Older elementary students can be a real challenge over the summer. They aren’t quite the young children who enjoy hanging with parents or grandparents and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. there are still ways to keep children busy during the summer
On the other hand, they do still like hanging out with grandparents, as long as ice cream, fun activities, and creativity are involved. So what do you do to keep the in-betweeners busy? They aren’t quite old enough for minimum supervision, but they are too old for “baby stuff,” according to most 8-year-olds. Below we look at some ways to to keep children busy during the summer
As short as the summer holidays seem for teachers is as long as they seem for parents. You can keep children busy during the summer with summer camps, virtual lessons, community events, outdoor activities, chores or joint projects. Older children can take responsibility for planning their own activities as well.
1. Boredom in Children Is Okay
Boredom is the mother of all childhood invention. Most games and creativity are sparked from a child with nothing better to do. However, some children need appropriate outlets for that boredom. Some children become destructive, and that is simply unacceptable. You will need to provide your child with the appropriate tools to invent something to do.
Some tools could include art supplies, journals, musical instruments, access to how-tos and instructional websites, building toys (Legos, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets), Science toys (chemistry set, bug investigation sets, rock tumblers), or even craft kits (crochet, latch hook, jewelry making kits).
Your child should have access to boredom busters, but you should not schedule every moment of the day. They should be allowed to choose what to do with the materials and when to use them.
2. Virtual Classes
If your child is very interested in a variety of topics, you might want to encourage those interests. One way to do that is to let them take special interest classes during the summer, such as art, dance, science, foreign languages, or even creative writing.
If your child has specialized interests, finding a local class that accepts younger students might be challenging. However, virtual classes may be offered from anywhere in the country or world, and nearly all students can find something that interests them. Likewise, virtual classes often allow parents to make the scheduling choices that work best for their families.
3. Live Classes or Activities
Even if you don’t need childcare during the summer months, you probably don’t want your child hanging out at home all day, every day. One alternative is a day camp or class geared for children.
Sometimes these camps are half or whole day and other times, they are one-hour classes several times a week. FIRST Robotics Leagues, computer programming camps, space camps, and other academically focused camps have been popular for decades.
However, cooking courses, dance camps, art camps, and many other possibilities are available. Check with local community colleges, science centers, bakeries, dance studios, arts guilds, libraries, and community centers for options in your area.
4. Send Them Outdoors
Let’s face it. Whether COVID is a concern or we are back to life as it used to be, we tend to feel better when we spend time outside. Children need the sunshine and fresh air in their lives. Getting outside can help children with many different aspects of their lives.
First, the sunshine helps with Vitamin D production and absorption. Without getting into the science of things, it is vital for growth and development. Second, exercise can improve physical and mental health. The body thrives on exercise, but that doesn’t have to mean squats, pull-ups, and timed mile runs.
Exercise can be cops and robbers (or whatever good guy bad guy game they want to play), racing, tree climbing, and HORSE (basketball). Additionally, mental health is improved by the increased production of endorphins and social interaction.
5. Visit the Library
Sometimes, libraries will have weekly activities for students such as storytime, book talks, local author visits, and other community-related events. Some of them also have reading contests for the number of books or minutes a child reads per week.
These contests are often sponsored by local community leaders, so they can be a great way to get in contact with others. Checking out books to read for fun or how-to books for summer can help prevent the notorious summer slide that many high-risk students experience as well. Additionally, libraries often have movies, music, and other media to check out or rent.
6. Take Up a Sport
Learn to play a new sport over the summer. Camps and leagues meet weekly in many areas, and just as outdoor exercise, sports are good socialization, physical, and mental health activities. Learning a new sport also helps those brain synapses keep firing over the summer. Learning doesn’t have to happen inside a classroom.
Chores are great for teaching executive function and responsibility. Likewise, if you want to help your child with budgeting, you can have them earn real or imaginary money and plan for expenses or purchases.
Some parents will allow their children to make pretend money and pay pretend bills each month, but the leftover money is real and goes into a savings account. Other parents have their children make real money and save it.
You could also use chores to teach responsibility without money. Regardless of your choice, having a list of things to do each day or each week can help children learn to schedule their time and fill it with the things they need to do and what they want to do.
8. Summer Camps
All over the world summer camps are set up to help busy parents keep their little ones busy over the summer months. These can extend to full summer residential camps or day by day activities and play schemes. ( which i want to when i was young)
They often cover outdoor activities, crafts and on occasion science and languages. However if you have special interests you might be able to find camps for music or sports if you search online.
9. Join a Community Programme
There are often volunteering opportunities that occur over the summer all over the world. There are also awards and programmes that students could sign up for like Duke of Edinburgh and various guides or scouts programmes. These offer children the chance to do outdoor activities and make an impact in local communities as well.
10. Have Them Plan Their Days!
As children grow older and mature then you can start to give them more responsibilities. As much as it has been your responsibility to plan their time and keep them busy, it might be start to think of the gladiator quote (nicely of course). You can start to give them some of these responsibilities to plan their time.
Allowing your children to plan their time is a great learning experience. You don’t have to have them pick Disneyland or a water park every day. To start slowly you can give them choices and ask then to think about what they will need, transport, money and food etc. As summer goes on they can take over more and more tasks and as a special treat you can let them decide when they do actually go to Disney or whatever (more expensive) treat they want.
You do not have to keep every second of your child’s summer scheduled. A summer vacation with the family can be a fantastic time to schedule everything they do and unique activities.
However, the daily activities available should be physically and mentally stimulating to your child. Students who maintain stimulation throughout the summer are more likely to continue learning and maintain last year’s lessons.
Even if the mental stimulation that your child receives is unrelated to schoolwork, the brain will remain sharp, and skills will continue to improve. Fill the days with exciting activities, but you should not feel that each day must be scheduled from waking to sleeping.