Summer is here but you know how hard it is to get them unplugged from the TV and their gadgets. When I was a kid summer meant playing at the park, going swimming, hanging out at friends' homes, visiting grandparents and summer camps. You can give your kids a technology-free summer with a little creativity and input from the kids. They might protest at first but in time they will enjoy the activities you plan for them.
Picnic at the beach
Pack a portable lunch and take the kids on a picnic at the beach. The kids can build sandcastles, swim, play games with the beach ball or sit and make up funny stories. Some good lunch ideas include tuna sandwiches, sweet potato fries, lobster rolls, potato salad, chicken drummettes with dipping sauce and brownies.
This summer you and the kids can purchase an inexpensive photo album and create a family scrapbook. Take out all of the photos you have and paste them in the scrapbook. While doing this discuss your favorite childhood memories and talk about when you and your spouse first met and got married. Let the kids cut out pictures and shapes to put in the scrapbook.
Reading on the weekends
Another idea is to have your kids spend each weekend reading age-appropriate books on different subjects. Reading stimulates the brain and it builds your kids curiosity about the world around them. After they read the books, have them write detailed summaries of what they read. This teaches them how to remember what they learned.
Remixing grandma's recipes
Another idea is to remix your mother's famous recipes for the kids. If she is known for her coconut cake with white buttercream icing, remix it by baking the cake with a caramel mocha icing and tossing in diced pecans along with the coconut flakes. Or if you loved your mother's rigatoni with marinara sauce, you can make a brown beef gravy with the rigatoni and add stew meat.
Sewing classes at home
If you are skilled in sewing, why not teach this skill for the summer? Take out the sewing machine and sewing instruction books, then start teaching basic sewing skills to the kids. As they get better they can learn to sew simple outfits or buttons on clothing. This encourages creativity and problem solving skills.
Giving to the needy
Teach kids service to others by giving them volunteer opportunities. Have them go shopping for elderly neighbors, tutor kids who are in summer school, clean up local playgrounds with their church's outreach group or babysit for working mothers you know. This reduces the entitlement mentality and cultivates a compassionate attitude.
Another idea is to have the kids assist you in cleaning the garage. Assign them different tasks and play music to make time go by quicker. You can also time each task and eat healthy snacks during breaks.
These activities help your kids have fun without being glued to a screen, and it makes for great family bonding.