Our family stays put during the HOT months so filling the long days is a task I tackle with the intention of warding off boredom and discontentment. We’ve implemented a routine that keeps the kids feeling useful, enjoying the moment, and gives them a reason to get out of bed on lazy summer mornings.
My goal is NOT to assure that the kids are…
…thoroughly entertained each day, but rather to teach them how to live purposefully even when taking time off. Constant passive entertainment leaves them grumpy and discontent and a house full of disgruntled, restless kids won’t work around here, so here’s the plan we made…
Hard work followed by silly play is good for the soul and service/work projects combined with fun recreation fills this need and teaches kids to work like skilled leaders and play like carefree children.
This week my kids and their friends filled bags and bags of pinto beans and laundry detergent to be delivered to a food pantry. After the kids completed their service project they played with siblings and friends and swam themselves exhausted.
It was a perfect day and we have many more like those planned with our friends.
However, we obviously cannot get together with friends every day for a work project and play day, but we can still work hard and play fast on a different level each day within our home. In order to accomplish this, I’ve created a “To Do” and “Can Do” list for each of the kids. Before we begin our “To Do’s” we start the day in the Word and worship. Then the kids and I start checking chores off in anticipation of the “Can Do” part of the day.
The “To Do’s” are simply the typical ‘keep the house running smoothly’ chores.
The “Can Do” lists look like the following:
Jump on the trampoline with the water hose
Go to the pool
Have a picnic in the backyard
Create fun food in the kitchen
Play a computer game
Build a fort inside or out
Invite a friend over
Read a book
Listen to a book or story
Make a home movie
Write a song
Play Beauty Shop
Play Hot Lava (The kids try to get around the house without touching the floor. Mom must be in a good mood to endure this one. It can get loud and messy as they throw objects on the floor to step on as they jump from the furniture. It’s a favorite among my little ones.)
At the end of the day when everyone is worn out from their “To Do’s” and “Can Do’s” we close the day with a favorite book. We just finished The Gold Thread by Norman Macleod. Now we’re in the middle of The Rose Child by Johanna Spyri. My read-aloud list goes longer than the summer, so we rarely miss an evening. This quiet way of unwinding after a full day of activity is a favorite in our family.