Dear Crabby, How should I keep the kids busy during summer vacation?

Dear Crabby, How should I keep the kids busy during summer vacation?

Thanks, Summer Thyme

Dear Ms. Thyme,

Seems as though this question comes up in one form or another every summer, and boy are you getting a jump on it. Usually, half way into summer vacation, parents are frazzled and kids are driving them crazy. I’m a firm believer that if you have children, you must accept 18 years of frazzlement and craziness.

Perhaps you’re a planner and just need good advice. You are correct in your question—kids need to stay busy—but what to do for three full months?

Well. Kids like to be wet, dirty, and free to explore. I always recommend our local parks and trails. Give them a lake or pool. Tramp through the forest. Build sandcastles. You get the idea. However, you’ll run through that list quickly and need more.

Dear Crabby with a Laptop ComputerBack when I was a kid—before the Internet, when families were lucky to have one phone or one TV in the house—my parents sent us away for the summer. Well, it was just a few weeks, but at the onset it felt like the whole summer vacation. We had distant cousins out of state—one of the other “M” states I believe, Missouri, Minnesota, or maybe Milwaukee—I don’t remember exactly. It was a long drive in a car without air conditioning. The story was we were going to help our dear cousins with their small farm because their mother had taken ill. It sounded like work.

It was. Chasing barnyard animals and tending crops. But we fell into a rhythm and we got used to getting up before the sun. In fact, we learned a few things and had fun getting muddy with the pigs. We had big dinners with the family and laughed half the night. The good news is their mother got better, we learned the value of helping family, and we had a hoot doing it. We didn’t want it to end.

Now, sending your kids to a farm for summer may be too much for some, but here are some closer to home ideas. The Rochester Community Schools just mailed out their summer 2015 program schedule guide—everyone in the area should have received one. I was amazed at all the activities, sports and whatnot one could find to do. Cheerleading, football, or lacrosse for sporty kids; Legos, water rockets, or chess for some others; and they even have adult programs, such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Line Dancing.

Look at your local art center, community house, and recreation center. There will be a lot to choose. I took Yoga a couple summers ago and the class was really impressed with how long I held a pose—then they realized I had just fallen asleep.

Best Wishes Summer,

Sincerely, Dear Crabby.

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