Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Killing a summer

School is out. The neighborhood is ringing the doorbell by 9:00 am and asking, "Can ANYBODY come out and play?" How do you keep everyone busy? How do you kill a summer?

I know, I know - bad Mommy! Just saying "killing a summer" makes it sound so worthless and unproductive. SHAME on Christine!

Ahhhh, who are we kidding? We're killing a summer. YES, we will be spending time together. YES, we will learn some new things. YES, we will be productive. Yet, day after day of entertaining every kid within walking distance (which is the way it plays out in my little corner), can make you move from "What would be fun today?" to "How can we kill the next four hours?"

Seeing how it's topping 100 degrees and we're barely into June, our typical outside activities get squelched. The trampoline has become a dawn and dusk activity, otherwise it melts your flesh on contact. Playing in the sprinkler has become an Olympic sport, as the kids try to avoid the ant hills.

So, here are a few of my ideas:

1. Pool hopping - We don't just go to the same old pool every time. Every once in awhile I'll drive us to a new locale. It could have the same basic types of slides or diving boards ... but it's new and different. The kids act like I've taken them to Disneyworld.

2. The library - this is a great place to settle them all down. My kids love the library. I like it because it is quiet and air conditioned. It's a win-win.

3. Tents out of blankets - it's a classic. You clear out of the living room and leave the kids with a bunch of pillows and blanket. They build a small village, and you allow it to stay up for 48 hours. Kids flip out when their tents get to stay up overnight. Schedule a time for demolition, and allow friends to come over so everyone can pretend to be King Kong, destroying the village. Then, you also have a crew of help to fold and put away everything!

4. Water colors - you can let the kids water color pretty much anything: the cars, the fences, the concrete, the glass doors or mirrors, each other.

5. Rice - buy the biggest, cheapest bag of rice you can find. Dump it in a big bucket and throw in plastic cups, spoons, funnels, etc. Kids will play around with this forever. If you let them play with it inside, be ready to vacuum when they're done.

6. Manual labor - pay your kids one penny for every weed that they pull.


7. Fashion shows and dress up - my girls love to play dress up. One of my other tricks is to provide them with fabric pieces and clothespins. They drape them and clip them into "dresses" and other funky clothing.

8. Painting boxes - find a big cardboard box. Let them paint it with water. Put it out later in the sweltering sun, and watch their art disappear!

9. More fun with boxes - just this week I gave my kids, and 400 of their closest friends, a bunch of empty boxes, scissors, markers and tape. They spent most of the afternoon making little houses, crazy inventions, and the like.

10. Taping a show - kids love to see themselves on video. Send them somewhere to work out a five minute show or play. Tell them that you will tape them when they are ready. Give them a timer to make sure they keep it under time. Upload it to YouTube and annoy the relatives by making them watch it.

11. TPing - let them toilet paper their own house, as long as they spray it down with the hose the next day. Yes, you can let them use actual toilet paper, and not family wipes! :)

12. Make them earn their keep - send them all to massage therapy school. They can spend all summer in class, and all fall giving you massages.

Personally, I think that's the most logical idea.


Martie said...

Great ideas! Thanks for the super list.

Mom of 9

jen said...

Love those ideas! I can't wait to try giving them a box, paper, scissors and paint to see what they come up with. My kids are all about unbridled creativity.

Thanks for sharing your tips!

Laura said...

So true about just killing time. I love your list of ideas. I also go from pool to pool. When I meet a new person, the first thing I ask is if they have a pool (ok, not really, but I really appreciate people that invite us over to swim!) We have also discovered free or $1 movies in the mornings at some of our movies theatres. Air conditioned and everything! I'm gonna have to try the painting the box thing, that sounds like a lot of fun!

Amanda said...

summer equals sanity which equals love :) -high school teacher

Summer said...

Just so you know when I was scanning my feedreader and saw this I didn't read the "a" in the title. Then I spent 5 minutes hyperventilating that my kids did something awful to your's at the pool this morning. LOL

dreamingBIGdreams said...

love these ideas.

Amie said...

afa manual labor goes we pay our 6 yo 2 cents for every stick that he picks up out of the yard so that I can mow, with all these wind storm is making bank. Ofcourse he has also been caught breaking the sticks in half so he gets paid more. ((roll eyes)) good tips. :)

blondie said...

Incredible tips....thanks a bunch!

Peculiar said...

These are great ideas that I will surely use this summer. Thanks for posting them or sharing. I haven't stopped by in a while. I guess I'll hang around and look.

Brenda said...

I just posted a list like this last week sometime. It's kind of creepy, I even mentioned using clothespins and sheets for fashion shows. Great minds think alike?

However, your #12 is sheer GENIUS!! Why didn't I think of that?