For children, summer time signals fun, fun, fun! For most stay at home moms, summer period is a source of a big dilemma. What to do with the children? As tempting as it might be to just let the children play outside with the rest of the children in the neighbourhood or to let them stay up late in front of the tv, still, we parents ask ourselves, what can we do? how can we make their summer vacation memorable?
For those who are traveling and going places during this well deserved break then the answer to those questions is simple. But what about for the rest of us who opted not to have a grand vacation and instead plan on simple ones? The past few weeks it was so tempting for me to make a list of things I wanted to do with the children. However, I realized that with a 4 and a 6 year old, both of them are mature enough to help me make their summer bucket list. Naturally, I wouldn’t let their imagination run wild and our pockets drained so I decided to help them with their choices. How did I manage to make a list with my two explorers?
Slowly filling the summer bucket list…
Children have pretty good memory. But to help them cherish those moments, it is best to stimulate their senses. They (and adults too) learn best and retain information when they engage their senses. This is why I opted to treat summer as a sensory experience, one where they can be given opportunities to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Here are some of the questions and examples that I asked and gave them while snuggled in bed.
What something new would you like to see? (offer certain places)
What would you like to taste? i.e. what would you like for us to cook together or to learn to cook? new places you would like to eat?
What do you like to hear? what activity that has songs, shows or theater acts would you like to hear and see?
What would you like to experience? New activity that you would like to try? Something that you can touch or smell? or both?
From their answers, I then categorized their activities. It helped that they are both used to art activities and are looking forward to science experiments that most of their answers are doing new art and science projects at home. The Science Box from Kimbo filled me in with a lot of exciting projects that we can try. Science kids also have exciting ideas to try. Providing art activities at home has been an ongoing experience for our children even when they were as young as 2 years old. Sites that I frequent in teaching art to young children are:
It also helps that to have the Artful Parent book by Jean Van’t Hul.
Cooking was somehow tricky because they both said they would like to learn how to cook their favourite food. That is easily done but to spice things up, I’ll be doing the Around the World in 12 Dishes from Tricia of Adventures in Mommy Dom. She even have enrichment activities included in her site which will come in handy as well. Using Mixminder’s Passport to the world will be perfect for this exciting adventure.
Now that the list is filling in with activities like go to a petting zoo, go bowling (which we just did so that is checked), go camping ( hubby is still not all for it but an overnight camping to Kemphaan will give the kids the camping experience they are craving for), go swimming so they can show us what they have been learning in their swim lessons, do experiments, learn new art techniques, and bake cookies and cake. The list goes on (about 35 to be exact!) and to make the schedule manageable with all the explorations they want to pursue, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. Here are just a few ideas on how to schedule the activities and to check that summer bucket list:
Summer boredom jar (love the reference to Phineas and Ferb!)
Loads of ideas but I prefer the simple version of Summer Activities by Coupons are Great because it incorporates also reading on its Time to Read Tuesdays and a good dose of values education for its Thoughtful Thursdays. Just to fill those in with their suggestions (and of course mine and hubby’s suggestions too, summer is after all a family affair).
My head is reeling now with all the possibilities and I am so looking forward to the 6 weeks of summer. Let the summer break begin and this time I can confidently say, “Yes, Katie and Milos, Mama knows what we are going to do today! “