Dreaded Summer Words “Mommy, I am Bored” (2.0)

Summer vacation is almost here. There are 14 weeks to summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Make this summer a time to remember!

Simplify your home routines and schedule. Work with your children in the garden (this is sneaking in horticulture and teaching of God).

Suspend chores and work together with your children to get meals on, to do dishes, getting meals on the table, as well as tiding, folding and putting away laundry. 

Surprise them and and help them clean their rooms, which should be easier, because you streamlined things right? This should really surprise them!  

Put on some music and enjoy your time together! Make life enjoyable and let the children learn from your example how to work hard, enjoy work, and do quality work. Build relationships as you work together. Look for the teaching moments and share your love of God. (Deuteronomy 6:7) Enjoy the summer journey together.

Enjoy a slower happier pace. Summer vacation does not need to be expensive, excessively boring, or high stress. Here is a list of fun activities you can choose from that can make summer memorable and not cost a fortune. Instead of just setting limits on screen time or using screen time as a reward to do chores independently, plan activities and simple summer routines that keep family engaged. Free time and a little boredom can be a creativity spark, especially when screen time is not and option during certain times of the day. You do not need to leave town for a memorable summer. Enjoy a stay-cation! There are plenty of activities that can be done at home or near home.

105 Ideas for "Summer Activities on a Shoestring:"

1. What are the local opportunities? Get a calendar and list local fairs scheduled nearby. We have local city festivals during the summer months. We also have a huge Fourth of July Festival, a Colonial Festival, a Scandinavian Festival, a Scottish Highland Festival, and other festivals near our town every summer.

2. Look in the local newspapers or online to find out about free activities near your home. Schedule them in your family activity calendar. 

3. Are there any free local open air concerts available nearby; include those in your calendar.

4. Enjoy meals Al Fresco! Eat outside on the porch, patio, deck, under the shade of a large tree, on a blanket on the lawn, or have a picnic at the local park. Listen to the natural outdoor sounds as you eat. Enjoy the time with your family,

5. Cool off at a local splash pad or make your own by turning on a lawn sprinkler.

6. Get  frozen pop forms. Mix up your own smoothies pour into the forms and freeze! Enjoy!

7. Take a few minutes in the cool of the morning to chop veggies and fruits for quick serving during the day. Store cut vegetables in wide mouth half pint and pint freezer/canning jars in the fridge.Chop, rinse, and spin Romaine lettuce. Store the prepared lettuce in wide mouth quart jars in the fridge. This makes for a quick salad bar or lunch or a first course for dinner.

8. Get everyone a dollar store photo album. They can keep pictures, ticket stubs, and even add little journal entries of their wonderful summer vacation. Before bedtime, have each person write their favorite activity of the day in their journals.

9. Keep a family summer stay-cation blog, add pictures, and share your summer joys on your family stay-cation blog. 

10. Create a garden, even if it is just a few container plants. Dig in the soil, feel the sense of joy as something you nurture comes to fruition.

11. Get some sidewalk chalk and have fun with your family drawing or doodling on the driveway.

12. On hot days, chill out, go to the library and start a summer reading program. 

Start your own family reading program. Everyone contributes.  Time reading aloud contributes points. We did "Have you Bean There?" A series of five jars from the size of a spice jar to a one gallon jar. As one jar filled it flowed into the next. Then we start again at the smallest. We had different numbers of pinto beans for each level of difficulty of books of what could be read in a certain time period.  We changed things up and decided they could also earn points for exercise 1 bean per 15 minutes. Each jar, when full, represented a family celebration. Then that jar would be poured into the next size jar. Love it when we get to the tipping point of one jar topping off the next, and that one topping off the next! We get all the prizes.

Celebrations do not have to be major or expensive. It is nice to have the celebrations graduate in magnitude. The spice jar could be a classic $1 movie and popcorn or an ice cream cone.  Another jar can be a local venue everyone enjoys. Another jar may be to a family hike, have a BBQ, go on a picnic, go to a favorite fieldtrip, or go camping. The big jar could be a trip. Let the family meet on the committee to help decide what they want to work towards celebrating. Small goals and celebrations along the way help the family stay on track and become more consistent. Then each larger jar was bigger celebration. 

13. Take daily family walks and personal walks in the cooler part of the day.  Enjoy the sights and sounds, as well as, the fresh air and exercise.

14. Have a yard party and BBQ. Invite neighbors. Make Frozen Bananas. Prepare jar salads and mason jar drinks. Fill a bucket with ice and keep the drinks and salads cold.

15. Get a badminton set, volleyball set, Frisbee, or croquet game to play with family and friends. Learn how to play these outdoor games.

16. Get a few families together and organize a summer day camp for your children.

17. Organize a summer vacation Bible school with some families you know.

18. Visit a different local park with your family each Friday for a picnic and games.

19. Learn how to cook outdoors.

20. Have a classic movie night.

21. Create an- "I'm Bored Jar." and a time at dinner where you share what interesting thing they chose to do when they got bored. Mom and dad share too.  Fill it with strips of paper with a single activity listed on each strip. Some ideas: 

  • Do 10  sit ups
  • Make a cold dessert for the family and clean up afterwards.
  • Learn something new from a book and share what you learned. 
  • Play checkers with your younger sibling.
  • Make paper airplanes and have a race.
  • Wash the car.
  • Memorize a poem, quote or Bible verse.

The rule is, if you complain about being bored, you get to select a strip of paper, then you need to do the activity. Creating an "I'm Bored Jar," can bring some creative fun on days activities are not scheduled. have a family meeting and let the children contribute to the jar. Ultimately, you actually want your children to get bored. This can stimulate creativity.  Some may choose from the jar in the beginning, but may decide that coming up with their own ideas is better.  This is haw inventors, writers, musicians, artists, and even scientists got their start. Boredom is the stimulous for creativity! Top this off with sharing time at dinner. Sharing expands interest. 

