School is out for the summer and many parents have heard their children saying, “I’m bored!” Summers are always difficult for working parents, of course, but even the stay-at-home parent struggles to keep kids occupied during the summer months.

Summer camp is always a good option provided one is available and affordable. When looking for one in your community, seek out the nearest YMCA. Often, they run special summer camps and frequently offer a sliding scale for fees or even scholarships. With the YMCA, you need not worry about your children’s safety. Staff are highly trained and have undergone background checks and drug screens to ensure your children are cared for in a safe and fun environment.

If you are fortunate enough to have the children’s grandparents living nearby, ask for their help on a limited basis. Most would be happy to take the children several days a week or month to add variety to the children’s schedules. It is a good idea to provide the grandparents with some activities and outings they might want to consider so the children aren’t just sitting around all day.

The stay-at-home parent can provide lots of activities for their children. If the children are a bit older, they may be able to help entertain the younger siblings. This allows them to bond but also prepares them to be a parent themselves one day. If this option is selected, it is important to discuss with your older children some of the activities they might use with their siblings.

Activities for kids at home need not be just playing video games, although that would certainly be allowed for a small part of the day as well as outdoor play. Some of the activities can also be “learning games” that keep the children’s skills learned in school from fading away over the summer. The more tools you have in your summer activity tool kit, the better off you will be to keep boredom at bay.

Make sure you have a Boredom Box to reach for that contains art supplies, cards with activities on them, etc. Create a “Boredom Buster” resource using a jar with small cards inside. The cards contain activities the child can engage in when they pick the card out of the jar. Activities might include: reading about insects and making a book about them; writing a book about the events in your summer vacation; making a solar oven and cooking something on it; learning to identify all the 50 states on a map and the state capitols; etc. There are hundreds of excellent activities available on the Internet and they can be found with a quick search.

All summer activities need not be “educational” and too many of them will make your children begin to feel like they are still in school. Leave plenty of room for just plain fun like running through the sprinkler on a hot day; reading a book on the porch; going fishing; taking an excursion to the local library (remember that they often have events every week to join in on); etc.

Tapping some of these ideas will help keep your children active during the long summer months and help them to avoid saying, “I’m bored!”

Mary Migliaro is a veteran educator, parenting mentor and consultant who lives in

Cherokee County.

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