Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summertime Help

The whining and bickering and complaints of "I'm bored" that are now filling homes around the nation is akin to a summertime plague, like polio - only no one has developed a vaccine for it. Forget expensive day camps and pricey excursions to the movies. Instead, I offer you the following suggestions to survive the season:

Cheap Summer Activities For Kids
  1. Inexpensive toys - my 3 youngest spent over an hour yesterday watching foam capsules in a bowl of water expand into animal shapes. I found it in the dollar aisle in Target. (Granted, my kids can be easily amused - but even I was surprised by this one.)
  2. Water gun fights - you can buy decent SuperSoakers for 5 dollars each at Target or KMart, which toys will provide your kids with at least an hour of outdoor fun per use (just make sure to lock the door behind them so they can't sneak back inside too soon). Then they spend another half hour fighting over who puts the hose away.  Bonus!
  3. Blanket tents and pillow fights - strip all the kids' beds and pile the comforters and pillows neatly on the floor of one of the bedrooms. Tell them not to mess it up (this step is important - it renders the pile irresistible). Leave. Knit for half an hour until someone bonks their head on the side of the dresser.
  4. Food - McDonald's has one-dollar sundaes. Why not?
  5. Walks - Yeah, it's hot, but it wears them out. By the time you get home from the trek, they lie around the living room, too tired to fight. Remember hydration.
  6. Science experiments - Have each kid use a natural mosquito repellent on the right arm and DEET on the left arm. Send them outside for half an hour (again, lock door). When they come in, have them count the bites on each arm. Discuss your results.
  7. Remember, if you don't wear them out, they will wear you out. If all else fails, keep the kids busy doing any chores you can think of, until they run away and hide. As always, the best defense is a good offense.


  1. Grazie, grazie, grazie for your sweet words. And while we're exchanging compliments I just have to say that so many times your blog has me laughing. out. loud. My kids now know . . . whenever I'm at the computer and they hear me laugh, this is what they ask: "Are you reading that More, Messier blog again?" Even my husband knows.

    Anyway, I love you response to Kaylynne. I have no idea what you said, but it sounds so, so smart!

    Finally, your mosquito experment is brilliant. We're going to the army base for the 4th of July . . . PERFECT time for this experiment (my Dad refers to the mosquito as Georgia's State Bird).

    Have a great day.

  2. I will be the philosopher today. The reason so much horror in the public/ private schooled blogging community is being exhibited about having children “home all day” is simply that no one does well with change. We are in a state of disequilibrium (both parents and students) as we struggle to adapt to a new routine. It will all sort itself out again in a week or two. Homeschooled families would experience a similar unrest should they suddenly have their children in school all day long. The parents would be at a lost and their children would be tired and cranky. Change of any form is difficult for humans. The key to a successful transition of any type is to have an action plan and your ideas will be mighty helpful to those who have yet to come up with their own action plan.

  3. hahaha. I had never thought of my homeschooling as increasing my tolerance of being around kids! genius.

    The list is great as I peer over the tent filled livingroom, reflect on the water gun fight which is only crowded out of my mind by one word...(or two)...Yahtzee tournement. I also would add the word POOL--get to one EVERY morning and swim for 2 hours and in the afternoon they are so tired they either nap or play quietly in utter exhaustion. The pool is my friend and we are on a tour of area pools since we don't own one!

  4. Yep, that cracks me up, all the angst over actually having the kids around all day. Also the idea that the adults are somehow responsible for entertaining said kids all day. Sadly, I can't just chuck 'em outside today. We never got around to cutting the grass this past weekend. I'm afraid we'd lose them, or the ticks would organize and carry them off whole...

  5. LOVE the science experiment suggestion! Too bad we don'thave any bugs around here.
    I think I might save these suggestions for when I'm on maternity leave in a few weeks. Newborn + three hyper "i'm bored" children MIGHT just equal disaster in this house! :)

  6. You are brilliant as only a mother of six can be!

  7. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    Hey, I resemble those remarks. But I'd like to qualify and say that I've been a stay-at-home mom for nine years(maybe 10, everything is muddled at this point.) I've had numerous kids with me at all times since then. It's when they all congregate together and besiege me with their boredom or start attacking each other is when it gets messy.

