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Old 04-19-2017, 05:23 AM
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Default Summer 'Keep 'Em Busy' Ideas

I asked the older kids to write lists of things they'd like to do looking forward to the summer. One of them refused, saying there's never anything to do.
And the other 2 came up with a few ideas after I tried to get their creative thinking juices flowing. But most of their ideas weren't quite as feasible as I was hoping. One dcg said she'd give horse-back riding lessons. Now I hate to shoot her idea out of the water but we don't have horses. They both said cooking with 1 mentioning different cultures(any ideas on that??) and the other mentioning fried pickles and ramen noodles. Ah, no. Just no. lol But I'm sure we can come to some acceptable common ideas.

Then they all wanted to make their own fairy doors so they'd all get their own fairies. It was hard enough for me to keep up with 1 fairy's activities last summer, let alone 7 of them. Plus they were excited to hear from our fairy but never wanted to write back or do anything to keep it active and fun.
I need some really engaging ideas for SA kids who are lazy, get bored, don't want to do anything that even hints of school work, etc.
So if anyone has ideas for a crowd like that, I would LOVE to hear them!!!
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:28 AM
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I would love to encourage their summer reading and writing efforts BUT as I said, lazy.
Many years ago I created a reward system where for a certain number of books read, it won them a Beanie Baby. That was a popular item that summer. It helped get families involved too because they were reading at home. If I could come up with a reward system(any ideas there?? LOL)would it be appropriate to offer that this summer? It would be age/grade appropriate. Maybe I'll pass that by parents as well. If you think that's a good idea, maybe you can offer me ideas on how to make it work?
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
I would love to encourage their summer reading and writing efforts BUT as I said, lazy.
Many years ago I created a reward system where for a certain number of books read, it won them a Beanie Baby. That was a popular item that summer. It helped get families involved too because they were reading at home. If I could come up with a reward system(any ideas there?? LOL)would it be appropriate to offer that this summer? It would be age/grade appropriate. Maybe I'll pass that by parents as well. If you think that's a good idea, maybe you can offer me ideas on how to make it work?
Have you heard about Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge? http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2017
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:27 AM
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I love that they were interested in cooking, especially learning different cultures.
I think I have posted about this,but in the past, I've done a "round the world" theme during the summer. I'll choose a country or area for each week, then we do activities based on the culture of that country. We will read a book either about or based in the country, an art project or two, listen to music, learn words or phrases from the language, cook foods and end it with a fun movie. For movies, I kept it very "Disney-fied" Ratatouille for France, Lion King for central Africa, that kind of thing. It's even more fun if you happen to know someone from that area who can give insight to your projects.
It's been fun for all of us, and my kids want to do more each summer. As they get older, we get more in depth into the cultures.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiegirl View Post
I asked the older kids to write lists of things they'd like to do looking forward to the summer. One of them refused, saying there's never anything to do.
And the other 2 came up with a few ideas after I tried to get their creative thinking juices flowing. But most of their ideas weren't quite as feasible as I was hoping. One dcg said she'd give horse-back riding lessons. Now I hate to shoot her idea out of the water but we don't have horses. They both said cooking with 1 mentioning different cultures(any ideas on that??) and the other mentioning fried pickles and ramen noodles. Ah, no. Just no. lol But I'm sure we can come to some acceptable common ideas.

Then they all wanted to make their own fairy doors so they'd all get their own fairies. It was hard enough for me to keep up with 1 fairy's activities last summer, let alone 7 of them. Plus they were excited to hear from our fairy but never wanted to write back or do anything to keep it active and fun.
I need some really engaging ideas for SA kids who are lazy, get bored, don't want to do anything that even hints of school work, etc.
So if anyone has ideas for a crowd like that, I would LOVE to hear them!!!
I don't know what your community is like but I have been contemplating what I'd do with SA kids during the summer and some of my ideas are to basically take them on walking field trips (one each non-rainy day) to the library, local parks (some touristy, some with nature trails, some with splash pads), geocaching, farmer's market, bowling, cheap matinee movies, etc (with parents paying for bowling or movies). But I live in a small town of about 15k people and live about a 10-15 minute walk from the downtown area so I can do a bunch of things without having to walk for hours just to get there. After several hours of walking, playing, exploring, they'll probably be happy to just hang at your home (with crafts, toys, books, board games, card games, etc).
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiedoeszip View Post
I don't know what your community is like but I have been contemplating what I'd do with SA kids during the summer and some of my ideas are to basically take them on walking field trips (one each non-rainy day) to the library, local parks (some touristy, some with nature trails, some with splash pads), geocaching, farmer's market, bowling, cheap matinee movies, etc (with parents paying for bowling or movies). But I live in a small town of about 15k people and live about a 10-15 minute walk from the downtown area so I can do a bunch of things without having to walk for hours just to get there. After several hours of walking, playing, exploring, they'll probably be happy to just hang at your home (with crafts, toys, books, board games, card games, etc).
That's what I was thinking too. Going out for a walk is something most kids can use more of, and some even like it, especially if it's to go do something fun.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:19 PM
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I usually start with more specific "themes" for them and then ask for specific ideas within those themes. I think if .i asked the kids a general question about what to do this summer we'd be roadtripping to Disney! Lol

