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It’s that time of year again.  School is just about over and moms everywhere are wondering how on earth they will keep the kids busy all summer.  I know.  I’ve been there.  The years when my children were growing up were wonderful – remembering all the story time snuggles and crayon cards still make me misty-eyed.  Those long summer afternoons filled with choruses of “I’m so BORED”… not so much.  And, because I remember wracking my brain (pre-pinterest, mind you!) for ideas to fill up some of those “boring” hours, I have decided to dedicate a few posts to the topic.  

As a therapist, I see lots of frazzled parents and stressed out kiddies.  I am here to help you and your kids stay busy, relaxed, and growing this summer. As parents we want our children to be happy and content.  We also want them to grow into responsible, well-adjusted adults who understand that life isn’t always about fun.  We want to provide an environment rich with opportunities for  our kids to learn and practice valuable life skills.  And, we would really like to keep our OWN sanity as well.  

  Each week I will offer a few ideas – some “quick break” activities to reset  cranky kids, an afternoon activity perfect for filling a hole in your schedule, and some quiet time projects to keep everyone calm and relaxed.  So, without further ado, here are this week’s picks: 

  • This week’s Quick Break: The Countdown Game Use when you need to quickly reset cranky, bored, or restless children.

 Give your children physical challenges to do in descending order.  For example say: “Do five jumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot three times, walk all the way around the room two times, give your sister one high-five.”  Adjust the challenges to fit the age and ability of the children.

Developmental Bonus: This is a terrific activity for teaching children to follow multi-step directions.  See how many steps they can remember.

  • This week’s Afternoon ActivityMake an indoor tent

Fill the tent with pillows  and let the imagination play begin.  Children love “secret” places all their own.  You’ll be surprised by all the creative scenarios a simple tent can stimulate.  You can also use it as the location for a movie marathon, safari picnic, or board-game tournament.  Everything is more fun in a tent! 

Developmental Bonus:  You can get a developmental two-for-one with this activity.  First, allow the children to help plan and construct the tent.  This aids in the development of critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and team-work – all important in the grown-up world.  Second, help your kids explore the world of their own imaginations.  Help them turn the tent into a magical kingdom, a circus bigtop, a jungle camp, a secret fort…

This week’s Quiet Time: Get them thinking

Ask a question and start a discussion about their choice. This activity is well suited to quiet conversations at home or as a time-filler while in the car, in the doctor’s waiting room, or standing in line at the grocery store.

Developmental Bonus:  These discussions serve an important function in VALUES clarification.  Children get the chance to think about what matters to them, what they would choose in a variety of situations, and why.  They also provide an opportunity for parents to talk about their own values in a non-lecturing way children are more likely to hear.

That’s it for this week.  Be sure to check back next week for more ideas.  If you want to be sure you never miss a thing, sign up for email notification below or  follow us on Facebook.  And, of course, if this was helpful to you share it with your friends!

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