Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh, What Do You Do In The Summertime?

Our family is not doing much in the way of traveling this summer.  The hubster is taking his two month sabbatical from work next summer (he gets one every seven years) and we are starting to make big plans to go on a major trip about a year from now.  That means we are staying home this year, except for a possible camping trip at the Oregon Coast.  Tent camping?  Maybe. Hotel camping?   Probably.

So... since we aren't going anywhere, but all of Jabberjaw's friends did go somewhere, it means I have been busy being Activities Director to the 10-year-old.  I know, I know.  Everyone says I should let him figure out how to keep himself  busy, but if I left it up to him, he'd spend the whole summer watching TV, playing video games, and whining about how he has no one to play with.

So I've been hard at work planning some fun activities for me and Jabberjaw to do this summer.  My older three children are teens and therefore they have their own agendas and are independent enough to carry out plans with their friends (most of whom are staying around town, like us).  I'm finding that it's working out really well with it just being the two of us for most of our outings.  Jabber is the perfect age now where we have a lot of fun and can actually carry on a conversation.  I'm enjoying getting to know him as an individual, apart from his siblings.  Being the youngest, he is often overshadowed by the older sibs and spending time alone with him is really giving his personality a chance to shine.  He is quite witty and funny and is really enjoying the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with me, without being pestered by the older kids.

First order of business this summer, for all of the children, was to set up ground rules about the TV and video games.  I established a "No TV Zone" between the hours of noon and 8:00 pm every day.  I can't tell you how lovely it has been to not have the television blaring in the background all day long.  It's been quite peaceful, actually.  Video games are limited to 2 hours a day.  The kids can earn a DVD movie during the day by reading for an hour. 

And speaking of reading... I've got the family doing a lot more reading this summer (Yay!).  Not only can they earn opportunities to watch movies, but I have also made a summer reading chart (thanks to Heidi of The Bartle Bulletin) that we are working on together as a family. When we reach our combined goal of 9,000 total pages read, we get to go to Oaks Park, a local amusement park.  It's really motivating to just about everyone in the family.  Everyone except Genius.  My 15-year-old son couldn't give a rip about going to the amusement park, even when I said he could bring a friend.  But I found a different motivator for him.  A certain amount of pages read earns him a dollar toward a video game. He was all over that!  He read for a full two hours in a row today!  He told me he can't remember ever reading that much at one time in his life before today.  Ya just gotta speak their language, ya know?

Besides reading, we are also working as a family to organize and de-junk the house.  The kids earn allowance for chores but they also have to get work done in order to earn privileges such as outings, hanging out with friends, and having sleepovers.  Bribery Blackmail Incentives work wonders!

I've also found some really great free and cheap stuff to take Jabberjaw to do.  Our local movie theater is running a Kid's Summer Movie Program, where we can go see family movies every Tuesday and Wednesday morning for $1.  I also found a Kids Bowl Free program online that is offered in many bowling alleys nationwide.  It's great! My kids can bowl two free games EVERY DAY all summer long (not that we'll go every day, mind you).

Some other places we plan to go and things we plan to do this summer are:

  • Zoo
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Children's Museum
  • Cub Scout Day Camp
  • Drive-In
  • Water Parks/ Aquatic Center
  • Local Fairs and Amusement Parks
  • Library Programs/Events
  • Children's Play Centers (a la Chuck E. Cheese)
  • Lakes & Rivers
  • Hiking, Biking, Outdoors
  • Skating (roller, ice)
  • Berry Picking/Jamming/Gardening
  • Cooking/Baking

What kinds of things do you plan to do with your  kids and family this summer?


mrsmomx6 said...

I'm totally impressed. I think I even got an extra idea or two for our 6 kids. My husband got a new job after 13 years & our summer vacation plans were TRASHED! I LOVE the idea of a dollar for reading a set amount of pages in a book. BRILLIANT!

I think I'll give the 12 year old a dollar for every time he DOESN'T open his mouth!!!!!

Sharon from voiceBoks

S.B.Niccum said...

You put me to shame! I'm all about the bribes too.
Thanks for the follow!

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