    I have to agree with Mary Alice when she says it's that first week of disequilibrium. After that week of hell, we've fallen into a much better routine over here and I'm actually quite happy now.

    The suggestions were great. We will be heading to Target today to hit the dollar bins. I just hope I can leave there without spending the mandatory $100 is seems I usually spend when I go there for some toothpaste or apple juice.

  8. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    I love #6! And, thank you for reminding us to LOCK THE DOOR behind them. It's no fun if they come back inside after 10 minutes. It takes more time than that to work up some good knitting mojo.

  9. I'll see your Cat In The Hat, One Fish, Two Fish and Green Eggs and Ham and raise you a Are You My Mother and Go Dog Go...

  10. Ooh, Don Mills Diva, them's fightin' words!

  11. LOL!!! Actually, I love having the kids around all day. It means I can sleep in too and not be up at 5:30 am to start getting them up!

    Your list was too funny, though I may try some of them... :)

  12. Oh those books are stuck all right!

  13. Kind words are the only acknowledgement needed for knowing all the words to too many Dr. Suess books.

    I have to be a little different and tell you that I LOVE having my kids home for the summer. We sleep in, have lazy breakfasts on the deck, visit various parks, wade in the creek, hit every pool in a 10 mile radius. Summer is lazy, lazy, lazy around here. I miss them when they are gone and they (generally) get along well, so the quabbling is minimal. Well, I'm sure it helps that there are only two of them. . . And that they go back to school on July 8th.

  14. What age do you start them doing the chores? Perhaps you could provide some age-appropriate ones for four year olds?

  15. Oh yeah?
    I'll see your Green eggs and ham and One fish Two fish and raise you The Dr. Suess ABC book, Hop on pop, AND To think that I saw it on Mulberry street!

    You have no idea who you're dealing with!

    I am a non-homeschooler who is very happy that my kids are out of school. Today is their last day of school for the year (dang year round school!)
    My favorite part of them being out of school is that they have NO HOMEWORK!
    I also like the part where I get to sleep in.

    We have just over three weeks before they get to start the new school year (again, dang year-round school!) So I'm trying to cram as many fun summer activities as I can before they need to go back to school.

    Thank you for the fun suggestions for keeping my kids busy while they are home! We already do a few of the activities you listed. Might I add to your science experiment by suggesting that you have a contest to see who can refrain the longest from scratching the mosquito bites?
    Also, right now, Sonic is selling shakes for .99.

    Thanks for the link!

  16. If I had known that repeating the cat in the hat would get me a link I so would have. But you did come by so that (almost) makes up for the omission. And for your Seuss smackdown, I've got the Horton hatches the egg, word for word, the whole way through, with no prompting. (I actually learned it on purpose.) So bring it!

  17. BTW I did know where that quote came from I just figured you were kidding. I thought shecan't be serious that's too easy.
    We nonhome school moms are weak and a bunch of pansies. I am one that knows it only too well. I find it also works well to tell them to stay out of the water and the sunscreen. Hours of entertainment there.

  18. Also I forgot. Chores are my solution to boredom too. It has taken them a couple weeks of me feeling better (they have been out since the end of May) for them to learn not to complain about being bored or fighting. When that happens I will give them additional chores. If they complain about those I give them more. Unfourtunatly I think they are on to me. Dang it!

  19. I've eliminated 99% of the "I'm bored" comments around here by a) strongly implying that being bored is a weakness of creative mind and b) reminding them that extra chores are a great way to beat the boredom. :)

    Also, I've found that slushies at a nearby QT (gas station) are fantastic motivators for peace. Here's a bonus: They buy them with their own money!. So, I get kids that actually make efforts to get along, and I spend no money to do so (except on my own slushie - blue raspberry - yum!).

  20. Hee hee! I had two kids when I went to law school, so, yeah, Seuss was pretty much on the syllabus.

    Now . . . my kid goes to school and I'm happy as all heck that she's home this summer. I might not send her back to school. No camps. No classes. Nothing but PLAY with a little TRAVEL sprinkled on top. Just sayin . . .

