Sheltered Islander: Let Me Entertain You, A Kid-Friendly Guide

33723258 – little boy behind the window in the rain – selective focus
Photo: Jaromír Chalabala/123rf

The beginning of summer is full of promise. So many projects to do with your kids (that you definitely won’t have the energy for by the end of summer). You’re looking forward to memory-building quality time—gotta get those Kodak moments—and taking pictures to cherish for years to come.

It’s hard to imagine that you’ll be ready to ship off these children, who fill you with love today, by the end of August. You’ll be bribing town officials to open the school early. You’ll join a team of ninja parents and pry open the school doors with a crowbar. You’ll stuff your kids inside the building (with a nutritionally balanced meal, of course) and chain the doors shut until 3 p.m.

So I’m passing along ideas—all green, low-cost, vegan, non-fattening and time–consuming for bored, whiny kids—to get parents through the summer.

Treasure hunting of any kind is always a great way to kill time—oh, and it’s fun for children. While my kids were swimming,
I’d hide little tchotchkes in the sand. Happy Meal toys, mini bag Skittles, Oreos in a Ziploc bag, etc. Whatever my offspring didn’t find, the next batch would.

Playing “Homemade Clue” is perfect if you can’t afford an expensive gift—you make finding the gift you did purchase into a game. Put the first clue in a gift box. “Clue One: find Clue Two in a place near a shoe.” My daughter remembers the fun she had searching for the clues, but doesn’t remember any of the presents.

Cookies to the rescue! For rainy days, making cookies from scratch is a great way to occupy your children for a large chunk of time. Messy, yes, but fun. The baking process teaches kids how to follow step-by-step directions, learn fractions, mix batter and such. These skills will be handy when they’re finally old enough to make you a daiquiri.

Another rainy-day saver: sewing. Needle, thread and some fabric scraps are all you need. I learned how to sew making Barbie clothes.

Many schools don’t teach script anymore. They call it cursive, and it’s being replaced by typing. Teach your kids to write script. How will they be able to write a real love letter if all they can do is text? Can’t hug a text. Plus, they might need to destroy evidence one day, and burning letters doesn’t leave an electronic trace. Ions to ashes.

Make a homemade card anytime. All those pretty scraps of paper lying around, now’s the time to use them.

Have lots of activities at the ready: bored children are destructive children—no, bored children are the 27th level of Dante’s levels of Hell. But once your preteen slides into the depths of teen angst, all is lost.

Good luck this summer!


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