Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bored Kids?

Summer's almost upon us.


Our school year ends this Friday, in fact, but I'm already getting:
"Mooooooommmmm..... I don't have anything to doooooo....."

Puh-lease. We live on forty acres. We have a baseball diamond, a treehouse, a playhouse, a sandbox, two jungle gyms, trees to climb, a multitude of brothers and sisters to choose for playmates... You get the picture. Nevertheless, they're bored. Already! Oh, to be a kid.

Anyway, following are some summertime must-haves that can be a help. With these things on hand, you can at least say with authority that the kids** have no real excuse to be bored!

* Buckets of sidewalk chalk ~ cheap at the dollar store, or make your own. (We're dying to try out the 3-D sidewalk chalk!)

* Bouncy balls ~ also cheap at the dollar store.

*Kick balls, as puncture proof as possible.

* Wading Pools ~ you know, the cheapy kind work just fine. (We find that 2 are much more fun than 1)

* If the wading pool thing is too much of project, get out a dishpan of water, with small cups and scoops and such for playing with on the patio or in the grass.

* Same thing goes with sand play. If you don't have a sandbox, get a small bag of sandbox sand at the hardware store and parcel it out through the summer in a dishpan (or you know that little tub they give you in the hospital after you've had a baby?), with cups and scoops. Moisten it with a bit of water to make it moldable, and let 'em have at it. (One pan of sand per child is ideal.)

* Squirt guns (But, be prepared... These invariable end up causing arguments... You may have to get involved as the referee. The beauty of this is that you get to use the hose!)

* Playdough ~ on the patio! (Don't you hate the mess it makes in the house?) Get the cheap six pax (or make your own) and expect to lose half of it in the dirt.
* Jumpropes ~ to be jumped with if you have girls, to be used as cowboy and Indian rope if you have boys.

* Bags of little plastic animals. You can find them for next to nothing in the dollar store and if you have children under the age of 7, they keep little hands and minds busy for hours, indoors or out.

* Bug jars and plastic magnifying glasses for insect study.

* Matchbox cars. Get them started on roads in the dirt or sand. Make ramps out of scraps of lumber. Show them how to make garages with bits of bark and sticks and watch them go!

* A stack of coloring books and crayons ~ for rainy or hot days, especially.

* Cards of all varieties to play with out on the porch or patio.

* A basket full of tea party supplies and a picnic blanket for little girls.

Now here's the important thing:

Gather all these things together and organize them in one place so they're easy to find when needed. (You can get fancy, or get $5 crates at the dollar store.) Try your best to have things returned every day to this "play station," which is preferably in your garage or mudroom. A fifteen minute toy retrieval time in the early evening is a great help, and a periodic all-kids-on-board organizing and replenishing day in the summer will keep both you and the kids happy for the long haul.

Now, let the games begin!
Run over to Rocks in My Drier to see all the great tips Shannon's readers are sharing this week!
**This list, admittedly, is best suited to the ten-and-under crowd. Big kids require a little more off-the-property, grown-up-kid stimulus to be kept happy, most definitely! For an idea of what we're doing to keep our Bigs busy this summer see last week's WFMW list of 100 Things We Learned the Hard Way. Check out #70.


Memarie Lane said...

When I was little, our favorite activities were:

1. playing "town." We literally built a small town in the back yard, with no help or input from any grown-ups.

2. "Racing." We'd make "cars" (no wheels) out of boxes and race them.

3. "Bug." We'd each get a blanket from our bed and tuck it all around is on the floor. We'd have to scoot around like that without looking. If we bumped into another "bug," the battle would commence and we'd try to swallow each other. Then there would be two of us in one bug and we'd have to try to find th last bug and attempt to swallow it.

4. We made up plays, either from our imaginations or from whatever books we were reading at the time.

5. We wrote and bound our own books and sold them at a stand for a nickel apiece.

Storm said...

11 kids?! God bless you!

These are all definite must haves for summer. Due to sensory issues we play with rice in the tub instead of sand.

KrustyTheCat said...

Wow, 11 kids? How do you do it?
Love your post, saving it when for when I have time to read after my kids are in bed. I have 4.

Bia said...

I already took notes on your #70 because this weekend's family night we're going to plan our summer . . . your ideas are a great outline to get us started!

With your 40 acres and all those outdoor things (tree house, jungle gyms, etc.) you could run a summer camp? Can my boys come?

Also, this summer my husband and the two older boys have been assigned a project (by me!!) of building a pergola over our brick patio.

Have a great day!