A common mistake parents make is providing their children with quick attention grabbers such as a movie or video game. But this is only a short-term fix. Instead, think of new, creative, innovative activities to stretch your child’s imagination. Summer can be a time for your child to learn, grow, and discover through play.As parents you can help your children get out of the slump of summer boredom and hone in on their creativity. When armed with some information and clever ideas, you can help make summer fun again for your children.
A great way to stimulate your child’s imagination is by asking open-ended questions. Allow enough time for your child to come up with a solution. When you let children come up with their own solutions to boredom, you help them develop important problem-solving skills. But just in case they are having a hard time coming up with something on their own, here are a few ideas to keep summer interesting.
1. Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a great way for children to be able to plan, create, and execute a fun activity. It is a way for children to be physically active, and engage in outdoor play. Obstacle courses can be easily created from items found in your home and yard, and can be adapted for children of varying ages and abilities. It is also a great way to involve friends and neighbors in a friendly competition.
2. Scavenger Hunt
There are many ways to get creative with a scavenger hunt, but most important, it is a way for children to creatively be involved and engaged. Simply create a list of items for your child to locate. This can be a specific list of items, or it can be a description where children then use their creativity to find the items that match the description -- something round, something green, something rough. This can be done in the house with simple items or in nature and around the yard.
Another variation for a scavenger hunt is to hide just one special item and set up a list of clues, which will lead you there. This can be more time consuming, for both you and your child, but it can also be rewarding as children work to solve the clues and eventually find the item.
3. Idea Jar/Craft Box
This can be a creative activity for the beginning of the summer to plan for future summer activities. When the children help make and plan these activities, they take more pride in and are more excited about participating in them. Create an idea jar where you write different activities on craft sticks. When your child wants something to do, or is just feeling bored, they can pick a craft stick.
Crafts are something that most children enjoy. Whether the crafts are simple or more complex, most children take great pride and satisfaction in their creations. Preparing craft kits takes some time and preparation to gather materials and assemble the kits, but it is a creative way to combat boredom and foster imagination.
4. Lemonade StandA lemonade stand can be an exciting way to earn some money over the summer, and it teaches responsibility, work ethic, how to handle money, and even math and science skills by measuring and making the lemonade. They'll be learning and having fun at the same time. This becomes more of a learning experience for children if you have them earn the money to purchase supplies, or take out “a loan” then pay you back. Just a tip -- make sure they have plenty of ice; no one wants to buy warm lemonade on a hot summer day!
5. Make A Movie
This is a creative way to beat summer boredom! We live in a technology-based society; children from a young age begin to understand how to operate all the gadgets. Why not let them use technology in a creative, imaginative, and exciting way. They can start by writing a script, then move on to casting, costuming, and filming. This can be a great way to involve friends and neighbors as well. To celebrate when it’s finished, host a red carpet movie premiere and invite the participants.
Beating summer boredom can take some preparation and imagination. Creativity is not something that always comes easily; in fact, it takes work. An important part of encouraging your child to combat boredom is to practice the art of creative thinking yourself. Have fun, get involved and embrace your “inner child.” As you do, your children will get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of the summer!