We usually begin our school year the first week of August and finish the final week of April. Do you know what this means? This means our family has only one week of school left for this year! Summer break, here we come!
Raise your hand if you feel like I do: Summer break is really for mothers and teachers. The kids think it’s for them. They have no idea. #lovehomeschooling #needabreather
Our older boys have big plans for several weeks this summer to go on a state-side mission trip and then to attend several weeks of church camp. We’ll go swimming as much as possible (hello, sunshine, I love you so much ~ xoxoxo). We have a family reunion around the 4th of July. We have friends visiting from out of state part of June/July. How is there any time free to do anything other than be on the run (and in the sun ~ xoxoxo)?
Oh trust me. There’s time. See, it’s my 10 year old and my 13 year old that have more downtime than the others. They spend time with friends and help out around the house, but I find it beneficial to…shall we say…put a little routine and creativity into their downtime. Otherwise my 13 year old who shall remain nameless would either:
- find ways to torture his 10 year old brother which will thus torture me or
- try to get away with sitting in a chair with his iPod playing games all the live long day.
The summer break rule is: No electronics until after 3pm and then there is a time limit (which varies depending on the day). What’s to keep the boys from getting on each other’s nerves? Oh just look at the ways…
1. Summer Reading Challenge
We did this last summer and the boys loved it. Prizes for reading? What’s not to love? I’m working on another blog post to share all the (very inexpensive) details of this fun challenge. Stay tuned.
2. Service Challenge
With school work set aside, there are more opportunities to look outward. The boys will be serving at church camp with us later this summer, but while we’re home I plan to have them jot ideas and be on the look-out for ways they can help others. Will there be prizes for this like in our Reading Challenge? No. But sometimes “coming up with and executing as many ideas as we can” is incentive enough for my competitive boys. Hey, whatever helps them learn to see other people’s needs.
3. Host Friends
I love that the boys are old enough to make plans with friends and execute the plans without much help from me. They can come up with activities like Movie Nights, Cook Outs, Flag Football, Watermelon Feed, Blow Up a Bunch of Money in our Yard (otherwise known as come over after church on Wednesday night during 4th of July week and bring whatever fireworks you want to shoot off) – the ideas are endless. We love it when the boys invite their friends over. The more, the merrier. Just keep the door closed so the mosquitoes won’t come in.
4. Get Creative in the Kitchen
I have found that summer break is the perfect time to let my boys tinker around with fun recipe ideas. It’s not always food, either. Sometimes they make non-edibles like homemade modeling clay or flubber. Or they make funky popsicles. Or they do something weird with chocolate bars or cheese sticks. Whatever gets them creative and keeps them busy.
5. Board Games
Our family loves games and has shelves full of them. During the school year, it’s hard to find time to play. I cannot wait to pull out our favorites and make up for lost time.
As you can see, the ideas within each of the ideas are limitless. And if boredom still creeps in, there are always windows to wash and gardens to hoe.
How are you planning to keep your kids busy and productive this summer?
This post contains affiliate links.