Most parents have heard that more than a few times, and it can be challenging the keep the kids entertained during a long break like summer.
But child development experts at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine say summer is the time when your kids should be most active, taking advantage of warm weather to stay in shape and create memories.
“One way to get children active is to put them in summer programs that have planned activities, such as swimming or outdoor sports included in the schedule,” said Barbara Bonner, Ph.D., a professor and child psychologist with OU Physicians Child Study Center. “The very best thing is to do activities with your child. Have an early dinner and then go for a walk, ride bikes or shoot baskets.”
Here are some more tips to beat the summer boredom blues. Some are for solo play and some for a group or the family to share:
Who needs a swimming pool? Turn on the sprinklers and make your own water park. If you do have a pool, never let children swim unsupervised.
Scavenger hunts never go out of style. Give each child or team a list of common things to find or create.
Kids love to dress up. Let them take center stage and put on their own plays. They can write the lines, make tickets and design a set. Let your kids go through closets to find costumes. Use old sheets for capes or curtains.
Break out the board games. This is especially handy on rainy days, plus many games build math, money counting or memory skills. Even better, challenge them to create their own board games.
Arts and crafts are easy to improvise if you assemble a box of construction paper, safety scissors, nontoxic glue, markers and stickers. Sidewalk chalk also can lead to many hours of creative play.
Volunteer. Encourage your child to help a neighbor with yard work or volunteer to walk their dog. Sometimes they are more likely help with chores at a house other than their own.
Older teens may find a summer job will keep them busy, and earn them spending money. Babysitting is a good option for some teens, while others might like working at a snow cone stand or water park.
Child Development experts at OU suggest writing short descriptions of these and other activities on small pieces of paper. Then put them in your own “boredom jar.” Then when your child cries boredom, have him or her draw an activity slip from the jar!
With a little planning – and some imagination – you can easily banish summer boredom blues.
Beverly Funderburk, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Center on Child Abuse and Neglect
Michael Siatkowski, M.D.
OU Children’s Physicians Dean McGee Eye Institute
Greg Dupuis, M.D.
OU Children’s Physicians The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
Patti Landers, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center OU College of Allied Health