Nothing puts summer on hold, not even a pandemic. It’s easy to look at our current situation and think that there’s nothing we can do, that our children will have “lost” this time in their childhoods. But, with the right focus, we can improve almost any situation.
If you want to create a memorable end to the summer, it isn’t too late. The trick is to invest the time you have wisely, so that it will offer the greatest possible results. So, if you want to give your kids a memorable end to their summer, you’re going to have to make it a priority.
Parents spending time with their children is generally a good thing. It’s been linked to numerous developmental benefits, including academic success. Making something a priority doesn’t necessarily mean investing even more time into an area of your life. If you’re thinking “I already spend all day with my kids” don’t worry! Researchers have found is that it isn’t just the amount of time we’re spending with our children that’s important—it’s the quality of the time we spend that might matter the most.
There are a number of ways to spend quality time with your children, and nobody knows your kids and what they’d enjoy better than yourself. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from a few ideas that might help get the old noggin’ cooking up on the perfect activity to enjoy together.
Here are four things you can do today to close out your summer with a bang!
1. Create a Sidewalk Chalk Art Gallery
You think. You wink. You double blink. You close your eyes and jump! If Marry Poppins showed us anything it’s that with a little bit of magic, even sidewalk art can turn into an incredible adventure.
Grabbing a bucket of colorful chalk and turning your sidewalk or driveway into a mural of a note-worthy summer is a fantastic way to spend a sunny day, weekend, or week. And, like you’ll find with everything else on this list: the bigger, the better! Drawing and creating new works of art can be incredibly therapeutic for both children and adults. But more than that, it can be an opportunity to further encourage a new hobby that could last a lifetime.
2. Make a Rube Goldberg Machine
At some point, everyone has dreamed of creating an elaborate contraption that completes a menial task. And that’s exactly where a Rube Goldberg Machine comes into play.
Like the Domino Effect, the idea is to design a contraption that turns a small effort into a big result. Imagine using the hammer of your alarm clock to punch a marble down a twisting tower of tubes that sends it pummeling into a domino that slaps a swinging chicken, triggering a larger chain reaction that results in an egg being cracked over a hot frying pan. It captures the imagination, doesn’t it? Well, it’s also a great learning opportunity.
These contraptions are a great way to venture into physics and engineering. It challenges children to be able to connect the dots, leveraging velocity, mass, and resulting force to their advantage. And the best part is, you don’t need a lot to get started—you can work with everyday household items. The only thing you need to bring to the table is support, encouragement and maybe a little context to why their big ideas might work. Are you ready? Ok, Go!
3. Build a Massive Living-room Fort, and Don’t Take it Down for a Week
Halt! Who approaches the castle walls?
Oh, it’s you. Cool, you can come in.
Everyone loves a good fort—especially one right in the middle of your living room. Using pillows for walls, bedsheets and broomsticks for tents, cardboard tubes for swords, sleeping bags for naps, and a stash of Skittles and Capri Suns to keep their energy up, you can transform any room into a medieval fortress. The only drawback—usually when parents get home from work, the fort has to come down. It breaks the fantasy, and it’s a real buzz-kill.
But what if when parents got home, they joined in the fun?
Give your kids a treat. Play with them. Let them explore their fort a little longer than usual. If they’re into playing pretend, make it a week-long event. Who says when you go to bed at night as a princess or daring knight, you can’t wake up the next morning as one? And who says you can’t have fun, too?
4. Go Camping, Indoors or Out
You may or may not feel comfortable taking your family to a local park to go camping right now, but the best thing about camping is that you don’t have to really go anywhere to have a good time.
Sometimes what’s important isn’t getting away, it’s giving your family a break from their normal routine. Instead of a state park, discover the stars in your backyard. If you don’t have a backyard to retreat to, put up a tent, roll out some sleeping bags, and spin a good scary story or two in the living room. And who says smores are only a campfire treat? Light up the fireplace, or pop some marshmallows in the microwave (for only a few seconds! Trust us!), and chow down.
Whatever you do, the most important thing when camping is to turn off all electronics. Unplug yourself from the rest of the world for a night, and don’t let anything distract you from making a memory that your children will always hold dear.
Do you have any creative ideas for keeping the summer fun? Advice for other parents on how to focus on quality of time over quantity? Join us on The ONE Thing Community page and share.