I know, I know; I always get that song stuck in my head, too (cue Alice Cooper now). And sometimes, at the beginning of summer, it can feel like there’s no end in sight. But trust me, not Alice Cooper, when I say school is not out forever. And I’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you and your child have a fun and constructive summer.
Camp doesn’t have to be a weeklong overnight stay in the woods somewhere. There are plenty of camps available throughout the country now for almost every imaginable activity and age group. Ask around, search the Internet and read through local magazines and newspapers to find the perfect summer camp for your child. There are day camps for sports, acting, painting and weekend camps for music and more. I highly suggest signing your child up for some sort of summer camp. It will get them out of the house, give them an outlet for excess energy and allow them some extra social time, too! It’s a win-win.
In the majority of places throughout the country, summer weather is beautiful. Take advantage of the sunshine and get your kids outside as often as possible. Head out for daily walks or bike rides. Go to the park and play on the swings and slides, throw or kick a ball around in a field, etc. Some of my favorite memories include spending the day at the beach with my children. Just make sure you sunscreen up, bring hats, sunglasses, snacks and lots of water!
Play dates are excellent summertime activities. They allow your child to reconnect with friends from school who they may not otherwise get to see. And if you find another compatible family, you can sometimes team up for overnight play dates where one family will host an overnight one-week and during the next week you will swap – can you say extra date nights? Daytime play dates are very fun for kids, too. They are short and fun and allow children extra time to play and to socialize as well.
No need to get extravagant here – unless you want to. A simple day outing, local “staycation” or overnight event will do! My kids love Disneyland, which turns into a mini-vacation even though we live in Los Angeles. Depending on the age of your children road trips can be very fun as can camping. The main goal of a family vacation is just to spend time all together enjoying and experiencing something as a family unit. They’re a great opportunity in which to grow and bond, and when better to share in such an adventure as summer break?
When in doubt, be creative. There are always going to be days during the summer when your child has “nothing to do,” and you, as the inventive daddy will need to come up with something for them to do. If you have a yard, I suggest sprinkler fun, kiddie pools and slip n’ slides. If your kids are older they might enjoy, and benefit from, the experience of hosting a lemonade stand. My kids also enjoy getting crafty whether that be in the form of painting something for Mom, making a fort in the living room or helping me bake brownies.
Get your children accustomed to volunteer work at a young age. There are ample places to volunteer in every community – I’m sure of it. Depending on how old your child is their tasks will vary, but they can volunteer at a soup kitchen, an old folks home, an animal shelter. They can offer their services as a tutor, reading to younger children, raising money for a greater cause or even donating their old or used items to underprivileged children. Volunteer work can be very powerful, and I suggest it be something every child participates in – in one way or another.
Summer break can be a very special, fun and enjoyable time for families. Take advantage of the time you get together and make the most of your break!
Daddy Nickell, father of 7, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.