by: Dr. Meg Carroll, 2nd Vice President of LDA of Illinois
Challenge #1: School is out; kids may say, “I don’t have to use my brain.”
- Try to find at least one instance each day in which your child effectively uses problem solving to make decisions; call attention to this and give praise.
- Tell kids that no school means time to devote to other learning that is crowded out during the school year.
- Engage your child with you when you have to solve problems.
- Help your child see that effort pays off and be pleased about that.
Challenge #2: I’m bored; what is there to do?
Solutions: Spend time with your child—
- At the library (once per week or once every two weeks)
- Watching television (try three times per week)
- Having meals (daily if possible)
- Doing errands together
- At fun events, including museums, carnivals, movies, and park district events.
- Help your child plan ahead.
- Provide some structure.
- Coordinate with other parents.
- Spend a day looking through belongings. Make a “home museum” exhibit.
- Make lists for rainy days, hot days, cool days, etc. and use them.
- Consider adding a daily “schoolish” activity.
- Plan a communication system. How will you communicate with your child while you are at work? When will you and your child talk about the day?
- Use arts and crafts.
- Go to suburban professional sports (or AAA clubs, AA clubs, A clubs, rookie clubs, or short-season leagues); these are often less expensive and make it easier for families to find good seats.
- Use newspaper weekend guides for ideas.
- Use parents magazines, including Exceptional Parent for ideas.
Challenge #3: Kids expect a feverish pitch of fun activities; grownups think vacation means a slower pace.
- Discuss expectations before summer begins.
- Make the child responsible for planning and carrying out activity plans as much as possible.
- Do some dreaming rather than doing.
- Include activities strictly revolving around coolness.
- Use video tapes for vicarious traveling.
- Read and watch movies of the same stories.
1. Use a cook book, especially for outdoor cooking or refrigerator items.
2. Create a collection and display area for it.
3. Collect something for money (e.g., aluminum recycling) and use the money for some predetermined activity or item.
5. Use water
• Wash the car.
• Wash the aluminum siding.
• Wash the yard equipment.
• Make designs with water in dish detergent, syrup, or mustard bottles.
• Make outdoor “soup.” (Be creative about what goes in the pot: leaves, stones, grass, flowers, sticks, etc.)
• Make ice cube pops with flavored drinks.
• Make “slushee type” drinks.
6. Use paper
• Fold (Origami).
• Cut objects.
• Glue cut pieces onto other paper.
7. Use books
• Get ideas for things to do.
• Look up information for some activity.
• Look at pictures.
• Write books like the ones you’ve read.
• Talk about books after you have read them.
• Read aloud to each other.
8. Use tapes.
• Learn a foreign language.
• Listen to music.
• Sing with music.
• Change the words to something silly or fun.
• Dance to music.
• Learn sign language (online free resource: http://kidcourses.com/sign-language-asl/).
• Watch films in a series or genre: mystery, Tarzan, Thin Man, superheroes, animal movies, etc.
9. Get lots of physical activity; get extra sleep—you’ll sleep better and so will your child after a good amount of physical activity.
10. Veg out!!! (at least once in a while)