22. Have a neighborhood of family recital night. Serve refreshments and hold the recital outside on the lawn.

23. Host an "End of Summer Art Show," in your yard.  Invite neighbors to participate.

24. Stargaze and learn the constellations for your area.

25. Create a back yard carnival. Have a ring toss, a button plate, a sponge throw, three legged race, a balance walk, and a fire line. Fire line teams line up and each person has a large cup. The first person fills their cup and pours it over the top of their head to the person behind, who must catch what water they can in their cup and do then pour water over their head into the cup behind them. The last person is trying to fill a bowl. The team with the first filled bowl full wins.

26. Have a campfire in your back yard, roast s'mores, sing songs, and tell stories!

27. Pack a picnic and go watch a firework display.

28. Practice as a family for a 5k (about 3 miles) run / walk and then sign up and participate in one together. Or create your own for families and friends with a potluck party at the end.

29. Go swimming as a family.

30. Shop at a farmer's market with the children or go to a you-pick-it as a family.

31. Make homemade ice cream and invites some friends over.

32. Have a neighborhood squirt bottle fight.

33. Make and fly kites at an area with no aerial electrical lines, or at a park or area with no aerial electrical lines.

34. Camp in the back yard. (Make sure you move the tent every 2-3 days so you do not damage the perennial roots of the lawn.)

35. If you can rent a projection unit, have a neighborhood or family to family outdoor movie night in the back yard.

36. Play car games while traveling to activities or sing fun songs in the car.

37. Make a movie as a family. Invite friends to do the same and then have your own movie fest.

38. Have a family game night. 

39. Design and make a family T- shirt.

40. Make bubbles and create monster bubbles.

41. Go hiking as a family.

42. Do Sparklers on the 4th of July.

43. Prepare something to enter into the county fair. My husband's family grew irises. My sister-in-law mad candy. There are all kinds of divisions at the county fair and state fairs.  

44. Do the garage sale circuit and find something to reupholster, repaint, refinish, or repurpose. Then bring it home and do it!

45. Have a yard sale.

46. Play hopscotch.

47. Have a sunrise breakfast!

48. Grill pizza.

49. Shop at a flea market or antique shop.

50. Build a Sundial.

51. As a family, serve an elderly or shut in neighbor. Mow and trim their lawn, bring in a meal, tend the children so a new mom can rest.

52. Visit your state Capitol.

53. Visit local and nearby historic places.

54. Play flash light tag.

55. Take a glow stick or lantern moonlight walk.

56. Skip stones on a lake.

557. Take a nature walk each week and keep a nature notebook.

58. Prepare and eat veggies from your own garden.

59. Go to a parade.

60. Visit an art gallery.

61. Have a hula hoop contest.

62. Build a fort in the back yard. We used to build temporary forts of blankets and sheets in the back yard.

63. With a few magnifying glasses go on a neighborhood bug walk and see what a bug's life is really about!

64. Play in a kiddie pool.

65. Plant flowers in your front yard.

66. Build a birdhouse or bird bath.

67. Create wind chimes.

60. Visit an art gallery.

68. Go to library story time or host your own family story time.

69. Play balloon volleyball.

70. Make cookies and then turn them into ice cream sandwiches.

71. Have a luau.

72. Have a tea party.

73. Make a windsock or whirligig windmill.

74. Make a weather station and keep a weather log.

75. Make homemade salsa and homemade tortillas.

76. Sun Dry Tomatoes.

77. Make shorts from old jeans (yours or second hand). 

78. Check out a local farm.

79. Have a neighborhood BBQ cook off.

80. Collect sea shells or rocks.

81. Make Strawberry or Raspberry Lemonade.

82. If you live near fire flies, make a fire fly lantern.

83. Create a butterfly or bee garden.

84. Put on an outdoor play and base the play on a book you have read.

85. Ride a Ferris Wheel at the state fair, a carnival, or amusement park.

86. Go to a play ground and do a family Olympics.

87. Take a mini one-two day road trip.

88. Play Hide and Seek.

89. Visit a planetarium.

90. If you live near a beach or can drive to one, build a sandcastle, draw and write in the sand.

91. Do leaf rubbings and add them to a nature notebook, nature journal or frame the art. You can also extend a clothesline on the wall and hang pictures with clothespins.

92. Go to a cemetery and do rubbings of interesting grave markers. If they are distant relative's stones find out about them and write a story about them.

93. Make homemade pizzas.

94. Get up early on a weekend and watch hot air balloons.

95. Roast hot dogs on a stick.

96. Have a New Testament Read-a-thon. Prepare quick food, invite other families and read aloud the New Testament in a Day. With lots of readers, this can be easy.

97. Plant a herb garden.

98. Make melt and stir soap with fruits or herbs.

99. Learn a Bible verse a week.

100. Have an end of summer party.

101. make and send postcards!

102. Make paper air planes and have a competition...the one that flies the furthest, the highest, stays in the air the longest, and the most unique.

103. Make little boats of cans, wood, or paper etc. have a boat race in a small stream, gutter, baby pool or rain-gutter. 

104. Create a bucket list of field trips and activities for the fall and winter!

105. Take lots of pictures of activities. Create a Mom and Dad's Great Adventure Summer Year Book.  You have about 12 to 14 weeks of summer. Costco makes photo books for under $20, you can add words, and for about .75 you can add pages!

Part 1 was our first newsletter posted in 2015, and had only 25 activities. They are included and amplified in this newsletter.

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