There’s nothing more exciting than the last day of school! Thoughts of lazy summer days, sunshine and popsicles fill our heads.
As a mom, I have always enjoyed the last day of school as much as my kids. No more backpacks, homework, papers and yelling, “Hurry up! We’re late!”
After the first week of summer, reality hits. As I watch my kids rot in front of the Disney Channel, I think, “What am I going to do to keep these guys busy all summer?”
Lincoln has wonderful options for kids of all ages: The Children’s Zoo, the Children’s Museum, parks, libraries, trails, and so many fun, active and educational camps. Even yet, I still try to dream up some “outside of the box” ideas.
I am blessed with creative friends who helped me compile this list of fun and out-of-the-ordinary summertime survival ideas.
1. Make a master checklist of everything you want to do in the summer
From bowling to watching a certain movie to watching the sunrise, check things off as they are done. You will be surprised at how long your list is.
2. Create a summer alphabet book
Each day’s activities relate to that letter. For example: A is for Antelope Park with friends whose names start with the letter A. B is for bubbles and new bedtime books. C is for Capitol — go to the top and then count the steps. Take this all the way to Z (Zesto’s and the zoo).
3. Viva Italiano!
Make it a goal to eat at every Lincoln pizza place once during the summer.
4. Tour Lincoln’s playgrounds
Find a group of moms with kids and make a plan to visit a different playground together on a specific day each week. The kids have friends to play with and you get some adult chat time. Pack a lunch and enjoy!
5. Let your kids fix their own lunches
You may have to set some ground rules, such as lunch must include one “green” item, one fruit, one meat or cheese, etc. (I apologize in advance for any crazy kitchen messes that might occur.)
You loved them as a kid and now you are passing that “love” along to your offspring. We usually try to find creative ways to get our kids to think of chores as “fun.” Those attempts have failed in my household. Another option is to use chores to give your child a sense of accomplishment. For example, post each daily chore (must be completed before “free time”) on a sticky note. When a chore is completed, the sticky note can be tossed, ripped, shredded or otherwise destroyed. This helps them see their list get shorter and shorter the harder they work. Yes, you’ll have to endure some groans and complaining, but you won’t have to empty the dishwasher all summer!
7. Break the daily monotony and create a theme for every day of the week
- Make something Monday: try a new recipe or craft or build something.
- Take a trip Tuesday: movie, museum, hike, park
- Wet and Wild Wednesday: swimming, water park, sprinkler
- Thinking Thursday: library, science experiment, learning websites
- Fresh and Fun Friday: Do a fun thing you found on Pinterest or go somewhere you have never gone.
8. Could your kids use a little extra help in math?
Answer: Khanacademy.org. This website is FREE and combines video lessons with online questions and exercises for many learning levels and ages. It is an amazing resource and includes more than just math.
9. Tap into your child’s interests
Have them think of something they have always wanted to do or learn how to do — and DO it! This could be anything from learning how to crochet, take better photographs, create a miniature room for an American Girl-sized doll, or make a slushy using zip lock bags, salt and ice. This where the Internet and the gazillion how-to videos on YouTube come in very handy.
10. Join the Bryan Kids’ Club!
Sign up at www.bryanhealth.com/joinourclubs and get a free t-shirt and a Summer Activity Book that includes a scavenger hunt around Lincoln and coupons to some local fun spots. Complete the “hunt” and you could win 2 Husker football or volleyball game tickets. The Kids’ Club also sponsors fun and free member events like the Kids’ Health & Safety Fair (June 14, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bryan East Campus) and the pool party (June 28, 10:30 a.m. – noon at Star City Shores).
Special thanks to Lisa Stueber, Amy Lofgren, Sara Ernstmeyer, Sally Vandeberghe and Becky Loewe for their expert mom contributions.
K-12 & Teens
Most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent driving the kids here and there—and then back to here again. Every child is a gift on loan from God. As parents, our job is to raise that child to be an independent adult who can contribute to the world using the gifts and talents he or she was given. It is hands-down the most important job on earth!