  21. Thanks for all the cool summer ideas. They are sure to keep my kids alive for at least 1 more day!!! TA DA!!!!

  22. Excellent ideas!

    My kids learned to never say "I'm bored" - that earned them instant chores. They were terrified of my words, "I'll FIND something for you to do!"

  23. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    You are manner from heaven!

    I'm hooked on your lists...please don't stop - I'm not going to get through the holidays without more lists!

  24. BTW...Everyone needs a Moss-Covered-Three-Handled-Family-Gredunza...to help clean up the house...Just Like the Cat in the Hat!

    My Sister has a standard response to the "I'm Bored" statement...Well, you can always clean your ROOM!...amazing how fast they scurry away...
    Blessings, E

    I really liked the Hyperlinks...

  25. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    Oh yeah, Number 6 is a winner hands down.

    Dollar sundaes? I had no idea. Must go empty change purse...

  26. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    When I was young I once made the mistake of saying "I'm bored" to the nice grandmotherly lady next door. She called my mom and got permission and then proceeded to use me as free labor in her garden all day1 (with breaks for lunch and lemonade) I never again even HINTED I might be bored again - Mrs. Anderson would actually ask me if I was bored. I would come over and help weed because she was nice, but I was never bored.

  27. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    When I was young I once made the mistake of saying "I'm bored" to the nice grandmotherly lady next door. She called my mom and got permission and then proceeded to use me as free labor in her garden all day1 (with breaks for lunch and lemonade) I never again even HINTED I might be bored again - Mrs. Anderson would actually ask me if I was bored. I would come over and help weed because she was nice, but I was never bored.

  28. AnonymousJuly 01, 2008

    love the list of ideas!!

  29. As a homeschooling mother of 4....I just have to say "TRUE DAT". "Word up SIStah" and a hearty "AMEN".

    ok got that out of my system!

    Great post btw! Great Blog all around.

  30. What's this!.....what's this!

    There's something forgot!

    Like a rusty old coat hanger in the Caverns of Krott,

    like Sneeches on beaches with stars upon thar

    have I ever told you how lucky you are?

  31. You're brilliant, with all these ideas.

  32. I still remember most of the fox in socks book and my kids haven't read it in a few years. My sister had no kids by choice. She still remembers that book, as my younger brothers loved it when they were little. It's been 25 years since she read it to them.

  33. Fantastic suggestions. I'm going to perform the bug spray experiment tonight.

  34. Wow. I almost didn't comment and now I am so glad I did and took the time to read all these commentors. I mean, who are these crazy people who DO NOT HAVE BUGS IN THEIR YARD AND WOULD THEY PLEASE LIKE TO BORROW MINE? PRETTY PLEASE?!?!?

    Also, I am getting some other great ideas for remedying summer boredom from these sadistic, I mean cruel, I mean creative mothers. I take great pride in slowly ruining my children's lives by making them PLAY without organizing anything for them or without signing them up for anything and without spending our retirement account for their summer boredom cure. I am cruel and terrible that way, too.


  35. These are some fabulous tips. I knew a home schooler would know the tricks of the trade.

  36. Loved your summertime ideas for kids! I do most of them. I remember those expanding animal sponges from when I was a kid. Uh..a few years ago.

    Sorry I missed your Seuss. I've been out of it for a couple of days.

  37. Fabulous ideas! I will have to use them when I get back to life as usual. Right now I'm taking the "go back to working a real job for a month and let the babysitter listen to the whining" approach. I love it.

    And, I loved the mention on your blog - it always makes me happy to see my name in lights, ahem, print. And, I'll think about the mouse thing but honestly, it's my nickname, the name of my blog and, well, kinda like to see if you really blow chunks.

    I know. Feel the love.

  38. My kids know never to tell me they're bored or I'll give them a chore to do (not to be punative but just out of the goodness of my heart because I wouldn't want them to die of boredom). My mother did the same thing to me. I hated it when she did it. But here I am, perpetuating the cycle.

  39. Love the ideas! If your local McDonald's has an indoor playground, you could get even more mileage out of those sundaes. If you're near a Chick-fil-a, many of them have indoor playgrounds, and they also serve ice cream!