By Mary Lewis
Keeping kids busy during the summer at home can be a challenge here in Dallas. When the temperatures soar, it can be tough to coax them outdoors. Here are eight ideas to help them chill out and keep them busy this summer.
No pool? No problem! Turn the sprinkler on and make a game out of running through the water. Turn the swingset and slide into a water park. You may even enjoy a turn going down the cool, wet slide. How about a game of freeze tag? Stand by the tap and turn it off and on. Whoever gets trapped near the sprinkler has to stay put until you turn it off. Get the neighborhood kids involved in a game of tug-of-war with the sprinkler in the middle. The hotter it is, the more they’ll want to lose and get dragged into the water.
Water balloons and hot summer days go together. Instead of a water balloon war (which will take about 5 minutes), consider water balloon tosses, relay races, or even have your kids think of some games.
Let’s face it, kids love dirt. Why not do double duty and let them play in it and make your yard look great at the same time? Pick some plants that add beauty and value to your home. (Native plants such as hibiscus and verbena work best since they stand up well in the Texas heat without a lot of water.) Let the kids help plant them and care for them. Teach the older kids how to mow and water the lawn. Before you know it, your lawn will look beautiful, and your kids will feel great about helping. You’ll also be teaching them a skill that can help them earn money as teenagers.
A family or neighborhood kickball game is usually a winner with kids and adults alike. If you have a child who isn’t into sports, have them keep score, referee, or keep time. Make sure you have plenty of water or lemonade on hand.
Put your kids in charge of creating this one. Check out the course for safety before your kids run it. An obstacle course gives them a chance to design something of their own. Make it more entertaining by giving them a stopwatch or something to record themselves running the course. They’ll enjoy the challenge.
Speaking of challenges, keeping them busy on rainy days can be tough. A great remedy can be good old-fashioned board games. Even in this tech-filled world, most kids like the competition board games offer. Spending time playing board games with your kids can be a blast for you as well and give you a chance for some quality family time.
These words make some parents cringe, but video games can be more interactive and healthy than you think. How about Wii bowling, golf, or a dance-off? Your kids can have fun while getting out some of that energy!
Need another rainy day idea? Consider a movie day for your kids. Pick childrens classics you think everyone will enjoy. Think “The Sandlot,” “Home Alone,” “Jumanji,” or “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” Get some popcorn, candy, and drinks. Take this idea one step further on a clear summer night by renting a projector. A light colored sheet, projector, and lawn chairs can make your yard or driveway into a movie theater. Invite neighbors and make a night of it.
Make this a summer for the kids to remember. You may even miss these days when they head back to school. Happy summering!
Mary Lewis is a busy mother of three (is there any other kind?) When she’s not helping with homework, she’s working on her next DIY project or tending to her vegetable garden.