Kids today are growing up too fast. More and more of our youth are getting hooked on screens at a young age. Sure, it’s easy to turn on a TV or hand your child a cell phone with colorful cartoons distracting him or her long enough for you to start a load of laundry. And yes, I know chores have to get done and there are only so many hours in a day.
But I’m a firm believer that a messy house isn’t a bad thing if it means that you spent the day engaged in enriching play with your child. I also think that you have to take the lead and teach your kids how to enjoy old-fashioned play. To that end, we are featuring our A to Z Guide to Summer Fun this issue. It’s packed with ideas for easy-on-the-budget activities to enjoy with your kids.
The alphabet wasn’t long enough, however, so here are a few more ideas.
- Outdoor Concerts - Summertime means outdoor concerts, and every city has performances planned. When my kids were little, we would often attend free concerts at Town Point Park. I’d bring a picnic and we’d spread out on the grass. The older boys would run around and Baby Ross would crawl after them. Peter and I stayed busy chasing the kids, but every now and then everyone would settle down and we’d spend blissful moments enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and breezy music.
- Playgrounds - Take your kids to a playground and let them loose. It’s free fun, people! When I drive by an empty playground on a beautiful summer afternoon, I can’t understand why more kids aren’t swinging, sliding, and climbing. Our children need exercise and fresh air and time to be a kid. If it’s hot outside, try an indoor playground. The main thing is to get your kids moving.
- Library Programs - The A to Z list mentions checking out books from the library, but don’t forget to check out children’s programming at area libraries. From storytimes to crafts, local libraries offer inspiring fun for kids of all ages. Plus summer reading programs promise prizes to everyone who commits to reading a few books. The best prize, of course, is knowing that reading keeps your child challenged throughout the summer months. It’s the perfect way for kids to develop their vocabulary—and it fuels their creativity and imagination. Reading is a win-win!
- Playmates - Plan a few playdates with your child’s playmates. Take turns hosting the kids with other parents, and when it’s your turn, plan a day packed with adventures. Then when your child goes to his or her playmate’s house, you get a day off to shop or read or take a long nap under a shady tree.
Summer should be a time for fun and relaxation. If your summer’s gotten off to a crazy start, it’s not too late! Take a deep breath and plan some special days on your calendar—days devoted to playing with your kids, to being together, to sharing experiences that will become tomorrow’s memories.
Kids grow up so fast. Don’t waste a precious minute. Happy summer!