Now that summer is in full swing, you’ve likely been hearing the phrase, “I’m bored,” more and more frequently. You also might be all out of ideas to keep your kids occupied during these long days of summer vacation — which spells bad news for your sanity. Don’t give up hope quite yet though!
Trying to not only dispel boredom – but also encourage your kids to learn about new subjects and topics – can seem like a constant uphill battle, but there are some easy options worth trying out this summer:
Cultivating an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) as well as project-based learning when your kids are young (especially girls) can have them feeling more confident about pursuing a career in these fields later in life. STEAM, unlike STEM, recognizes the importance of the arts and humanities, meaning more room for creativity.
Furthermore, as University of Concordia explains, “The number of STEAM jobs in the United States will grow by 14% between 2010 to 2020.” With that in mind, summertime is a great time to inspire your kids with fun outdoor experiments and cultivate their creativity and hopefully foster an interest in STEAM that can lead to a future career.
Of course, STEAM activities don’t have to be a daily thing. Encouraging your kids to do their own research about the next fun (and reasonable) experiment or activity they want to do throughout the week can help keep them busy, and when the weekend comes you can all do it together.
You don’t have to be a STEAM expert yourself either; there are plenty of kid-friendly activities, toys, and gadgets that even a rookie mathematician or engineer can manage.
Summer Field Trips
Staying home day in and day out can definitely get old for your kids. Taking some quick field trips throughout the summer could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Consider an outing to your local farmer’s market. It’s another great, educational way to keep your kids occupied, and you can also snag some fresh produce for lunch and dinner.
Teaching kids the importance of eating local also helps them understand the importance of being environmentally conscious and will hopefully inspire them to become advocates for sustainability. By speaking with vendors at your local farmer’s market — or perhaps you have the kind of connections that can take you and your crew straight to the farm — your kids can learn more about the advantages of eating local and as well as the challenges.
By encouraging them to learn more about how food affects communities, lifestyles, and Earth in general, they can hopefully get a better appreciation for all those dinners you make for them.
Cultivate a New Skill
Summer might be the perfect time to enroll your kids in either a new music class or second language class. Granted, this idea might require you to employ your very best negotiating skills – however, it’s definitely worth a shot. Learning a new language or instrument will not only keep your kids busy but can benefit them in the long run.
According to Medical News Today, “…a child psychiatry team has found that learning a musical instrument could help children to reduce feelings of anxiety, gain a greater control of their emotions and give a stronger focus to their attention.” Furthermore, playing an instrument also helps with coordination and motor skills. Ask your kids what instrument they would love to play and see what tutor options are available.
This kind of activity can get expensive, so if you’re trying to save up money, you might consider going the language route, which can be just as helpful for children’s development and growth. Learning a second language is great for cognitive health and helps to refine and elevate your kids’ attention skills.
Learning a second language can also help them later in life, giving them an added skill to put on their resume. Ask your kid what language they’d be interested in and see if you can find some language learning books — or better yet, a native speaker willing to give lessons.
Of course, if after a while, your kids still seem to resist the idea of attending a new music or language class, then there’s no need to force them — but who knows, they might discover a new found hobby they’re excited to work at this summer and beyond.
Avoiding the phrase, “I’m bored,” this summer might require pulling some pretty spectacular tricks out of your hat. However, combining fun and learning is possible, and it can help give your kids a more rich, fulfilling summer — you also might even discover a new family tradition!
Moreover, prioritizing education during the summertime can help them stay on track and ready to take on the new school year when it finally does arrive. Good luck!
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @ataylorian with any questions or suggestions.