Ways to Survive Summer

summer_funSummer is definitely here and we need to find ways to cope with the double challenges of children home from school and temperatures in the triple digits. Swimming, water parks, and even running through sprinklers and fountains take your family only so far, and you may find yourself experiencing more than a bit of cabin fever when inside activities seem the only option. Here are a few suggestions for making it through summer’s heat without feeling trapped.

Set up some long-term activities. Board and card games can keep children interacting and entertained as long as you add some elements to liven things up. Think about setting up a series of tournaments with simple prizes for the winners. Or have everyone tackle a more challenging type of game such as backgammon, bridge or chess. If you have an expert in the family recruit them to teach the others. If not, get a few books on strategy from the library or look for expert instruction on the Internet. Make this a weekly event – often enough to keep interest high but not so often that everyone gets bored.

Tackle some redecorating or rearranging projects. You could give each child a budget to spend on paint, inexpensive furniture or anything to make their bedrooms special. You could have a door-decorating contest or encourage them to make one wall in their rooms tell the story of their lives so far. A digital camera and some inexpensive enlargements through your local warehouse store can help each child personalize his or her space.

Create learning opportunities. Take trips to the zoo or local museums. Encourage every family member to look into areas that interest them and report back to everyone else about what they’ve learned. Use the summer months to support reading for fun with regular visits to the library, taking advantage of the activities they offer such as summer reading programs.

And for more ideas on getting through the summer, take a look at our Pinterest Board: Summer Fun, at https://www.pinterest.com/fultonhomes/summer-fun/.

Summer Safety Reminders

12658846_SWith the end of the school year freedom is within sight for children. Be sure to reinforce safety issues as school schedules give way to more free time and the summer heat comes back.

Sun Safety: Today’s sunburns lead to tomorrow’s problems with skin cancer. Set a standard approach to the sun with your children, including when and how long they spend outside and the application and regular re-application of sunscreen. For more insights, check out this FDA video about sunscreen selection and application.

Heat Safety: This can be a serious issue in the Arizona desert. Be sure to discuss drinking water with your children as heat rises. Buy water containers and thermos choices and make sure they understand the importance of staying hydrated.

Traffic Safety: Drivers without children will be startled when school’s last day brings kids out into the streets again. You may want to review the basics of pedestrian and bike safety, and make sure their bikes and bike helmets are in good repair.

Water Safety: Make sure to have a designated adult present to play lifeguard when kids are in or around a pool. Set safety rules limiting horseplay in or near a pool, with time-outs for anyone who doesn’t want to follow them. Make sure your children know how to swim and make sure you know how to handle basic first aid and CPR.

This summer can be amazing and fun for everyone in your family. With a strategy of safety, you can ensure that everyone enjoys the next few months.

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.”