Here we go again! Summer is right around the corner. Now is the time to start planning. Most parents don’t need any convincing to agree that their kids don’t need more time sitting around watching television, playing video games or surfing the Internet. Still, in reality, when parents fail to plan in advance, these types of activities can become the default activities for their kids. Where can parents find activities that will keep kids away from tuning in and zoning out? Here is a list we have put together to get you started in planning your kids’ summer vacation time.
Team Sports: Team sports allow kids to hone athletic skills, learn and build teamwork, self-discipline and of course good exercise. Consult the recreational department in your community.
• Inline skating
• Miniature golf
• Kayaking / Canoeing
• Frisbee toss
• Water parks
• Amusement parks
• Nature center
• Wildlife sanctuary
• Backyard camping
• Backyard obstacle course
• Walk the dog
• Cooking out / bar-be-cue
• Geochaching: Geocahcing is a relatively new “treasure hunting” adventure game. Individuals and organizations hide caches and then post clues to find the cache on the Internet. Participants use GPS (global positioning system) units to follow the clues and ultimately discover the cache. For more information, check out the information found at www.geocaching.com/faq/
• Board games
• Card playing
• Household Chores & Projects
• Raquetball, handball, squash
• Volunteering at a food bank / soup kitchen
• Cleaning out closets, giving away items.
• Baking for family, giving baked goods as gifts
• Creating cards, gift baskets for needy, sick, shut-ins
• Theme days/parties (foods, dress, activities)
• Letter writing (relatives, distant friends, missionaries)
• Listening to music
• Watching a movie
Spectator events: Many teens enjoy spending time cheering on their favorite teams.
Camping Programs: As a family or participating in local camping or Christian camping programs.
Service & Mission Opportunities: Many churches offer summer service and mission opportunities through the youth ministry program. And, you can also plan your own family projects.
• Help needy families
• Visit a nursing home
• Volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen
• Volunteer at a homeless shelter
• Help neighbors with household tasks, yard work or repairs
House & yard work: Preteens and teens, with a little guidance from adults, are capable of accomplishing project work around the house and yard. Routine household chores, cleaning, painting, gardening, landscaping and yard maintenance are all well within the average teen’s ability level.
Part-time employment. Generally, many businesses hire teens for part-time employment. In the summer, seasonally based businesses often look for teens to fill out their work-forces. For example, some parks and recreation departments hire teens to staff their children’s programs during the summer. Or, independently, have kids create their own business opportunities, such as yard work, babysitting, or dog walking.
Educational opportunities: Summer can be a great time to enroll kids in community-based courses or summer school, that provide instruction on learning new subjects, skills and interests at low or no cost.
For information on planning a successful strategy for summer vacation, read our article, Planning for a Successful Summer.