Think about these things for your adult child's visit home.
Do you remember your first trip home from college? My mother picked me up from the airport and immediately took me to my favorite hometown restaurant. When we got home, we sat in the kitchen and talked for hours about my time away at school.
She was curious and asked about the new things I experienced and wanted to know all about my new friends. It was a special time I will never forget because she made me feel heard, loved, valued, and was genuinely interested in my life at school. With my son, I wanted to recreate what my mom did for me. Of course, it didn’t go as planned. Instead of downloading with me, he wanted to spend time with his friends. During the break, I was determined to recreate this moment for us.
You may be feeling anxious and excited to see your college student. This may be their first time home since you took them to college. It would help everyone in the family to consider how things have changed in that time. Your college student has experienced some new independence while the family at home has created a new “normal.”
Here are a few things to think about for your college student’s extended break at home:
Make Your Home A Haven.
Because your student has traveled some uncharted waters on a college campus, allow them time to decompress and de-stress. They may have experienced stress and anxiety. Have their favorite snacks at home. Cook or have their favorite meal. Host a socially-distanced gathering for them with their closest friends.
Spend Time With Your College Student.
Go to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop and have conversations with your college student about their time at school (friends, activities, etc.). It tells them you’re interested in their life and want to know what’s going on with them. You may also want to talk about your expectations for them while they’re home.
Remember, They’re Not In High School Anymore.
It will be very understandable to revert to treating your college student exactly the way you did while they were in high school. But they have lived “on their own” for the past few months. Respect is essential, and it goes both ways. They need to respect the rules and expectations you set for them while at home. As parents, respecting them as an emerging adult shows you recognize how they handled life at school and are maturing.
How will they help around the house? Cook, clean, drive siblings?
Another key to communicate with your student is the example and impact they have on younger siblings while they’re home. Remind them to be a good big brother or sister.
Encourage Them To Find Constructive Things To Do.
Those first few days may be filled with lots of R & R for your student, which is normal. They need to recover from the stress they experienced at school. However, only sleeping, hanging out, or gaming the entire break is not an option. Many businesses are looking for workers, and finding places where they can volunteer can benefit a great organization and your student, too.
Creating a plan decreases the likelihood of misunderstanding, disappointment, and miscommunication. It allows everyone in the family to enjoy the extended break you have with your college student at home. Time isn’t a commodity simply to be spent; it is to be invested.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/AdobeStock_202356724-scaled-e1603803709673.jpeg207600Gena Ellishttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngGena Ellis2020-10-27 09:02:172022-05-10 11:49:08How to Deal With Your College Student Coming Home for an Extended Break
Don't let the summer months pass without having some fun together!
Strengthen your bond with your sweet family by doing some or all of these 7 free things together before summer ends! No need to let these summer vacation days slip by without squeezing in some free fun for the family!
1. Be Explorers For The Day!
Soak in some sunshine and quality time with your family. Not sure where to start? AllTrails has 100,000+ trails listed all over with reviews and photos so you can find one perfect for your family. If you have some paper and a broken crayon laying around, bring it along to make an etch. Have your kiddo(s) pick out a tree or rock they think would have the wildest texture, then put the piece of paper on it and rub the crayon on top (preferably unwrapped and horizontally).
While you’re out adventuring in the great outdoors, answer these questions:
What is your favorite part about exploring?
What do you see that is interesting or fascinating to you?
If you were going to bury treasure out here, where would you bury it?
This 30 Day Family Activity Challenge is packed full of fun for the whole family! If you love a good belly laugh, some friendly competition, or just some good ol’ quality time with the ones you love most, this is perfect for you. Of course, you may not finish it before the summer ends, but you can continue the challenge into the school year. You can download it for free and have some fun sitting in your back pocket. With a little help from the challenge, you keep your relationship with your family a priority as life picks back up. Be flexible with your schedule; you can do a challenge week or every other weekend.
After you all do a few activities together, ask:
What activity has been your favorite so far and why?
What’s your favorite part of family time?
Have you learned anything new about yourself, like discovering you’re good at something you hadn’t tried before or perhaps that you don’t like something?
3. Picnic Together!
Simple, but always a favorite. Throw together a family meal and pick your favorite spot. Maybe for you it looks like driving to a local park, a lookout, or sitting in the yard. If it feels nice out, instead of dinner and a show, make it lunch and a game and bring along a family favorite board game to play when you’re done eating.
What are three words you’d use to describe yourself?
How do you know we love you?
