WFMW: Avoiding Summer Boredom

It's Works for Me Wednesday!  This week's theme is "Mom, I'm Bored."  (Big apologies to my mom for saying this when I was a kid!)  These are some ideas I have for keeping boredom away this summer.  Granted, they may be obvious and/or may not work for every family, but I hope they get your creative juices flowing.  (Thanks to my dear friend, Kathy, who had me thinking about this ahead of time!  I've been jotting ideas down as they've come to me.)  If you have other ideas, please let me know in the comments section, or just comment to let me know you stopped by!  You can also post about this on your blog and post your link at Rocks in My Dryer.  Here we go...

  • Regal Cinemas Free Family Film Festival - You can search to see if this is happening in your area.  Enjoy nine weeks FREE of kid-friendly movies!  AMC is also hosting Wednesday dollar movies for kids.
  • Toddler's Busy Book or Preschooler's Busy Book - My grandma found one of these for me at a yard sale, and it's full of quick, easy, cheap things to keep your kiddos happily occupied, usually using items you already have in your home.  Lots of them are things that we adults did when we were kids but have forgotten about.  Your local library may have it.  One of these books could keep you busy all summer, especially if you have rainy days in your area!
  • Spend time drawing pictures and writing letters to your Compassion child on a regular basis.
  • Find a hobby that your child(ren) love to watch you do.  I have fond memories of watching my mom sewing when I was little.  Now my son loves to watch me sew, or at least play near me while I'm doing it.  We both enjoy it.
  • Barnes and Noble - They often have a train table.  Mom can relax with a Starbucks drink while the kiddos look at kids' books or drive trains.  It's also a fun time to read new books to your kids.  (Any of these ideas that are at stores will probably only work if your kids don't have the "gimmes."  But if it's relaxing for you, it's nice to enjoy someone else's air conditioning and a change of scenery!)
  • Your local educational/teacher supply store - Ours has both a very well-equipped Thomas train table and a Calico Critters table that my son enjoys.  There are a lot of toys that are OK to touch and look at that can keep us occupied for a good hour or two.  You can also get great ideas for how to work with your kids on skills over the summer.  We need to work on writing and drawing.
  • Grow a garden - whether it's a true plot outside or a cup in your kitchen window, kids can get a lot of satisfaction out of this.  Even planting a bean can be great.
  • Check out your local library.  We enjoy going to ours not only for the books, but to play with their selection of kids' puzzles.  My son plays with the puzzles while I check out books, music, and videos for him.  Many libraries have a weekly storytime with a craft that may be fun for older kids.
  • A couple of moms here are teaching a weekly summer class for kids at the library that will involve gymnastics, music, and stations for 2-4 year olds.  It's going to be at the library, so it will be cheap-just $3/session.  Your library may have a list of what's going on in their "community room" or similar setting.
  • MOPS - Your local Mothers of Preschoolers group is probably taking a break for the summer, but they still may be hosting events for kids and/or families.  If you're not already a part of MOPS, you can contact the group(s) near you to find out more.
  • Choose an author and read lots of his/her books.  Your librarian can help with this.  Very young children might enjoy Margaret Wise Brown.  My three-year-old loves Virginia Lee Burton.  For older children at the beginning of elementary school, you might try reading aloud a Laura Ingalls Wilder book like Little House in the Big Woods or Farmer Boy, and for children older than that, try C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.  And I'd love other suggestions!
  • A park with fountains for playing.  Do you have one near you?  We do, and it's a relaxing place to meet for a playdate.  The kids are very occupied and the moms can watch and chat.
  • Sonic.  Not the healthiest, but a fun place to meet for lunch outside.
  • Swimming lessons at the local public pool
  • Vacation Bible School - Lots of local churches have VBS at different times of the day on different dates during the summer.  You might find more than one that works for you.
  • A mom at our church is setting up a moms' time two mornings a month.  The kids play in the nursery, supervised by hired sitters, and the moms work on whatever they want.  A church near you may offer this, or you might try organizing this yourself.
  • Bike ride - We can do real bike rides if we use the bike trailer, but we can also do trike rides.  My friend attends a church with a big, secluded parking lot that has no traffic during the week.  We have taken our kids there and let them ride their tricycles while we chat.   There's lots of room for them to ride, but they're very supervised.  And I think the staff at the church loves to see the kids riding.
  • IKEA - If you have one near you, you probably already know this...bring the kids!  For potty-trained and older kids, there's a supervised play area where you can check them in and leave them for 30 minutes if you like.  But, for all the kids, there's stuff to look at and play with throughout the store, and it's OK for the kids to do that!  And the kids' meals at the cafe are cheap:  $.99 and up.
  • Babysitting - I'm considering hiring our favorite sitter for a few mornings this summer to just do things on my own for 2-3 hours.  Our son would think this is great.  And, if what I've been reading about the teenage job market is true, your local teen may be grateful for the job.  Trading sitting with a friend is also great.
  • In our more desperate moments, we've been known to walk around Wal-Mart or Target just for a change of scenery.  My son loves to "give an animal a ride" while we shop and "put it back with its animal friends" when we're done.  I don't know how long it will last, but it only works since I don't buy him anything-we only buy gifts for other people.  :)  And with the price of gas, we may not do this very often this summer!
  • And remember, our attitude makes a big difference.  Last night, my husband gave our son the choice of going to the park, pulling weeds, or watching Cars.  He got super-excited about all three.  Seriously.  (I'm sure that was partly because they all involved spending time with Daddy.)
Thanks to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for getting this huge conversation started.  You can visit her blog to read lots of ideas from other readers!

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