget the water & some snacks to help ward off a crabby cohort!)

11.    Plan a “What do you want to be when you grow up” day – Veterinarian? Visit a pet store or petting zoo. Chef? Pick out fresh ingredients at the grocery store. Firefighter? See if you can pop by the station for a quick tour or visit. Teacher? Break out the chalkboard or some flashcards and let them teach you a few things!

12.    Start befriending that neighbour of yours with the pool… Just sayin’….

13.    Rainy day? Crank the iPod and dance the day away. BONUS POINTS: set up your video camera and create a fun little music video of you & your backups getting your groove on. They’ll get a kick out of watching themselves and *poof* you’ve created a lasting memory.

14.    Whenever you do something or go somewhere fun, have your kids draw a picture or write something about it. Then, at the end of the summer you have a scrapbook of memories for them – and written proof that they actually had fun at some point!

15.    Write a story – every day get your child to write one line of a story, then you write one; add another line each everyday, then read it aloud at the end of the Summer. Feel free to draw pictures to illustrate it for bonus points, then laminate & bind it. More memories... more time killed!

16.    Can’t sweet talk that friend with the pool? Check out your local rec centre for family swim days and times. Bonus points: some cities even have free sponsored swims (i.e. by Tim Horton’s) – so you can use the money you saved to treat yourself to a well-deserved coffee afterwards!

17.    Declare “Treat Tuesday” (only if it’s Tuesday, of course!) – choose a nearby treat shop (i.e. Starbucks, Tim Hortons, local bakery, ice cream parlour, etc.) and head out for a shared treat. BONUS POINTS: make it somewhere you can walk or bike to, instead of taking the car – good exercise and takes up more time in the day!

18.    Find a big hill and walk to the top with your kids. Lie down. Begin rolling. Laugh uncontrollably. Reach bottom. Repeat as necessary. Trust me – sometimes it’s the simple things!

19.    Plan a moonlight dessert picnic. Talk it up throughout the day and get your little ones to help with the planning. Roast marshmallows over candles or set up lanterns or tea lights around a blanket in the backyard and dine on donuts “al fresco” while staring up at the stars.

20.    Take in a matinee and soak up a little A/C on a hot day. BONUS POINTS: some smaller theatres show older movies at a fraction of the cost – more money for popcorn!

21.    Visit a local farmers’ market and check out all of the yummy fruit, veggies and other foods. Make it a game to buy & try one new food each time you go. BONUS POINTS: some of them have amazing homemade fudge or cupcake vendors. Just sayin’…

Kids at the beach
22.    Visit a local beach and fill your day with sand, surf (and snacks!). Build sandcastles, play in the water and soak up the sun. BONUS POINTS: keep a few bottles of water in your car to wash off sandy toes before they get into the car!

Most importantly, make time to sit back and enjoy the fact that you’ve all made it to the halfway point of the Summer... in one piece... more or less!

Only 22 more days to go...!
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