Summer Vacation

Dear yayas,

Summer is almost here and I’m worried that my kids (ages 5 and 8) won’t have any fun this year. I know that sounds crazy, but money is tight, stress is high, no school schedule creates chaos in our house, and I’m already dreading it. And I feel guilty for even saying that out loud, but it’s true. Help! I want my kids to enjoy their time off from school, but we have no time or money for a vacation. I don’t want to disappoint my kids. Any suggestions? 

– Summer Bummer

How about camping in the back yard? Or even the living room? Kids love tents and could spend hours playing in them no matter where they are. I would also look on Pinterest for cheap DIY activities for kids. Try food related fun like making popsicles, make your own pizza night, s’mores, and baking cookies. I would make meals extra creative by including them and picking a theme each night or just on the weekends. Other thoughts are looking for free activities in your area. Summer is usually a time where there are more things happening for kids as they are out of school. Maybe plan a weekly picnic at the park with friends. Happy Summer! – Nadia

It sounds like you’re already in tune with your kids and have a good idea of what they like to do – use that knowledge to create a schedule or plan events that are low/no-cost and that they’ll enjoy! Think of it as a summer to create connections with your kids, and those connections can happen anywhere and any time. Yes, a vacation would be really fun, though there are lots of less expensive ways to create memories – which is really what it’s all about anyway. – Diana

Hi Summer Bummer! Your name sounds like a misnomer to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting your kids have a little “boredom” this summer. It will stimulate creativity, strengthen the bond between them, and help them learn problem-solving skills. You can encourage them to start their own book club, perhaps by themselves or with kids from the neighborhood. You can make art a big focus and use materials that are recycled from household items easily. You can encourage them to learn something new, like finger knitting or braiding friendship bracelets. (YouTube has instructions for everything!) You can enforce lots of time outdoors: nature walks, summer swims, bike riding, fort building and gardening. Their vacation may not look like their BFF’s vacation, but that is ok. Keep your attitude positive and they will likely follow suit. Enjoy your summer, momma! – Cortney

Happy Summer! Not to worry, your kids will enjoy their time regardless! The “no school” is what creates the vacation! All the extra time and space does not have to be “filled.” Enjoy the unscheduledness! What worked for us was to gradually bring in the schedule again at about 2 weeks before school started. Summer chaos is okay! Maybe try and keep one daily scheduled event (like breakfast together at the table or dinner). One of the greatest gifts my grandmother gave me was the lesson to allow my child that freedom of being by themselves and letting them have the time to imagine, explore and create (that I didn’t have to entertain them nor did they have to be entertained). This also allowed me the freedom to work in the house or yard and allowed them the security of my being there. Also, summer fun can include friends (different ages) coming over to play. I used to freeze juice into slushies for everyone (it was such a big deal and so easy –haha). Summer is also a great time for starting a list of chores or having a special project that is ongoing (doing them together can be fun, too) Have a wonderful summer! – Taren

Yay, Summer! This might be a sad thought at first, but we only have a handful of summers with our kids. Warm weather, special memories, family adventures…why not give in to the magic of season? You know what my favorite summer memories included? Catching fireflies with my siblings in the yard. Eating corn on the cob and watermelon for supper. Popscicles as treats. A cheap plastic swimming pool on the back patio. Going to grandmas’ houses more often. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top. Just being together with family and having it “feel like summer” while we were together.

Next month’s guided journal topic is all about family fun. Join us for the journaling! It might help you brainstorm some affordable, fun ideas for you and your kids this summer. Take the pressure off yourself. Make it about connection with your kids above anything else. Shake off expectations and just play together. – Lori Beth

Kid’s don’t have to go away on vacation to have fun, they don’t have to rush off to school! You can have a relaxing breakfast, bake cookies, play water games, get them into a sport (like playing catch with one of those big rubber balls), read them stories (maybe one that is continued so you can read everyday), go to the library, rent a classic movie and have movie night with popcorn, plant a garden, play board games, turn the sprinklers on and run thru it! People forget that kids need to just hang out in the summer and enjoy the family being together. – Grama Claire Bear

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