This guest post is by Samantha Kemp-Jackson of, Multiple Mayhem Mamma.
Those dreaded words are a parent’s and/or babysitters worst nightmare, particularly over the summer holidays. While it’s a great time for the kids after all, school’s out it can be trying for parents who are scrambling to find activities to keep the children occupied. Those long, hot dog days of summer don’t mesh well with frazzled parents and impatient kids. The combination of heat and frustration can result in less-than-good times for all involved.
Thankfully, there are a number of solutions that parents and nannies can consider in order to keep the little ones occupied. As well, many of them don’t require large sums or money or considerable planning great for us procrastinators and last minute-moms! Following are six options to keep the kids busy and entertained over the summer break.
1) Day Trips – The world is your oyster and surprisingly, so is your city. It’s probably been ages since you and the kids took a trip to one of the local landmarks, or similar locales that make your hometown special. Not ready to plunk down big bucks for an expensive family vacation this summer? A “staycation” with the kids is a perfect solution for keeping the children busy as well as entertained. Revisit schedules for your local museums and art galleries; check out local “family” hotel packages as well. Many of them have family rates and specials that allow you to check in and use their facilities, e.g. games rooms, swimming pools, water parks, etc. which is a great way to give you and the kids a mini getaway.
2) Parks - A good old fashioned picnic basket stocked with food and some recreational toys, such as a baseball bat and ball are all you need for a great day out. Kids are so much more glued to screens, whether they’re playing video games or reading online that a well-needed respite in the great outdoors may be just what they need to feel refreshed. Pack a lunch, a blanket, and some interactive games as well and enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors. The plus side to this is that the kids will get tired and will be ready for bed after a long day in the sun!
3) Home Art Camp - Invite some of your kids’ favourite friends over and set up an art day camp in your own backyard of playroom. Money doesn’t have to stop you from making this fun activity a reality for your child and her friends. There are so many household items that kids can get creative with that you can likely find many of the items already lurking in your pantry or closet. These include paper towel rolls, spare material, coloured paper, etc. Top things up if you’d like by taking a quick trip to the local dollar store for glitter, glue, child-friendly scissors and related items and let the kids go to town!
4) Gardening – Kids are often shocked and surprised when they see a carrot growing in the ground, or are able to pick berries off the bush for the first time. Start a vegetable garden with your child and teach them all about nature, plants and where some of our food comes from. You can even set up their own pots of tomatoes, basil and other veggies and herbs so that they have a sense of ownership and responsibility about them. On a related note, gardening in general tends to fascinate young and old alike, so pick a spot, plant some flowers and let your little helper(s) tend to the flowers as they bloom.
6) Reading Kids love to take the summer off for fun and games, but it’s a good idea to keep their minds at work as well. Why not suggest that your child read a series, such as Harry Potter, or the Narnia series? You could read them together and set goals for how much you’re going to achieve during the time off school. As well, continue to facilitate your child’s love of reading by enrolling them in a summer reading series, often offered by your local library. Such programs support your child’s choice of books and reading over the summer, as well as provide a focus for children to complete and report back on what they’ve read.
Samantha Kemp-Jackson is the mother of four, (including three-year-old identical twin boys) and the voice behind the blog, Multiple Mayhem Mamma. The blog is a humourous and insightful look at the inanities of parenting from a not completely sane point of view.