What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
4. Be Expressionist Artists.
Now, I’m not talking oil canvas painting with classical music playing in the background—I’m talking expressionist like using a piece of paper and some sort of drawing/painting utensil to express yourself. Think of it like a picture journal.
You can use whatever is on hand—crayons, watercolors or even pens! You will be painting your thoughts about what these last few months have been like. If we’re honest, COVID-19 has changed the way daily life has been lived for the last few months. Putting those feelings into words can be hard for kids. Nonetheless, reflecting on what has happened is healthy and a great way to make sure you all are on the same page!
Sit down at the table or lay the art supplies out on the floor and paint/draw what the last few months has felt like. Here are some prompts: Draw/paint…
How have you been spending your days?
What feelings and emotions have you experienced?
The hardest part of quarantine?
The best part of quarantine?
If your kids are a little older (8+) suggest drawing a comic strip to show their experience.
Once you all have finished, ask these questions:
Tell me what’s going on in your picture?
Why’d you choose to draw that?
How are you feeling now?
5. Water Day!
Get ready to make a splash and go to the nearest body of water before summer ends. Whether it’s a creek, lake, ocean, river, pond, pool or hose in the yard, take advantage of it being hot outside and jump in!
You can do so many things with water!
Build a dam with rocks at the creek.
Play tag with the ocean by running as close to the waves as you can and then running back to shore without getting your ankles wet.
Feed ducks or fish with some stale bread or cereal.
Splash contest! (Big or small.)
Critter Count Contest. (See how many different critters you all can find!)
6. Movie Night!
Lights, Camera, Action! Take it up a notch and make a movie ticket for your kids and give it to them in the morning so they have something to look forward to all day. You can make it a “dine-in” movie and eat dinner while watching the movie. When it comes time for the movie, show your kids their seats, whether it be the couch, epic fort you encouraged them to make that day to watch the movie in or a pallet of pillows. Make it feel special. Presentation is everything. If you’re excited, they will be too!
Questions to ask after:
What was the best part of the movie? Why?
Would you have done anything differently than (insert main character’s name here)?
What character do you think I am most like?
7. Silly Day Out.
Run errands or go to the park dressed up in costumes or goofy clothes. Take pictures and share laughs wherever you go. Teach your kids not to care what others think about them and to enjoy making the most out of the mundane things like grocery shopping. Not only is it a great lesson, but it will definitely be entertaining.
Questions to ask:
What was the most fun part?
Do you think other people were having as much fun as we are?
It’s good to be reminded that making some of the best memories cost nothing but time. Taking the time to enjoy being a family and having fun together is so important for the relationship you all have together. The more fun you have, the more you’ll love to be together.
✦ If you do any of these ideas, we would love to see! Tag us on Facebook and/or Instagram and have fun!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/nathan-dumlao-4_mJ1TbMK8A-unsplash-1-scaled-e1596654688294.jpg223450First Things Firsthttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngFirst Things First2020-08-05 15:11:392022-05-10 09:06:117 FREE Things Every Family Should Do Before Summer Ends
I’m bored! Who’s heard that from their kids? Your children probably believe that it is your responsibility to solve any boredom issues they have.
First Rule of Parenting: Boredom in this context is a “kid” problem, not a “parent” problem.
But if they come to you as though it’s your problem to solve, then they’ve got to live with your solution, whether they like it or not. What we’ve got for you are 25 things to do when your kids say they are bored. Some of these require your involvement. Others are meant for the kids to do without you.
Do The Kids Say They Are Bored? Try these things!
Assign them chores: clean rooms, scrub toilets, sweep floors, and fold clothes.
Read a book!
Give them a book to read and a set amount of time to read. When the time is up, they must tell you what they read about. If they are younger, like my 7-year-old, you may need to give them multiple books since their books tend to be shorter. Rule-:They must sound out any word they can’t pronounce. They can write the words they can’t pronounce on a sheet of paper and ask us the words when their time is up.
Use craft items and create a project.
Play/Teach them a new board game.
The more games your child knows how to play, the less likely they are to complain of boredom, especially when they have friends over.
Bake something with them.
Google a recipe for some cookies, brownies, muffins, or cupcakes, and make it together.
Start a pillow fight!
Spontaneously start a pillow fight. It will wear them out, relieve some steam, and provide a memory for the family.
Go for a bike ride.
Ride on your street or go to a local park and ride. If your young one doesn’t know how to ride, this becomes a great time for them to learn.
Build an outdoor mud kitchen.
