Summer is the time of the never setting sun. Long lazy days at the beach. Picnics in the park. Unstructured time to follow your bliss… Or is it the time of year when 2 and half months of nothing stretches out before you, a mini van full of kids asking for you to drive them to fun?! Read on to find out how real mamas are battling houses full of ‘bored’ kids in true Green Mama form.
I still look forward to summer like I did when I was a child and it meant a break from the rigid school routine. This despite the fact that I have recently moved to a very remote island community, where summer doesn’t as dramatically change our daily rhythm since part of the move means that I also now home school. Thus, summer offers me a break from teaching (or, at least, a sort of break) and the calls of my garden and many guests compete with the calls of my children. I am still a believer in daily rhythm. For me this means planning my meals in advance and sticking to a weekly routine that is very similar and having very little scheduled commitments. This year both children are trying out day camps. The summer is where I find I reap the reward of our low-media lifestyles, the outdoors beckons and my kids are able to respond spending their days in the garden, hiking, swimming, playing with the animals, and bouncing endlessly on the trampoline. And, of course, helping with chores. I find everyone is happiest when I allow hours and hours for any activities (whether it’s a learning activity or just free play) as the activities seem to stretch to fill the long days.
-Manda, Mama of 2
“Boredom fosters creativity! Sometimes I actually think that we’re too quick to come up with activities for our children, to the point where they forget how to make their own fun. But honestly, in my opinion the key to sanity often lies in outdoor play. Lots of it. A few open-ended suggestions can help them get started – for example most kids love having picnics. Let them pack a little backpack and have their own picnic in the backyard if you have one, or go to a local park as a family if you don’t. Bonus points if you pack some binoculars, a magnifying glass, a note-book and some empty jars to collect bugs in too. Once kids discover how to entertain themselves in nature, they will never tell you they’re bored again!”
-Linda, Mama of 2
“Kids in the house all summer can lead to boredom, but over-committing or over-stimulating may not be the answer. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to go to the library. It’s air-conditioned, a quiet and calm atmosphere, and there is something for every age. My oldest gets lost in new books while my youngest entertains himself with blocks and puzzles. Plus – it’s free!”
-Amy, Mama of 2
“As a mother to a toddler, the rhythm of our summer days don’t differ much from those during school session. It often seems that the first one to get bored during these long sunny days is me, not my 2-year-old! Our recipe for staving off boredom and monotony this summer is to get out of the house as much as possible and enjoy the nice weather. But what to do when you crave inside fun? When our home starts to feel smaller than its 460 square feet, but packing up for the beach feels like too much of an endeavour, I like to cook with Henry. He has his own implements (including a real cast iron pan that is teeny tiny!). We work together and he constantly surprises me with his skills, creativity, and enthusiasm. This has recently blossomed into a huge interest in foraging wild berries and herbs, a love for the farmers market, and the grocer. Culinary experimentation is our surefire way to “kill some time” with the added bonus of fresh fruit popsicles, homemade nut butter, jams, and crazy sandwich creations as the outcome”
-Laura, Mama of 1