Drinking from the Hose and Snapping Caps

BoxAnyone remember being shoved outside in the morning with a pocket full of caps, left to stave off dehydration at the garden hose?  Looking for the perfect rock and snapping those caps could take hours, heck, maybe all day.  We always had something to do.  Nowadays if you’re a parent you’ve probably heard, “I’m bored” more times than you care to count.  But here we are, at the beginning of another summer vacation, with months of free time ahead of them.  You know you’re busy, and the last thing you have time to do is play activity director.  Yet the thought of them in front of a screen all day is probably not what you’d like to see happen.  What can they do?

Well, it kind of depends on their age, but there are plenty of safe things for kids to do in our technology-heavy life that do not involve electronics.  I’m not saying your children will love this idea.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet they’ll throw a fit at the mention of severing that cord.  However, if you’re willing to join in and really encourage this (yes, it may involve bribery and negotiation to get started!) they will definitely benefit over time.  Here are some options for them:

  • Schedule time for unscheduled time—how can they be creative if every minute is planned?
  • Outdoor activities—build a “fort”, tree house, swing, etc.
  • Take a friend on a hike, bike trip, or backyard camp-out… They don’t have to be alone to be screen-free!
  • Build a game, castle, or fort from a box (like when we were young!)
  • Clean out their closet, garage, attic, or basement and have a sale
  • Help a neighbor with a chore
  • Read—if your kids are older, read the same book and discuss it
  • Volunteer—through your community, church, school organization, etc.
  • Take a class—dance, drawing, craft—why not do it with them?
  • Have a skill?  Teach a class—even if it’s just to a group of your neighborhood kids
  • Practice their entrepreneurial skills…form a group of babysitters, lawn mowers, laborers, etc. and connect them with the people who require those services.

If you think children need to be scheduled every minute, I encourage you to watch the video about a young boy named Caine who made an actual arcade out of cardboard.  Yes, an entire arcade of games!  There is also a follow-up video that shows what has transpired since the word of his creativity got around.  It has earned him nearly $250K for college.  Now that is a worthwhile use of cardboard and a summer vacation!


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