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
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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.
- Food - McDonald's has one-dollar sundaes. Why not?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.