I had no idea the amount of time my kids would spend on a little homemade pretend kitchen. They’ve made mud pies, rock burgers, dirtshakes, and even fried some clay patties.
Take a walk around the neighborhood or find a local trail. Let the kids get a tall stick to walk with and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Do something you’ve not done before. For instance, eat somewhere they’ve never eaten before. Hike at a place they’ve never hiked before. Drive somewhere you’ve never seen before. Create something you’ve never created before.
Crazy Dance Time!
Turn on their favorite music and tell them to dance ‘til they drop. The more energetic the dance, the better.
You can YouTube a karaoke version of just about any song your child’s heart desires. Whether it’s Disney classics or the greatest children’s hits. Let them sing their little hearts out.
Use scrap materials throughout the home to create or build something.
Encourage your kids to use materials that would otherwise be thrown away to create or build something useful. You may want them to ask permission prior to deciding what is scrap and what is still being used.
Create your own obstacle course out of objects around the house.
This one is a house favorite. Kids will set up pillows, boxes, and stuffed animals as landmines, whatever their creative minds come up with as an obstacle course. It’s fun when there are multiple kids who will blindfold each other and lead their sibling/friend through the obstacle course.
Water fight outside!
There’s something about kids and water. Turn on the garden hose and spray ‘em. Fill up buckets and see who can pour them on each other. Get some water balloons and have a water fight. Pull out the water guns and soak each other.
Create/Write your own story.
Give them a pencil and paper or a recorder and have them create their own story. There must be a main character, a villain, a problem, an adventure, a beginning/middle/end, etc. Give rewards for creativity.
Fashion Show/Photo Shoot.
Children dress up in different clothing combinations and take pictures of them walking the runway while modeling their latest fashion trends from their closets.
Wash the car!
Take advantage of this before they get too old and start wanting payment for it. There’s something about smaller kids (under 12), cars, water, hoses, and suds that is a winning combination for a parent who needs a car wash.
Create cards to send to people.
Get a pack of small blank cards and have the kids simply write cards to let people know that they are thinking about them.
Write a handwritten letter to relatives (particularly older family members).
Write a handwritten letter to a grandparent or family friend. In the letter, include what they are learning in school, new things or activities they participate in, favorite things to watch, and something they are thankful for.
Learn the types of critters, birds, and animals outside your home.
Collect bugs, leaves, flowers, rocks, etc., and have the kids identify what species it is using the internet or a book.
Put together a puzzle!
Puzzles are a great, educational way to challenge the mind, engage your child, and continue to develop cognitive skills.
Sweep the porch, garage, or driveway.
There’s always something that can be done to help maintain the home. Give them a broom and leave them the instructions that there should be no dirt, trash, or dust left when they finish.
Zoom/Facetime/Videochat with a relative.
The kids can write out a list of questions to ask an adult relative or simply talk to someone about what is happening in their world.
Color in a coloring book!
Every home should have a coloring book and crayons to pass the time when boredom sets in.
Draw outside with sidewalk chalk. The only thing better than a coloring book is some concrete and sidewalk chalk to draw and color with.
Addressing the boredom issue with our children involves teaching them how to be creative and leaving space for them to be creative. There are times when it’s good for parents to take the opportunity to bond and spend time with their children. Other times, your children need to know that their boredom is not your responsibility. Don’t feel obligated to rush to eliminate their boredom every time it rears its head. But recognize that there are moments when our children help us to stay fresh, creative, and loose. And remember, conquering boredom with something fun together may create a memory that lasts forever.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/man-in-white-dress-shirt-wearing-black-framed-eyeglasses-4710919-scaled-e1596212227540.jpg235450Reggie Madisonhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngReggie Madison2020-07-15 16:11:562022-05-10 12:15:4325 Things To Do When Your Kids Say They’re Bored
Ready or not—here comes the 4th of July! But what if this year you really connected with your family, not just got the grill out and some sparklers? Holidays are a great opportunity to connect, strengthen family bonds, build your family identity, maintain or start new traditions, and even learn some history in a fun way! Oh, and eat good food!
1. Eat Together. (And Let The Kids Plan And Cook The Meal!)
If you are anything like the average American family, it is getting rarer and rarer to eat together as a family. This a great opportunity! Whether you go the traditional burgers and hot dogs route or the kids pick some crazy stuff—make sure everyone eats together. (And that they put their phones away after they snap a couple of pics of the family and yummy food.) There is just something special about sharing a meal together that strengthens family bonds. Don’t let your teenager make a plate and disappear to watch television or play video games. This is family time!
