Summer is looming, and with it comes that age-old question: What do I do with the kids during summer vacation? While most children look forward to summer with glee, the novelty of free time soon wears off, leaving them bored with nothing to do. By utilizing some local resources, you can find ideas for keeping your kids busy-and happy- during summer vacation. Before you know it, it’ll be time to shop for school.
Check with your neighborhood or town recreation center, your school district or the nearest YMCA for summer activity programs for kids. These facilities understand the problems parents face when the kids are out of school, and schedule programs such as arts, crafts and sports to fill in the empty time; they also design their programs to take into account family vacations, so if you skip a week or two there’s no problem.
Consider enrolling your children in summer classes. Many schools, colleges and gyms offer a variety of summer enrichment classes for kids such as writing, science appreciation, artistic development, dance, gymnastics, volleyball and other sports. Summer is also a good time to let your child try a short music class for an instrument they think they’d like to learn, as they don’t have to make a year-long commitment.
Contact the parents of your kids’ friends and see if they’re interested in starting a summer play group to give your children a variety of play locations while staying in touch with their friends over the summer. Typically a play group will alternate days and places where the children meet; for example if you have five parents in the group they would each host the children one day a week at their home. Play groups can be as flexible as the parents, making them an excellent choice for summer vacations.
Summer camps, ranging from day camps for younger children to month-long stays for older kids, come in many varieties. Typical camps will include outdoor activities such as swimming, canoeing and cookouts; there are also specialized camps such as music, basketball and other sports. Pricing can vary widely, from free to as much as you’re able to spend.
Summer is the perfect time for kids to spend a week or a month with their grandparents or other favorite relative, as it gives them a taste of independence while ensuring close supervision from relatives. Most grandparents will jump at the opportunity of an extended visit with their grandchildren; if you have more than one child consider letting the kids take turns so they get individual attention from their special family members.