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I’m bored! 5 ways to help your kids conquer the summer time slump

little boy on a scooter in summer

What two words make parents cringe the most? “I’m bored!” It usually comes with a whine and pleading, desperate eyes. Parents know they want to get kids up and active as much as possible in the summer, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. If your idea bucket is empty, these five activities are sure to capture kids’ imaginations and possibly set you up for some much-needed hammock time.

1.    Make a TikTok

Most kids are technologically adept, so turn yours into a junior Wes Anderson with your smartphone. Kids can take video of anything that inspires — a hike, a toy haul, a review of a game they’re playing or book they’re reading. If they’re old enough for TikTok, or you feel comfortable supervising their private account, it’s a great app to edit their clips and add fun sounds and filters. Parents, you can share them to reels later for all your IG friends. 

2.    Go on a scavenger hunt

All you need is a list of items to get started, but think outside the box. Have your kids look for “something green” or “something round” instead of “leaf” or “ball”. The longer the list, the longer the hunt! TIP: try making it a virtual scavenger hunt and get your kids to take photos of all the items on the list. They still get up and moving, but it allows you to include on your list things that aren’t easily carried or removed (such as a license plate with the letter B). Encourage kids to work together. Award prizes for the most creative, unique or rare finds.

3.    Host a backyard triathlon

Bring the spirit of friendly competition to your backyard by creating a swimming/biking/running race. Modify it for your property and your kids’ ages. For instance, no swimming pool? No problem! Try a run through a sprinkler or hop through a couple of kiddie pools. Then get rolling on a bike, trike, blades or skateboard – whatever wheels your kids love. Finish with a running race. To even the playing field, get older kids to run a three-legged race together, or add obstacles like a hopscotch or playground equipment. Be sure to include a finish line for extra drama, and award “medals”. Invite the whole neighbourhood!

4.    Sleep in a tent

If you can’t get to a camp ground this summer, a night in a tent might be just the ticket to banish boredom. Roast hotdogs and cook s’mores over the barbecue, then watch the stars come out. Get out the flashlights and make hand shadow puppets on the tent walls. A perfect recipe for a night without TV and tech.

5.    Make a bike parade

Start with a bucket of soapy water and a couple of sponges and wash the bikes. Then soup them up with decorations. Snip coloured straws into one-inch pieces, then cut them up the middle to create unique spoke ornaments. Just slide them on in whatever pattern you like. Tape streamers to the handlebars. Don’t forget the helmets, too. Add crepe paper flowers, streamers and stickers to make them special. Then set out on your route. Make it at least a block and choose a time of day when people are outside so they can admire everyone’s handiwork. The more parade participants the better.

A version of this article was originally published in 2015. 

 

a man carrying two children

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