2. Cultivate Conversations!
Just like the charcoal grill needs some time to warm up, conversations often need a little time to get cooking. While you are eating, have some conversation starters ready—What are you looking forward to this summer? What‘s your favorite family memory & why? What 4th of July stands out in your memory? Is there anything that we (parents) DON’T let you (kids) do that you wish you had the FREEDOM to do? ★ Retell “those” stories that tend to come up when everyone is together and laugh at them. If you have multiple generations of your family represented or extended family, encourage them to tell stories from “back in their day” or how their families celebrated holidays. Don’t rush off—let the conversations ebb and flow.
3. Have Fun!
Card games, board games, get the Heads Up app on someone’s phone. (It’s a blast for the whole family!) Depending on how old the kids are and the weather, don’t be afraid to get wet. Get that sprinkler out, the kiddie pool, water balloons, squirt guns, or just start spraying kids with the hose! (They’ll scream and run away—and then run back for more.) The internet is full of Fourth of July craft ideas. For a twist, let the kids pick the crafts and games or even let them make up a game that everyone plays. Go for a walk after dinner around the neighborhood or ride some bikes. Stop and say “Hi” to your neighbors.
4. Learn A Little History Together!
Reenactments, movies, and virtual tours are great fun ways to learn a little about what Independence Day actually means (or just some American history in general). These can be fun for everyone, plus they can add a little depth to your Fourth of July. (Don’t make it like school—school’s out!) For reenactments, you don’t need elaborate costumes or props. They’ll be more fun (and funny) with what’s laying around the house. The midnight ride of Paul Revere, Washington crossing the Delaware, battling the British, cracking the Liberty Bell, the family forming the Statue of Liberty. Whatever!
Check your television or streaming service for specials, documentaries, biopics, or age-appropriate war movies to learn about the lives and sacrifices that built America. Gather the family around for some edutainment!
Sometimes we get so busy with food, crafts, and decorations that we forget about family. (Your kids won’t remember the perfectly matched plates, napkins, and cups. They will remember the family fun and conversation!) ★ If you are one of the many people who feel conflicted celebrating this Fourth of July given our current events, remember, this country affords us the freedom to talk with our families about the ideals upon which this country was founded—”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,”—and what we have seen happening across our country. It’s a great conversation with our children to learn the responsibility that all of us carry to live out those ideals. Seize this moment with your family! This is the perfect day to examine our country and ourselves.
This Fourth of July doesn’t have to just be an excuse to get the grill out—it can be a meaningful and profound way to connect as a family!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/kid-holding-usa-flag-3030757-scaled-e1596214235337.jpg242500John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2020-06-30 08:13:022020-07-31 12:51:194 Fun Ways To Connect With Your Family This Fourth Of July
When I was a teen, summer meant one thing: work. And lots of it. I had 2-3 jobs lined up before school was out each summer. That’s because my goal was to make as much money as possible. Part of my motivation was to put gas in my car, pay for any eating out, and try to save for college expenses. The other motivation was that my parents believed working would help me learn to be more responsible. They also thought it would give me other necessary skills for a successful life.
With COVID-19 essentially slamming the door on the majority of summer jobs for teens, we face some challenges. The escape out of the isolation that many teens hoped for, the earning potential, and the learning opportunities that parents know come from working have been swiped right out of their hands.
In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey, young people ages 16-24 are more likely to face layoffs due to Coronavirus. Why? Because they make up 24% of employment in the restaurant, retail, and transportation industries. The lack of work leaves behind the opportunity to learn about working with others, being responsible, and accountable to someone other than parents. It may keep them from experiencing a sense of accomplishment from a hard day’s work.
Now what? With Plan A out the window, this is a great opportunity to help your teen put Plan B into motion. In spite of all that COVID-19 has taken from us, there are still plenty of things teens can do this summer. These things can make the time go by faster, but also help them continue to learn the skills they need to master before heading out on their own.
Here are four ways you can help teach your teen responsibility this summer in spite of COVID-19:
1. Set clear expectations for the summer.
Even though many options have been taken off the table, ask your teen to come up with a plan for their summer. The structure still matters and makes a huge difference in a teen’s mindset and motivation. Here are some important parts they may want to include in their plan:
Some type of work
Help with household chores
Time with friends in a socially distant way
Things they need to learn to do for themselves (laundry, cooking, managing money, maintaining a vehicle, etc.
