Monday, May 28, 2007

The Summer Fun Box

Here's an idea that our family recently created. It's called our Summer Fun Box, and it's a very fun and economical idea for keeping busy throughout the summer.

First, we took a plain box and cut a hole in the middle large enough for a child's hand to be inserted into it. Then we decorated the box with plain white paper and colored summer type images onto it. Summer-themed gift wrap would work just as well, but my five-year-old is really into art and had a great time drawing and coloring it with me.

Next, our family sat down and brainstormed ideas for activities we could do this summer. Most involve the outdoors, but we threw in some indoor activities as well. Here's a sampling of what we came up with:

Play in the sprinkler
Visit the library
Go on a nature hike, and the chooser gets to be in charge of the camera
Movie night -- chooser picks the film, and Mom and Dad provide the popcorn
Ride a bus downtown
Have a picnic lunch in the backyard
Make a collage with items we find outside
Paint some rocks
Chooser picks dinner
Let's go swimming today
Go on a bike ride
Take a walk through the skyways downtown

These were just a few of MANY ideas we brainstormed, and all are economically friendly and fun for kids. The key to making this activity work is to let the kids come up with the ideas. I offered some suggestions, but for the most part, the kids were really great about coming up with excellent ideas.

For good measure, we tossed in some "Big Ticket" items that were truly special activities:

A Day Trip to the Zoo
A Day Trip to the Children's Museum

We happen to have memberships to both places, so these activities wouldn't cost us too much.

Here's how it works:

Each night after supper, one child draws an activity from the box. Whatever is drawn will be the activity we will do the next day. That way, arrangements can be made and supplies can be gathered by me the night before so we don't waste precious activity time.

Also, you may want to lay some ground rules. In our family, Big Ticket items may have to be put back in the box and redrawn if we already have an appointment scheduled for the next day. Also, have a plan "B" for rainy weather (although most activities can be completed indoors with a little imagination).

A word of warning: This activity requires A LOT of flexibility on your part. If you're a Type A personality like myself, you may have trouble diverting from routine.

Enjoy! Oh...and I'd love to know any good activities your family comes up with!

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