Planning fun activities to keep the kids busy this summer

School has been out for the past 10 days. That means it is time to write my annual “What we are doing this summer” post. The kids are now 10 and 13. As they get older, it gets harder and harder to find things that they want to do. But if left to their own devices, they would…be on their devices or the Xbox all day. So, to give them a break from the electronics and to put an end to the bickering that always seems to crop up lately, I have come up with some things we will be doing this summer.

Water Park/Pool

I love the free option of our neighborhood pool, and we plan to go there a few times a week. I prefer to go in the morning because we often have the place to ourselves, but if we go in the afternoon, we have a better chance of running into classmates or friends. Either way the kids have fun.

We also have a season pass to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. While it is too hot to enjoy the theme park rides during the hot summer days, the water park offers a fun afternoon.

Zoo/Bowling

In addition to the season pass to Six Flags, we also have a membership to the Zoo. As the kids get older, the zoo holds a little less appeal, but we will make it there at least once this summer to see the new dinosaur exhibit. We also have a membership to a local bowling alley that allows us to come every day if we want to bowl up to three games a day. That sound like a little much but a weekly trip is in our plans.

Life Skills

Two summers ago, we went over some “life skills” which included laundry, bank/credit cards, renting vs owning, cooking, and other things to help them survive out on their own. Since, they need the practice, we will continue with having them do laundry and some additional cleaning chores. And Jase has expressed an interest in doing some more cooking lessons.

Violin/Typing/Cursive lessons

During the summer, getting Jase to practice his violin instead of playing video games can be hard but luckily, he still has his weekly tutoring sessions, and Dr. K will certainly expect him to practice between meetings.

Jase also has decided that this summer he wants to learn to touch-type. I have found a few online free programs, so we will be working on their typing skills. And lastly, I want to work on cursive writing, which we tried to work on in a previous summer break. While Lexie likes writing her name in cursive, Jase doesn’t see the point. But neither kid is good at it, and neither one can read cursive so time for more lessons.

While in the past, I have had them do school work in the summer to avoid the Summer Slide, I don’t have any concrete plans this year to have them do school work, but I figure we might get a bit in here and there.

Trips

And in between these activities, we do have two trips planned. The first is a short three-day trip to Bastrop, Texas. This is a work trip for my husband as he attends the annual city attorney’s conference. While he hears lectures, the kids and I go to the water park, ride bikes and enjoy the other amenities the resort has to offer.

And then in August we have a family Alaskan cruise planned. This trip will be more than just our family of four. My parents and brother are also coming on the trip. We have some fun excursions planned, plus the kids are just excited to be going to Alaska. I will be sure to post more about this as it gets closer.

Overall, I think I will have enough option available to keep the kids busy rather than bored…or more importantly off their electronics for some of the summer.

 

Chaperoning the Kids’ School Fields Trips

Three weeks ago, right before my son’s thirteenth birthday, I wrote about my kids becoming more independent. Typically, as kids become more independent, they want their parents less involved in their lives. And that is normal. But there is one area that they still like for me to be involved – school field trips.

Actually, when my son entered middle school I kind of thought school field trips were over. It is one thing for the elementary to take 100 students on a trip but at the middle school, there are roughly 400 kids per grade. This year, for the first time in six years, Jase’s middle school social studies teacher decided to take the kids on a field trip to the Holocaust Museum.

To do it, they had to split the grade into two groups with each going on a different day. They also need 16-20 chaperones per group. Jase asked me if I would go. (Yeah!) So, I volunteered.

I was a little concerned because on this field trip, the school was allowing the parents to ride the bus. Hmmm…stuck on the bus with 50 sixth graders? Sounds bad but turned out to be great as we have a good bunch of kiddos on our bus.

There were four of us watching our bus of 50 kids. We stuck with them through the rotations at the Holocaust museum. The best part was being able to listen to a Holocaust survivor recount what happened to her and her family. It had a big impact on the students.

Obviously, the sixth-grade field trip didn’t scar me or anything as I then volunteered to chaperone the sixth-grade orchestra’s trip to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This time it was only 30 students with four chaperones. The students competed in the Music Across Texas competition and then got to enjoy the amusement park. It was hot and tiring but again, it was good bunch of kids and I was glad I went.

As for Lexie, the fourth grade for the past four years has made a trip to Austin (about an hour away from San Antonio) to visit the capitol and the Bob Bullock museum. She was supposed to go at the end of March but due to some random package bombings happening in Austin at the time, the school postponed the trip. The only time they could fit it back into the schedule was today, three days before the end of school.

This was a fun field trip when I went on it with Jase and his classmates. Since the field trip leaves at 8 am and doesn’t return until 5 pm (well after school gets out) they cannot use school buses and rent plush charter buses for the kids. The parents still must drive themselves.

The students take two different tours at the capitol – one showing the history of Texas and one of the actual capitol building. Then they will eat a picnic lunch on the capitol grounds. Afterwards, they walk a few blocks to the Bob Bullock Texas State History museum.

I am sure this will be just as much of a fun time as when I went with Jase. And thankfully, Lexie definitely is glad that I am with her on this trip.