It can be so tricky to keep your Tween busy and active over the Summer. In a perfect world, when school lets out for Summer Break, the kids can go outside with their friends, play, hang out, and do general “kid stuff”.
But, life isn’t perfect. You may have to work during the day and need a solid and long-term solution for the kids. Or, you might be home during the day and they need a little something more to occupy their time.
For me, when I think about Summer Break, I think about fun things we can do as a family and spending time outside. My daughter, on the other hand, thinks that the end of school means she will spend endless days sitting in front of the tv, playing video games, listening to music, and of course spending time with her friends.
I’m home during the day, but I’m working from home. We don’t need a daily 8-5 solution, but she gets bored very easily (and drives us both crazy) if I don’t have somewhat of a plan in place before the last day of school.
My plan is not to fill “every waking moment” with activities in June and July. That’s no realistic. There are times when she will need to entertain herself, but I do need a few things planned out to break up the 9 weeks before school starts back again.
If you read (I’m Excited For The First Day Of School) you already know that my daughter thrives on a schedule. She wants to know she can hang out with her friends on this day and that day and then on this day we have (fill in the blank) activity planned.
While she does need some downtime to just relax. She also needs “activity” to stimulate that beautiful brain and keep her busy and active.
There are a ton of great options to keep your Tween busy over the summer. Some activities cost money, but some are free and might even help them mature into young adults. Bonus!!
Tutoring – If your young student excels in a particular subject, they may be able to tutor a younger friend and possibly even earn a little cash. You may also consider having one of your friend’s older children tutor your child to gain more confidence in a particular subject before the new school year starts. If it’s a teenager they look up to and admire, it may actually be something they look forward to every week.
Baby Sitting – At the young age of 10, 11, or 12, your tween may not be quite old enough or mature enough to be left at home alone by themselves, let alone be responsible for another small child. But, they can help “entertain” small kids while you clean or do yard work. This could also be a great opportunity to help out another mom, while also teaching your tween some responsibility. Consider taking turns or trading favors with your mom friends.
Volunteer in the community. About a year ago my daughter was required to complete some volunteer work in the community for her black belt in karate. I was surprised at the number of organizations that accept help from young kids. Most require they be accompanied by a parent but it’s a terrific way for them to see the needs of the world and help out. For her project, she helped at a Senior Living Facility (and loved it). She helped with Bingo, sat with the seniors during their lunch, helped set up a party for the residents, and even painted their fingernails.
Some of her karate friends helped at the local animal shelter walking the dogs, while others worked at places like the local food pantry.
Reading Programs are available at local libraries and stores like Barnes and Noble. Kids read a certain number of books and then receive free books when they complete the program. You can also create your own reading program and reward system at home.
Every day during the summer, my daughter has to do her chores and at least 30 minutes of reading before she does anything “fun” (her words). We usually make a couple of trips throughout the summer to the library and the second-hand bookstores in town to make sure she has books she looks forward to reading.
VBS/Church Programs have always been a big hit at our house. Ever since my daughter was little she has loved participating in Vacation Bible School. She loves learning about God and Jesus, but she enjoys the songs and activities as well. As she’s gotten older, she cannot wait until she “ages out” of the participant stage and can be a youth helper. She loves to play with and help the little kids.
Most churches will start posting their VBS schedule on their websites before school lets out for the summer.
Day Camps are a great way to fill a week with fun and activity. You can do an internet search for Day Camps in your area. Our local university offers all kinds of one-week sports camps (like these). Don’t forget to check out organizations like YMCA, your local community centers, city parks, and even the zoo.
These will probably cost money, but we have done one or two (depending on the cost) in summers past and she had a blast.
Summer Sports – from soccer to baseball, rock climbing to martial arts, there is no end to the possibilities to keep them active and off the couch if they like sports.
Our karate studio, for instance, offers a short summer program for the kids at a discounted rate.
*If your child is already involved in a sport, ask if they offer any opportunities for your tween to help coach or mentor the younger teams.
Boys and Girls Clubs offer fun programs especially if you need something all day while you work during the summer.
Ask around. Get on the internet and make some phone calls. I bet you’ll find some terrific options in your area to keep your tween busy over the Summer and keep mom happy!!