1. A Little Bird Told Me…
One thing I’ve learned working with children as a teacher is just how much they enjoy building things! Legos are just the beginning. Kids like to build, and I mean really build, projects from scratch. Have fun this summer with your older kids building a birdhouse from scratch (no store-bought aloud this time!). A Crafty Spoonful offers tips and suggestions here.
2. Tween For Hire
Get your older children out of the house this summer by helping them get a job. Some suggestions include:
- Talk to neighbors about a simple job opening they might have at their company over the summer (scanning documents, mail sorting, indexing, etc.)
- Lawn care/Landscaping
- Giving instrument lessons
- Working at a golf course
- Dog Sitting/Dog Walking
One of my boys’ absolute favorite hobbies is building and launching model rockets. I know… it sounds potentially dangerous and impractical, but, really truly, it’s very doable and safer than you would think. I recommend Estes rockets which can be found on their website, Amazon, or in hobby stores such as Hobby Lobby. Rockets vary in size and cost. Aside from the rocket itself, you’ll need to buy a motor and a launch pad. Motors are single-use only, but the launch pad and actual rocket can be used for years to come. It has become something of a family tradition for us to have a launching party every summer. Girls would enjoy building a rocket as well!!!
4. X Marks The Spot
If your children like hunting games, and, let’s be honest, most children do, geocaching is a GREAT activity to get involved with. Not only will it get you all out of the house and into nature this summer, but it’ll have your children working as a team for a common goal as well. Sure beats them being competitive and arguing all summer long! Learn more about geocaching and find out where you can participate in your state from geocaching.com. The element of surprise is so much fun!!
5. Open A Bank Account
Teach your son or daughter about personal financing by helping them open their first bank account. Take the time to really educate them on savings plans, writing checks, using debit cards, and the facts about credit. Learn more about opening a children’s bank account from Nerd Wallet.
6. Cooking School
Enroll your child in cooking and/or baking school. Not only will they learn important life skills, but they’ll also learn about nutrition and make some new friends along the way. Call around to some of your local grocers to ask if they offer children’s classes. National chains that offer courses include Sur la Table, Young Chef’s Academy, and William’s Sonoma. You can always just teach your children to cook or bake at home as well!
7. Sewing Classes
Another important skill you can have your older children learn this summer is sewing. Teach them at home, ask for help from a family member or friend, or seek out classes at fabric and hobby stores. Joann’s offers classes specifically for children.
8. Job Shadowing
Another way I’ve kept my oldest son busy the past two summers is by letting him job shadow or volunteer. It was actually his idea, which goes to show in what ways he’s more like his dad, and not me! Last summer he was interested in becoming a veterinarian so he volunteered at the zoo. This summer he’s been busy learning how to code and program at local tech company owned by a neighbor. Talk about learning valuable skills! Learn more about tween and teen job shadowing here.
9. Snail Mail
I don’t know about you, but we are super guilty in my home to ever think of handwriting letters at Christmas time. Not that writing to Santa isn’t a wonderful pastime for children, but spend some time this summer having your kids write to someone about something other than just what they want. Grandmas and grandpas would love the surprise of a thoughtful letter sent through the mail!
Yes, the teacher in me is coming out with this idea, but as someone who “adopts” 26 children every year and wants the absolute best for each of those kids, this is the ultimate best suggestion I can give. I have seen lives transformed in such wonderful ways when children learn to appreciate reading. It may be a struggle at first, and you’ll likely have to get on board with the commitment as well, but it is so worth it! The time you spend reading together will become cherished time now and as fond memories. I recommend using an incentive-based website such as bookadventure.com. While they don’t have every book in the library on their website, I’m actually quite impressed with their somewhat extensive reading list. After choosing and reading a book from their database (you can choose by age, reading level, genre, etc.), your child can take a 5-10 questions quiz on the website all about the book. They earn points and can earn rewards for reaching certain milestones. The website does offer some free prizes (seriously!), but they aren’t the most enticing. Perhaps you could work out prizes such as going to a movie, having a sleepover with friends, buying a new book, etc. Learn more about the program and register for an account here.