contributed by Corrine Jacob, alternatetutelage
Our family has all but forgotten the ghost of winter past. We are now basking in the glow of this glorious, glorious summer weather. If you’re a homeschooler like me, your mind is currently occupied with scheduling activities so that the summer doesn’t go to waste. If your kids are home from school, summer is a great time for a vacation and plenty of trips to the beach.
As a parent, a concern of yours could be the dreaded summer slide. In all the planning and scheduling, we tend to forget the most important fact of them all – our kids are home and the time is perfect to do all the things we’ve always wanted to do with them. If you look closely, you’ll see that they want to spend quality time with you too. Keeping this in mind (and I am a rather sentimental person), I decided to go on a quest to make a list of 5 things I am going to cross off my parenting summer bucket list.
This is a mission to realize a better kind of summer slide.
5 Summer Activities For Your Summer Bucket List
1. Write and illustrate a story together
When I read to my kids when they were younger, I used to replace the main character names with theirs. The giggles and thrills that such a simple swap inspired made me think of this bucket list item. There is nothing as vast as a child’s imagination and to capture those brilliant ideas, all you need is a few sheets of paper (or a scrapbook), some crayons, and something to bind them all together.
For the tech-friendly, there is a myriad of software you can opt for, making it easier to save and share your tales with loved ones. Apart from the obvious advantages of developing language skills and exercising creativity, you get the added bonus of creating something with your child. It’s not too late to capture your summer activities and convert them into captivating stories of jaw-dropping adventure.
2. Create a Carnival at Home
I have always loved carnivals and have wanted to host my own for years and years now. I always back off at the last minute because of the amount of preparation it requires. However, my serial Pinterest-ing has led to the discovery of games that can easily be set up. I have decided to limit myself to 5 games. I have also realized that this could be a great opportunity to unwind with other parent friends and host a barbecue cum pot luck lunch. Here are some of the treasures I found on Pinterest and on other parenting blogs.
How to Throw a Kids Carnival Party – Ideas on themes and activities for a homemade Carnival!
Passing Practice – All this really requires is cutting out shapes on the tarp and then having scores for each cutout.
Sumo Wrestler Bowling – I do love the two birds, one stone phrase especially in this context. This is a great way to recycle old plastic bottles, get some kids arts and crafts in and use them to our advantage at a Carnival game.
3. Throw an MMORPG Party
When I was younger, I always wanted to be a “cool” mom when I grew up. This label is only awarded to you if you are in touch with what’s in. One of these things is video games – their allure is undisputed and we can wax ad nauseam about its pros and cons. I was a bit on the fence until I read this article on teaching with video games. It gave me direction and instead of banning video games outright, I thought I’d host an MMORPG for kids. The idea is to ask them to bring their laptops/tablets to the house and then play together.
I spent a lot of time researching MMORPGs that are not only fun to play but also have a subtle educational kick to it and I was ecstatic when I discovered School of Dragons. From the 30 minutes I played on it, I figured it was perfect for my party because a) It is based on the Scientific Method b) It teaches Earth Sciences (There are parts of the game where I have to grow my own plant, figure out the kinds of rocks, etc.) c) It’s a multi-player game and so the kids’ friends could join a clan and play together d) DRAGONS!
As an added twist, I’m exploring the idea of having the parents play as well. Imagine the thrill of having your parent playing your favorite game with you!
4. Create a slip ‘n slide in the backyard
This one’s pretty simple, but kids love them.
You don’t need a pool for kids to get wet. If summer doesn’t include water and assorted water activities, then there might soon be an impeachment and a call to vote for the next World’s greatest mum. All jokes aside, while swimming and regular trips to the beach are part of your summer to-do list, creating a slip and slide will ensure a summer to remember. It isn’t as difficult or messy as one assumes it would be. All you need is heavy-duty plastic sheets and water and you’re set.
A few tips:
1. If you don’t want to slide, make it your job to create a game of it. Keep the slide wet. Have a contest. Create a (playful) rule. Give every child an award of some kind. Play music. Keep things safe, but fun!
2. Make sure the area beneath the slip-and-slide is free from rocks, sticks, and other debris. These things can bring pain.
3. Make sure there is plenty of room to stop before sliding across a sidewalk, into a wall, etc. You’d think kids would show common sense here, but sometimes not so much.
4. Pick up the slide right after sliding; it can kill grass pretty quickly otherwise.
5. A small amount of soap or other skin-safe lubricants can increase the fun, but be very conservative in your application. Soap in the eyes isn’t as fun as it sounds.
5. Camp in the backyard
I love camping and I don’t know if it’s because they are not yet teens, but my kids love camping as well. Instead of going out to crowded camping sites in famous places (it is summer vacation after all), I thought we could have a nice backyard campsite – complete with stargazing, storytelling by the fireside and s’mores. The advantage of this is that if you run low on blankets or food or if you really need to answer the call of nature, your house is 2 steps away. A little searching led me to this brilliant article on Ideas for Camping out in your backyard by Parenting.
What are your plans for the summer? Would you consider making a summer bucket list? What would your list have? I’m curious to hear your ideas!
Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning; adapted image attribution flickr user betancourt; 5 Summer Activities For Your Parenting Summer Bucket List