Keeping the kids busy this summer

It is always a challenge to keep the kids busy during the summer so they don’t spend all their time squabbling or watching hours of TV. I usually try to have something planned most days. If you are looking for some ideas, here is what we have going on.

Free Activities

The best things are always free but there aren’t too many things nowadays that are free. We will spend some time at our neighborhood pool, visiting my parents or stocking up on books at the library (which sometimes offers a craft). If it isn’t too hot, we also may hit one of the parks on our way to the library.

Paid Activities

IMG_0022With season passes or memberships to a few area attractions, we will also be going to the zoo, Sea World and the Doseum, San Antonio’s new children’s museum. As a family we also finally made it to Natural Bridge Caverns in June. We also have a Groupon for an afternoon at Pump It Up, a local inflatable/bounce slide place, and Lexie is signed up for mermaid camp in July.

Home Craft Activities

What better way to stop the TV/iPad watching then a few afternoon activities. I have a few plans I have pulled off the Internet, including – sponge ball fights and chalk rockets. I found lots of great hints on this list for June and this one for July. Many of the activities are aimed for the smaller kids, so I am going to have to find those that will interest a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old. If I need more ideas there is always Pinterest.

School Work

Yes, I am one of the moms out there that makes my kids do some school work during the summer to avoid that summer slide (where kids spend 2 1/2 months forgetting most of what they learned.) We will be doing reading, math and writing each week to keep their minds active.

Home Projects

We have some projects we want to get done this summer. In June, we have been cleaning and organizing the kids rooms. All the broken and and unused toys were out and the rest of their belongings organized. This is all in preparation for July’s project of painting each kids’ room.

Lexie has chosen two different pinks (with sparkles, of course). The dark pink will be on the bottom half of the room and the lighter pink on the top. We have also bought an awesome Elsa decal for the wall.

As for Jase, he is going with just blue walls. His current walls are blue, but the paint job is 12 years old so time to freshen it up with a newer shade. His big thing will be getting a huge Star Wars wall mural. It will be quite the focal point.

Free time 

And it wouldn’t be summer vacation without some down time where the kids can play in their rooms, read a book or even perhaps just veg in front of the TV for a little while.

Not every minute of the summer needs to be planned, but it helps to have options to keep those kids busy rather than bored.

Finding summer camps for the kids

Last year, I signed Jase up for a summer camp. It would have been a half day, week-long camp full of science experiments. I say, “would have been” because the camp was canceled two weeks before it was set to go. They did not reach the minimum number of participants.

This summer we signed him up for Lego Star Wars camp. Again, the same thing happened. The Thursday before camp they called to say it was being canceled. They offered other camps as an option, but he wanted a Lego camp.

Luckily, I knew that the Bricks 4 Kidz company was also putting on the same camp at their own location in July. (The first one was scheduled through a church’s summer program.) The only problem was that this camp was the same time as Lexie’s camp.

Now I hadn’t planned to sign Lexie up for a camp at all this summer but when I was going through the church’s brochure on camps, I found the perfect camp for her. Frozen summer fun! Yes, it was a camp filled with activities based off the movie Frozen.  Music, games, crafts and even a snowball fight are planned. She will love it!

I can’t say how the kids are doing in their summer camps as they just started today. But I am excited that they are going to them. Lexie was a little nervous about signing up for camp as she declared she didn’t want to be away from me. However, she has attended both preschool and kindergarten with no problems, so she should be fine.

Last year, I did sign both kids up for some half-day camps offered by the Little Gym where at the time Lexie was taking a combo dance/gymnastics class. Though the camps were designed for kids up to age 8, Jase was often the oldest kid there. He still had a great time, and it was awesome that the kids could do these camps together, but I knew it would only work that one summer.

So today, my husband dropped Lexie off on his way to work. He will also be picking her up at noon. I get the job of taking Jase to his camp, which of course is in the opposite direction. With camps at the same times and in different locations, I would never be able to do this without my husband’s help. Basically, the options were he take one kid to a camp or Jase again misses out on his camp this summer.

I am pretty sure we will look for some half-day camps next year for the kids. We might even consider a full-day camp for Jase if he wants to try one. I don’t know if they – or I – am at all ready for them to stay overnight at a camp. But I can see that coming in the future too.