It has been a few weeks since I have had time to sit and write and mostly that is because summer is in full swing here in Texas. Its getting hotter earlier in the day and staying that way later into the evening. That means it is becoming more and more of a struggle for me to find things to keep the kids engaged throughout the day.
Recently we made the decision, in an effort to save some money, to cancel our beloved Netflix and Hulu video streaming accounts. We do still have access to the Amazon prime streaming services but frankly that just isn’t as good as the other two in my opinion (but that is a discussion for another day).
This means that our TV viewing options are fairly limited. And that really isn’t a big issue for us. I have tried really hard to not have my kids spending all day everyday but with it being so hot outside more time is being spent inside.
One of the things I have had to do to limit the amount of bickering that goes on between 4 children when they are bored is get creative with my thinking.
So here are a few things I am doing to keep the kids engaged during this summer.
1) Playing outside early in the morning.
I am trying really hard to get the kids outside to play by 9 AM. And we are outside until about 11 or 11:30. Sometimes I just let them play and use their imaginations all on their own. Other times I plan a game, walk, or some other type of outside activity. It really just depends on how well they are getting along. Sometimes the just need a bit of guidance and direction to cut down on the bickering and fighting.
2) Reading Books Aloud.
I love reading. I love jumping into a new adventure and I really want my kids to find joy in books as well. Recently I stumbled on a blog/podcast called “Read Aloud Revival” and I am just LOVING it. She talks so much about how to engage with children, what types of books to read to your kids, and the benefits of reading aloud to our kids no matter what the age.
My mom used to read books to us all the time. She read us the entire Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings Series, along with several others. Reading was just something that we did in our home. And I have continued that on with the kids at our home.
During lunch I have begun reading to the kids while they eat. And on top of that we are filling out a chart for our local Half Price Books summer reading program. This encourages me to read to them and for them to enjoy and listen because at the end of the summer if we complete the chart we get credit at HPB for new books.
|HPB Summer Reading Program
|The current book series we
are reading together at lunch.
3) Indoor games, play dough, and crafts
We are a homeschool family so everything can be turned into an educational experience if we try hard enough. And that means that with a bit of flour, salt, water and food coloring we can be sculpting the next greatest master-piece in a matter of seconds. Board games are learned and mastered in an afternoon. And coloring a picture or gluing a few things together can help an afternoon go by quickly. Pinterest has become a friend of mine as I search for fun activities to keep them from being bored.
4) Good ol’ fashioned imagination
My kids have more toys than they know what to do with. This means there are tons and tons of opportunity to use their imaginations to play and explore. If this means that the boys are in one room playing superheros and the girls are in another playing with their baby dolls then that is what it takes. They need the opportunity to create worlds on their own and I don’t need to be right there to direct their activity all them time.
Keeping the kids engaged is a challenge that is not one that is easy to accomplish. However, I have found that with just a bit of forethought and preparation the summer can be just as enjoyable as the rest of the year, IF NOT MORE!!
And as an added bonus, on days that aren’t unbearable to be outside we will make a trip to the zoo!
What do you do to keep your kids engaged during the long summer days when it’s too hot to be outside? Let me know in the comments!