Start with a piece of paper with a circle and write the theme inside, say "cooking" and then shoot ideas out from there (its called an idea web). Have several different themes like, science, animals, reading and writing etc. Then get the kids to brainstorm each topic for doable activities, lunch and snack ideas etc.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:52 PM
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We usually do theme weeks here. Beach: bring beach towels, play with beach balls, swing suits, etc. Camping: set up a tent, have pretend campfire, make hot dogs, etc.
Have a community helper week, police, fireman, bank employee, dental assistant come talk with them and learn about their jobs.
The school kids can come up with theme ideas also. Or you can pick theme, and ask for input. We also do swimming, sprinkler play, bowling, library, park, and walks. We also have done bike rides and tours of various places in town(grocery, bank, museum,fire department, police department, etc)which could work into your theme weeks. Do one week of each theme and tour that place.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:03 AM
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I wish I could take them places. I won't drive anywhere with them, used to a lot, when I had a minivan, but don't anymore. And I live up a steep hill(have walked up this hill 100's of times with a stroller surrounded by little ones and am too old to do it now), with nothing that close to us that would make walking feasible. It's all on the other side of town. We will be taking lots of leisurely walks from my house up to the top of our hill though, not as much traffic and we can scour the area for nature stuff.

I need to do the web idea; forgot about that. It might inspire them to come up with other ideas related to their original thoughts.

We started last summer doing different countries but after the first few weeks, all I heard was 'this is boring', 'I don't wanna do this'. So I said okay then, you're on your own. They did not put forth any effort at all on their part and I got very discouraged. I am not a teacher and evidently wasn't making it all fun and games like that thought it was going to be.
But I'm thinking if I can search for recipes and let them cook more, then put together a summer cookbook for them to take home, that might encourage their cooperation. To me, this is a difficult group. They all want to be boss and to get them to work together can be challenging. I don't seem to be very good at keeping them focused and working well together; I just don't seem to have what it takes some days. But I want them to have a good summer here.

We will definitely be having lots of outdoor water play, bring more art time outside, and I want to construct a water wall, they can certainly help with that. I will have to look into the Scholastic Reading program.
Thanks all!!
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:14 AM
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I wouldn't do a theme for more than a week in my opinion. Cooking theme for the entire summer will definitely be boring. kids need to switch it up every week in my experience.

Also working together goes better when everyone has a specific job to do. We made banana bread the other day and every person had an ingredient they got to pour in the bowl and then everyone took turns stirring.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I wouldn't do a theme for more than a week in my opinion. Cooking theme for the entire summer will definitely be boring. kids need to switch it up every week in my experience.

Also working together goes better when everyone has a specific job to do. We made banana bread the other day and every person had an ingredient they got to pour in the bowl and then everyone took turns stirring.
Well cooking wouldn't exactly be a theme, but more like a once a week activity that the older kids could do together. Three oldest are 8, 9 and 10. The younger ones like to cook like you are describing but these kids already do lots of cooking at home, especially the 9 yo. He's learning a lot about fractions that way. He got a toaster oven for his birthday. I swear he'll open his own restaurant one day. I just have to help them work any problems out so they're not having food fights; they all like being boss.
I talked with them a little bit today about putting together a cookbook, using family recipes they like, plus recipes we'll make together. They were all excited about that idea, so that was good.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:53 PM
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What about giving them an area, and craft materials to make their own fairy village?
The fairies wouldn't necessarily do anything. They could play with the fairies like dolls.
I've been gathering supplies, and am going to put in a small garden box that will be our fairy village. I will just let them switch it up and play with it.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:29 AM
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What about giving them an area, and craft materials to make their own fairy village?
The fairies wouldn't necessarily do anything. They could play with the fairies like dolls.
I've been gathering supplies, and am going to put in a small garden box that will be our fairy village. I will just let them switch it up and play with it.
They'd like that idea, I'm sure. They each made a fairy garden last summer and added plants to them, then took them home. I have lots of materials left from that and I can hit the dollar store for more. They can make their fairies out of clothespins and craft supplies I have. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:50 AM
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Love all the crafty and cooking ideas!

