Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Fun

This post was originally published on the SeeMamaTeach Collaborative Blog.

Hello! It's Michelle from Teaching Eternity.  Last summer I was home with an itty-bitty baby who laid in his swing or napped on my chest all the live-long day.  Every once in a while he would demand to be fed, or I'd need to change a dirty diaper, however primarily we enjoyed spending time in the living room.  This summer I will be home with a much different baby! This baby walks, babbles, only naps once a day and gets bored.  So as much as I am enjoying being home with my guy for the next two months I know I need to be ready with some summer fun! So I asked around and collected some ideas!

Ok, so this is actually a really big age range even though it's only one year! If you're in the first quarter of this year your summer will look a lot like my summer did last year.  Lots of naps, feeding and diaper changes.  My guy's favorite play was to lay on the floor and I'd make funny faces and sounds at him! He liked his floor gym too.  Going for walks or sitting outside in the shade was also a great way to spend time.  If you've got a baby who is sitting up toys start to come into play.  My guy loved water bottles and tupperware especially!  Sitting in front of our full length mirror was also a favorite.  Listening and responding to music was and still is a go-to activity for us.  We do a lot of singing!

This is where I'll be this summer, and honestly fellow contributor Heidi from Mac-N-Taters has got me covered with this list! Her blog also has tons of other great ideas!  One mom I asked suggested stickers!  Her little one loves to peel them off and stick them on paper, primarily on top of one another.  Lots of craft stores sell $1 sticker books.  Right now my little guy likes the feel of the sticky stickers on his fingers, so maybe I'll be stopping by Michael's (and if something fun for mommy makes it into the cart who could blame me!). Someone else suggested rice, corn or beans in the sandbox which I think my guy will love! I can see him now scooping it up dumping it.  I can also see him putting it in his mouth, so for me this will be an 'under adult supervision only' activity.

All of my suggestions for this one involved being outside!  One mom suggested a nature walk, and I thought that was such a good idea.  Trying to find critters, playing with leaves, picking flowers... and if you can involve water in some way (a creek or pond) the fun doubles!  Another mom suggested a picnic, with the little ones in charge of the menu and packing (or as in charge as you leave a 3-5 year old). For rainy days it was suggested to go outside and do some puddle jumping!  Or, if you're not interested in having a wet kiddo building a fort inside! I remember loving to build forts.  Then their imagination can run wild, princesses in a castle, survivors in the wild, scientists in the lab, dogs trying to escape the pound (if you can stand the barking) ... possibilities are endless.  You can try out some make-your-own ice cream sundaes for those really hot days, or for when you need a little treat too.  Feeling super adventurous? Try make your own ice cream!

As teachers we know we are trying to avoid the 'summer slide' with these kiddos!  Some suggestions were to check-out your local library for various summer programs.  Whether it be a summer reading program, or summer 'camp' programs.  If you're a camping family go ahead and pitch a tent!  If not maybe just a day hike or trip to a nearby state park.  This is also bike riding age, and playground playing age.  If you're feeling crafty try doing some tie-dye or sand art.  Swimming is always a winner too!  If you can, get a membership to the zoo ... they also have summer educational programs, and who doesn't love to watch the monkeys! Side-walk chalk and bubbles could also provide endless entertainment!

Straight from a twelve year old girl ... her suggestions are anything involving the water, going shopping, getting frozen yogurt, and going out to eat.  At this age they may start going away to summer camp.  This may be a good time to start teaching them to cook.  Crafts are always a good idea.  I'd also suggest the library and zoo for kids programs, and check neighborhood events for movies in the park.  Amusement parks and water parks are a great way to spend a family day.

At this point kiddo is pretty much on his or her own for finding summer entertainment!  (Or at least I was at this age) If they aren't working, this would be a great time to do some community service.

I hope I was able to give you some ideas on how to stay busy (and sane) with your little ones this summer.  I know writing it all out for you has certainly settled my nerves about it!  I have 14 days left of school, but then I am ready to hit the ground rolling, and enjoy spending lots and lots of time with my boy.  Have a great summer everyone!
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