A Productive, or Not so Productive, Summer

“It’s not summer if your tongue isn’t purple.”
– Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

The summer is winding down, you and the kids have eaten more than your share of purple popsicles, everyone is bored, and you may feel like your children’s brains are turning to mush. But there are still a few weeks to go before – dare I say the “s” word – school begins. So with several dog days of August left to fill, perhaps the suggestions below will help keep the kids occupied. Some might even fire up a few brain synapses:

  • Projects: help the kids rearrange their bedroom furniture (which can end up being a cleaning project also so that’s a win-win); gather up old photos and organize them into an album; research/plan ways to help the planet (believe it or not my kids really enjoyed our “cleaning up the neighborhood” events – we would take plastic bags leftover from shopping and walk around the neighborhood picking up trash – amazing what kids might do when you frame it as “fun”); put your bathing suits on and wash the car.
  • Freebies: If you find your funds running low, go to your local library to rent dvds for free or look for farmers’ markets where you can taste test. Also, the Philadelphia Art Museum is free on Sundays – go to phillyvisitor.com or patch.com for more suggestions.
  • Miscellaneous: go hiking (exercise is good for the brain) and gather wildflowers to take home, identify and display; read aloud to each other (with free library books, of course); bake, emphasizing the math involved in measuring, and then give some of the goodies to someone who might enjoy them – frame it to the kids as a random act of kindness.

and, then there’s always

  •  Nothing.

What do I mean by nothing? Some of the best days I had with my children were when we just lazed around the house, talking, maybe listening to music and dancing, or just relaxing. Pencil in a Tranquil Tuesday or a Slow Sunday so that the kids know it’s a day to “re-boot” and for parents to take time off from worrying that the children’s minds may be turning into summer mush.

by Claire Gawonowicz, Certified Parenting Educator

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