What to do when School’s Out

21383271_SIt’s almost time for summer break, and if you have school-age kids you’re probably already wondering how you’re going to get everyone through the next few months.

You don’t have to plan an exciting summer. The little things can make a child’s vacation memorable and special. Here are a few ideas.

Learning goals: Yes, it seems mean to talk about learning on summer break, but many children backslide on their understanding of concepts and skills over the summer. Consider options such as a summer reading list with rewards for completing books, math games and contests, and visits to local museums combined with studying up on some of the exhibits. The Fulton Summer Fun Pinterest board has samples of interesting and easy science experiments and other activities that combine learning with fun.

Set a schedule: Planning an outing every Wednesday or swimming every Tuesday and Thursday makes the weeks move faster. Children who know what they’re doing each day find it easier to manage days that aren’t as exciting. You can make changes in the schedule as time goes on if you find some days work better than others for various outings.

Plan special events: Birthday parties play dates or special short trips make summer more fun for everyone. If you will be taking a vacation get everyone involved in the process. If you stay home, make sure you include some visits up North so that you all can get away from the heat for a time. Movie nights, backyard or indoor camping, or other activities such as the pirate scavenger hunt mentioned on one of the Fulton Summer Fun Pinterest boards make summer move faster and minimize the cries of “I’m bored.”

Preparing for Summer: Indoor Plans

13138856_SAs summer approaches, finding ways to keep your children – and yourself – active and happy while stuck indoors becomes more challenging. Here are a few ideas for making the time spent indoors more enjoyable.

Dance: Children naturally love to move to music, so how about a regularly-scheduled dance time? The music can be pop, rock, bluegrass or even hip-hop, and dancing can be structured or spontaneous. Experiment with different approaches, and encourage your children to invite their friends to join them.

Active props: Simple items such as soft balls, hula hoops or large exercise balls can add to an inside free-for-all. Research simple exercises and look for videos designed for children. And if you participate with them, your figure may benefit also.

Active games: We may remember Twister from years ago, and there are other games that keep the body moving. Do you have room for a table-tennis game – maybe in half the garage? How about an indoor bowling game or Nerf-ball basketball?

Active video games: Certain electronic games have programs that encourage movement. You can rent several games and try them with your family before determining which ones will be the most popular.

Water games: This is not indoors, but it can keep active ones still comfortable in the heat. Encourage pool games or activities that take advantage of water’s cooling properties. Just be sure to keep the sunscreen coming and if possible keep out of the sun during peak sun hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

With a little imagination and a few small purchases, you can keep your children and yourself active and happy all through the summer months.