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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scared of Summer Boredom? No way!

The last day of school is finally here!  Better late than never, right?  This year I find myself just as excited as the kids are for summer to officially begin.  I'm ready to slow down a little bit, to not worry about having to get everyone up and out the door early every morning.  But unlike other years, I don't find myself with that bittersweet feeling of losing some of the independence having them in school gives me and I'm not forecasting long days of the kids bugging each other and me because they are that dreaded 5-letter word - Bored.

I just don't see that happening this year.  Crazy, right?  And it's not because I plan to fill our days with activities or let them spend all day watching TV.  In fact, they have both agreed (unprompted by me) to start the summer with a 10 day V-tox, starting tomorrow.  No screens or technology of any sort.  I'm not V-toxing myself because, well that feels a little bit like torture (haha) and with the Etsy shop I do have online responsibilities.  However, I do intend to pay a lot more attention to the time I do spend using technology effectively and not "wasting" time as I often do.  But I'm getting side-tracked...
So why am I not afraid of summer boredom this year?  Well, I think part of it is the ages my children have reached.  They both have recently hit growth spurts in addition to becoming much more independent and self-directed, especially my oldest (who I have now started to be able to leave home alone for short periods of time - so nice!).  For the most part my kids get along really well with each other and can entertain themselves together and separately - and that's a big step.  The rest of my confidence resides in the fact that there is just so much to do!
Our Summer Bucket list is all ready to go.  A good chunk of our summer will be spent in Utah visiting family and friends.  We are road tripping it this year so that we can take the dog with us (yikes!  Three days in the car with kids and a dog - but I'm optimistic.  I'll blog about my plans for that soon).  Before we leave we will be busy with swimming lessons, vacation prep (which includes lots and lots of time spend painting drying racks in the garage.  Oh boy), swimming in the pool, playing with friends, BBQs, and if we're lucky the blueberries will be ripe before we leave and we can get in another berry picking session (we already picked strawberries about a month ago).
During the times when we are not out and about, the kids have plenty to do here at home.  I firmly believe that if you give kids the right tools, things go along pretty smoothly.  So of course they have access to many things both inside (art supplies, legos, games, etc) and outside (bikes, roller skates, sports equipment, water, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and even the corn hole boards we finished recently).

And if that isn't enough I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. I still have the Summer Fun Ideas jar I put together a few years ago.  Inside are slips of paper with ideas for everything from creating your own pretend restaurant to sweeping the kitchen floor.  If they are ever at a loss for something to do, they just have to draw out a slip of paper.  The catch is that they MUST do whatever is on that paper for at least 15 minutes before moving on to the next activity.  Most of the ideas are fun, but I threw in a few "chores" so that they don't use the idea jar frivolously.
 The library system always has a great summer reading program and a lot of planned activities and events.  I haven't even had a chance to look at that list yet.  Both of my kids have reading goals for the summer - well, Kaitlyn does and I have decided on one for Tyler.  ;)
 My kids are also excited to earn "brag tags" again this year with their cousins.  They live in a great town that started an "unplugged" program last year that is simply fantastic.  A bunch of local businesses sponsor each activity on the list, and as the children complete the activity they go to that business to collect their tag to add to their lanyard.  The activities range from simple things like taking a photo of the sunset or making cookies and delivering them to the nursing home, to hiking to the top of a mountain or becoming a Jr Ranger at the state park.  Some are associated with the business itself and offer free services or a discount on things like bowling or a carousel ride.  I was surprised with how well thought out the whole thing was and how unique a lot of the ideas were.  (see the website here - even if you don't live in the area there are a lot of great ideas on the list.  There are a handful of areas that have adopted the program this year too - maybe next year yours will join in)  The kids earned around 15 tags in the two weeks we spent in Utah last year and are hoping to top that number this time around.

So I'm interested - what are your plans for the summer?  Any ideas I need to add to my list?

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