2. Help them think through opportunities that do exist.
Think yard work, shopping for those who cannot get out, being a nanny or manny for parents who have lost childcare and summer camp opportunities, odd jobs, or construction. Don’t forget about those special projects you or others have been putting off or need help doing. Part of the goal here is to help them think outside the box about what’s possible during a difficult time.
3. Encourage them to look at their strengths and identify what they are passionate about.
Are there online experiences they could take advantage of to further enhance their skill set and make them more marketable in the future? Can they take a distance-learning course to help them finish school faster or lessen their class load down the road?
4. Ask them to take on more household responsibilities to give you some relief while providing practical experience.
It may feel like more of a headache in the beginning, but these are all things they need to be able to do once they are out on their own. Grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking and/or house cleaning or making household repairs could be ways they can step up and assist in a big way if they aren’t already. As a bonus, additional teen responsibilities at home is a helpful reminder that in times of crisis, everybody has something valuable to contribute to the good of the family unit.
Obviously, we are all dealing with the unknown here and looking for ways to navigate the constantly changing landscape. Undoubtedly, there is a tremendous financial and emotional strain on teens and adults because of the limitations we’re dealing with and certainly, we need to be sensitive to this. Even in the midst of chaos, circumstances often present themselves that turn out to be positive in the end. I’m hopeful that these tips can help you prepare your teen to handle any situation that comes their way and to help them learn responsibility even in the midst of a pandemic.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2-women-sitting-on-rock-during-daytime-214576-1-scaled-e1596466892331.jpg168400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2020-06-02 08:46:202020-08-24 10:00:384 Ways to Teach Your Teen Responsibility
Summertime might mean a fun vacation with the family, kids in sports leagues or at camps, and visits from extended family. Fun stuff! It can also be a hectic, expensive time, punctuated by your kids saying, “There’s nothing to do!” Summertime can mean “quality time,” and this summer can be a summer to remember. Fun and exciting experiences create lasting memories that help you draw closer to your loved ones.
Make the most of this summertime! Here are 5 ways summertime can help your family bond:
Explore the areas around you!
You might be surprised by the fun, fascinating, and even educational things that are a short drive away. Parks and hiking trails, historical monuments, museums, concerts, summer festivals, and events are often right under our noses. You might have to pretend you’re visiting your area for the first time and search online for “Things to do near [Your Town].” You’ll be surprised by what you find!
Take a look at our Parenting Toolkit for the Best Summer Ever with your Family!
Enjoy fun and intentional quality time. Each day has an activity with a moral to the story and an opportunity to talk through the value taught. Not only will you bond over playing together, but while talking about the things that matter most to having a happy, healthy family! Here’s where you can find the Parenting Toolkit.
Routines, rituals, and structure can help your family bond!
They create an environment that is predictable and provides security. If your kids can depend on and are looking forward to the activities that happen daily and weekly, this will keep you close all summer.
For example, maybe Friday nights become pizza nights. If you’re not working from home, your kids might expect a text or call from you at noon to check in. If you’re working from home, maybe you plan to eat lunch together. Maybe you can come up with a fun summertime morning or evening tradition. (It can be as simple as going for a walk as a family.)
Give your kids unstructured playtime. (Sometimes go outside and play with them!)
According to the Gottman Institute, “Play is how kids learn all the things and develop all the stuff. This means leaving time each day for straight-up unstructured, kid-controlled, exploration of the world kind of play.” When you set aside time for your kids to take the lead, you’re actively encouraging their curiosity and imagination, demonstrating that you trust them, and helping them build character.
Other studies show that children who spend time playing outside become more adventurous and open to new experiences. These children develop skills that help them make more friends. Children use their imaginations to recreate their own world, and because of this, they’re able to hold their own attention longer.
Try new things together!
You have an opportunity to step into your kid’s passions, interests, and skills. Do they want to learn to play guitar? Let them put on a performance for you! Does the night sky interest them? Plan a constellation picnic and (tele)scope out some stars together with your favorite snacks. Do they want to work at drawing? Have an in-house art exhibition with fun snacks. Show an interest in what your kids are interested in. This is an awesome way to connect with your kids by having something to ask questions about and cultivate conversations.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel far to create a memorable summer, You can be intentional and creative with your time. Enjoy making new memories together and maybe even start some new summer traditions. Have a great summer!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/mana5280-TvxahkK8DpQ-unsplash-scaled-e1596467379194.jpg244450First Things Firsthttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngFirst Things First2020-05-26 16:12:242023-06-21 12:32:365 Ways Summertime Can Help Your Family Bond
Planning how you'll spend your time can make the breaks more fun.