I had several older kids last summer. They played board games every day! Sorry, Life Twist and Turns, Uno Attack, Kerplunk, Monopoly... They kept themselves occupied for hours!
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:22 AM
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Something else I'd want to do with SA kids is to buy small appliances and electronics from thrift stores, cut off the cords, give the kids one each with some screwdrivers, and let them take them apart (and maybe even put them back together again).

My DH spent his childhood tinkering with items like this and can now, basically, fix anything. If nothing else, it will keep them busy for a while. And maybe a computer program or site that teaches coding to kids. STEM is where it's at, from what I've read. That and trades.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiedoeszip View Post
Something else I'd want to do with SA kids is to buy small appliances and electronics from thrift stores, cut off the cords, give the kids one each with some screwdrivers, and let them take them apart (and maybe even put them back together again).

My DH spent his childhood tinkering with items like this and can now, basically, fix anything. If nothing else, it will keep them busy for a while.
Some kids love doing that kind of thing, boys and girls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiedoeszip View Post
And maybe a computer program or site that teaches coding to kids. STEM is where it's at, from what I've read. That and trades.
A lot of future job potential here, in the computer programming, and the trades fields. No matter how technical or advanced things get, we will always have to make and fix things.
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiedoeszip View Post
Something else I'd want to do with SA kids is to buy small appliances and electronics from thrift stores, cut off the cords, give the kids one each with some screwdrivers, and let them take them apart (and maybe even put them back together again).

My DH spent his childhood tinkering with items like this and can now, basically, fix anything. If nothing else, it will keep them busy for a while. And maybe a computer program or site that teaches coding to kids. STEM is where it's at, from what I've read. That and trades.
I'm so glad you posted this!! I had a couple old keyboards the older kids did this with 2 summers ago. They had a great time! Adding 'old appliances' onto my list of things to keep an eye out for. That and more games. We do have some games for the 6-10 yo crowd; I will have to get them out of hiding to prepare for their 'I'm bored' days.

Thank you so much everybody!! Sometimes what I need is a reminder and kick-in-the-butt to look around at what I already have.
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:20 PM
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There are always more ideas brainstorming with dozens of others instead of just by yourself. That's what makes forums like this so useful.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:55 AM
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Here is another program to encourage reading this summer!

https://www.thebalance.com/barnes-an...r-kids-1356824
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:52 AM
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My school age kids always love:

Making God's Eyes-I use two tongue depressors and connect them in the center with yarn. I use variegated yarn for the to use so it's colorful. They love them and they are easy enough but engaging.

Those perler bead projects. I have a big bin of beads and about 10 shapes to choose from. They work and work on them and yes I have to iron them! I know there's a new kind you don't iron but they are more expensive.

I have a couple rubbing sets ( Barbie and Batman) where they take different panels and make different pictures and rub with sides of crayons that the paper has been removed.

I save lids from cans (I have a pampered chef can opener - no rough edges. Used to use juice lids but I don't buy much juice anymore ). I have a bin of puffy paint. Kids decorate lid and then when dry we put a magnet in the back.

I do an easy weekly theme too and they always seem to like what the preschoolers are doing.
Strawberry week
Ice cream week-make ice cream in a bag!
Sand week
Bubble week
Root bear week
Etc.

I like the board game idea! Simplicity! I have fond memories of playing Life, Headache, Monopoly, etc. as a kid!

Our small town has an Earth day celebration and one of the options is fairy gardens. They collect all kinds of times from garage sales-figurines, beads, wooden items, jewels etc. really cute and cheap. So that's another fairy garden option.
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Old 04-30-2017, 11:51 PM
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spoons! that game kept the kids busy for hours! My kids liked "Junk day" where we took all the junk (cans, boxes, random art supplies, rocks nature junk basically whatever was laying around) tossed it on the table with glue and sizzors and said "Have at it" Yea, it tended to be messy but it usually produced some cool art. We made trebuchets once, spent a hr trying see who could get there marble the farthest. Goop or slime is fun too. sprinkler play. ill come back if i think of anymore
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