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Mama Mondays-“Summertime and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high…”

“What are you doing with your kids this summer?”

You mean besides throwing them in the backyard with the sprinkler and telling them they can come inside when they can get along?

Let me first say this- I am a firm believer in letting your kids be bored. I am not a human play station. I am not a circus performer. I am not in charge of my child’s creativity. I don’t mind planning fun activities, but the fact is, my job has not stopped simply because my children are not in school. I want my kids to have fun memories of their summers, but I know part of those memories are things that they do without my leading. Mamas, resist the urge to feel like you need to entertain your kids every minute of the day! It probably seems tempting to schedule so that you don’t hear the bored speech, but kids need to be able to figure out how to entertain themselves.

But, of course you are going to want to be able to plan some fun activities and use this time to pour into your kids, so here are some ideas…

Zoo trip- have your kids carry blank notebooks. In the car on the way, talk about Genesis chapter two when Adam was naming the animals. At the zoo, have the kids draw a picture of the animal and make up their own name for it, pretending to be Adam or Eve. Maybe offer a prize- most creative name wins an ice cream cone.

Camp swap- find another mom and have a skill camp. Example- Another mom and I swap our kids for the week or certain days of a week. On my week, I have a “Baking Camp” (or whatever you feel like you could teach- sports, crafts, bible, reading, etc). This means that you might have a crazy busy week when it’s your turn but it also means that there will be another week that you get a break and your kids get to engage with another adult.

Start a pizza garden- gardening can be intimidating and seem really time-consuming, but there is a way to do it that is simple and easy enough for the kids to do. Containers are a great way to start small with gardening, and don’t require a lot of prep work. You can buy separate pots or a one long box, and plant tomatoes, basil, garlic and onions. You could alter this for salsa (tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, onions), or do a herb garden with all different kinds of herbs (basil, dill, mint, thyme are easy to grow). Growing a garden is a great avenue to talk with your child about how the Lord provides for us, about growing in Christ, about His creativity.

Go the a thrift store and let each child pick out a basket. Let them choose a theme (cooking, gardening, movies, beauty, reading, etc), and choose items to go into the basket. Let them decorate their baskets with ribbon and give them to neighbors and friends as gifts.

Cooking show- choose an easy dinner recipe and have your kids make the shopping list. Buy the ingredients and allow them to make dinner while you film, and they pretend to be the hosts of a cooking show. Over the summer, collect their recipes and let them put together a family cookbook.

Writing letters- we are losing the art of writing letters, this is a tragedy! One of my goals is to have my kids write one letter of encouragement or thanks a day. Try writing letters to the people who serve your family that might not usually get notes of encouragement (doctors, dentists, postal worker, etc). Don’t forget to have your children write letters to their siblings. Especially for those days when tempers are short and words are harsher, writing encouraging letters to siblings can help heal those hurt feelings.

Inner beauty day/Outer beauty day- I am planning a “day of beauty” with Selah where we will study Proverbs and the idea of what makes a person beautiful. We will do spa treatments and pedicures, and then spend some of the day practicing gentleness and kindness.

Kid of the day- Allow one child to be the “Kid of the Day”- that child gets to choose the activity of the day, and what is cooked for dinner. Have each person encourage that child at dinner, and that child gets to stay up and have some special one on one time with mom and dad.

Popsicle giveaway- have your kids make easy popsicles out of popsicle sticks, dixie cups, and juice. Put them in a cooler with ice and take them to the park, and let your kids hand them out to friends.

Skill a week- choose one skill for each child each week, and spend the week teaching your child that skill. The first week of summer, my children are learning how to do their own laundry- sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting it all away. Set aside a reward at the end of the week for learning this new skill and doing it with a good attitude.

What about you- share some of your summer ideas!

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

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