Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summertime Fun

As a stay at home of little ones, I'm ALWAYS looking for fresh ideas in filling our days. While the park and pool are absolutely a hit, there's more to life and so many learning opportunities in everyday life. These are just a few ideas that I hope will help you and myself in raising these precious babies.

  • Have a picnic: who says peanut butter and jelly sandwiches don't taste better on your front lawn? So pack up the juice boxes and snacks, head to the nearest park or simply the back yard, and enjoy the sun and changing seasons.
  • Try a new food: take your kids to the grocery store and decide that you're going to learn to cook and enjoy a new food. Or, if you have older children, check out that local restaurant that you've always been interested in. Decide to just order anything off the menu.
  • Write a letter: I can't find a place for all the coloring and drawings that Big Boy does. There's just not enough room on the fridge. So until he can write, we send drawings to friends and family. For older children, encourage them to write letters to friends in other areas or grandparents.
  • Retell a story: encourage your child to retell a story in their own words. Break out some sock puppets, draw pictures, act it out, or just sit down and ask questions during their retelling. This helps them solidify the story and make it their own.
  • Allow kids to help plan a trip: show them how to read a map and allow them to plan some of the stops or activities on your trip.
  • Volunteer at a local charity or your church: take your kids to serve a meal at a shelter. Allow them to see how fortunate they are. Take them to visit a convalescent home and visit with the residents. Make them aware of the world around them.
  • Go on a mission trip: there are many opportunities for a variety of ages and abilities. I would encourage you to move beyond your own experiences and comfort level. Younger kids may do well serving in the states or Mexico. Older kids will be better equipped to handle the stress and experiences of serving in a foreign country.
  • Take photos and create a scrapbook: hand your camera to your kids and allow them to document their summer vacation through their eyes. Create a scrapbook celebrating all the fun times you experience together.
  • Watch something grow: whether it's vegetables for the dinner table or a tree for the back yard, your child will learn lots from growing something themselves.
  • Go to the fair: visit the 4-H barns, pet a cow, and ride the zipper. Remember what it's like to be a kid and allow yourself to show that to your children. Let them see you laugh out loud and crave a funnel cake.
  • Pull out a blanket and stargaze: get out into the warm night air and remember when the world was full of possibilities. Learn some of the constellations together or just sit in wonder at the beauty before you. You may be surprised by how your kids open up.
  • Make sure you do get outdoors: visit a park, go for a walk or swim, hike in a local national forest. Encourage your child to look for local birds, animals, tracks, and plants.
Whatever you decide to do with your days, remember to hug your kids and tell them you love them. Create opportunities for them to grow and stretch and learn. But remember to just love on them this summer. Even on those days that can seem so long, snuggle on the couch and just embrace being Mommy. Enjoy!

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