Thanks to online shopping, my purchases were virtually complete. I asked my family what they wanted, and then I bought a few perfect presents (within my budget, of course).
But after the shopping was complete, I needed to plan how we’d spend Christmas break together.
For. Two. Whole. Weeks.
I didn’t want to waste precious time in front of a screen or do pointless things, so I decided to think ahead. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail, right?
Believe it or not, I do actually get excited about breaks.
I look forward to all the breaks from school and homework, for all of us. It’s a welcome relief from an all-too-often insane schedule, and we need the rest. But if I am honest, I’m usually a little too happy when school starts back.
But, when school’s in, we’re so busy that we don’t truly enjoy each other. And I realize it’s not fun to be around a mom (or wife) who is constantly barking orders to hurry up, get in the car, clean your room, help me with dinner, fold the laundry, etc.
So, I decided our Christmas break this year was going to be different.
Thankfully, my office was officially closed while my kids were home. So, it was up to me to make the gift of time with my family really count.
Instead of trying to guess what my family wanted, I decided to ask — the same way I asked about their Christmas list.
“What would you like to do with me during your Christmas vacation? Make a list of everything, and we’ll try to make it happen.”
It didn’t take long for me to find out what they wanted. In fact, I really already knew. It’s probably the same thing your family wants: UNDISTRACTED TIME.
Whether you officially have “time off” or not, whether it’s a holiday or not, you can still make all their wishes come true in some way. Find out how to spend the time you DO have with the ones you love — then make the most of it.
Just in case you’re wondering exactly what my kids wanted from me during our school break, here’s a sample of what we did over Christmas vacation:
My youngest child did my makeup (and hair). We read and sang together, shopped, and enjoyed cocoa and marshmallows by the fire. We created delicious food in the kitchen, played games and worked puzzles. We went ice skating and got coffee and doughnuts. And there was still be plenty of time to watch movies and sleep in.
This year, I’m going to make memories and intentionally enjoy my family. I have a feeling we could get used to these “things” that are not really “things.”
I can’t wait. And who knows? I just might be a little sad when the kids go back to school.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/michael-nunes-527010-unsplash-scaled-e1584120139957.jpg8652048Kris Nashhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngKris Nash2018-03-29 13:38:012021-12-21 10:29:59How To Make The Most of Breaks From School
Almost everyone looks forward to spring break! For those who have a trip planned, the impatience and excitement are probably palpable. But, if you’re not going out of town, you might be anxious about the idea of planning fun activities for your “staycation.”
In this day and age, frugal, fun and free entertainment for your children for an entire week is not always easy to find. You probably already know your way around the area, so you won’t be stressed about spending a lot of money. And, there really are a lot of things for a family to do that cost next to nothing.
For starters, pull the family together and brainstorm ideas for your break. If your children are old enough, let them figure out all of the things they can do within your budget. This could be a great life lesson (you don’t have to tell them that) about getting to do a lot of things that cost a little money or one big thing that blows the entire wad.
If they think they’ve already done everything there is to do nearby, you might suggest a few tried and true fun things to do such as:
A photo scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of things they have to find or do, and take pictures to document their find. Since there are no more phone booths to stuff into, you’ll have to get creative about what you ask them to do. Pinterest can help you with that.
Make kites. You can find everything you need at a craft store.
Build a fort in your family room. This is great for a rainy day. Grab blankets and sheets and throw them over furniture, card tables, chairs, etc., to build your fort. Have a picnic inside the fort when you finish.
Make playdough or goo. It’s easy to make and everybody loves the stuff! (At least the kids do…)
Go camping in the backyard. If you don’t own a tent, borrow one and have a camp out in the backyard complete with S’mores.
Pack a picnic and head out for the day. There are plenty of great parks in the area. Pack your quilt, Frisbee, Whiffle ball and bat, and enjoy a relaxing day at the park.
Build an obstacle course in the backyard or through the house. Let the kids build it and time you as you go through it.
Volunteer somewhere as a family. Find someone in your community who could use some assistance with their yard or planting a garden.
Just hang out. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out at the house for spring break. You aren’t a bad parent if every minute of the week isn’t scheduled. It’s actually good for children to have unscheduled time where they have to figure out how to entertain themselves.
Keep a journal together and take pictures throughout your week. Then, put it all together in a picture collage or scrapbook. It will help you remember the memories you create and it makes for great stories around the dinner table.