Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cool, Entertainment for Hot Summer Days

This year my oldest son, Max, finished pre-kindergarten and is experiencing his first real ‘summer break.’ Since I’m a big time planner, I started working on a summer calendar months ago: camps, swim lessons, mini-school sessions? But as we went down the list I had so eloquently come up with, Max only went for one thing: science camp.

At first I was taken aback. Who would want to sit around for several months with no plans? What kind of kid am I raising? And then it hit me – I’m raising a kid like me. I don’t think I attended one single camp during my summers, but I was a master mud pie chef, an inventor of any outside game that involved running and/or being chased, and an avid living room movie goer.

So, my husband and I thought up a few summer activities that are a little more ‘grass-roots’ if you will. As my son can attest, activities don’t have to be fancy – they just have to be fun!

Here are a few shockingly simple things our 5-year-old son loved:

Hide – and –seek
On paper this technology-free game seems like it would be boring, but a good old-fashioned round of hide-and-seek is highly under-rated! I never would have thought of playing it with Max, but my husband suggested it and it was an instant hit. Our kid loved it so much and my husband and I had fun too! It’s amazing all the hiding spots Max could fit inside! For older children, try flashlight hide-and-go-seek by turning off all of the lights in the house and ‘tagging’ with the light!

Take them out to the ball game

As an adult, baseball games tend to become more about the teams, the caliber of the seats and remembering where you parked. But we took our son and to him it was all about the crazy awesome food and the constant yelling. We went on dollar hot dog night and we gave him cash so he could stop the vendors and pay like a ‘big boy.’ He ate hot dogs, popcorn and nachos – and he danced like a mad man during the cheers.

Burn the midnight oil
As a parent, bed time is sort of engrained. Youngest son goes down at 7:30, Max is down at 8:30 and parents are down by 10. Rest is important, after all. But to a child, staying up ‘later than they’ve ever stayed up before’ is one of the coolest things; it’s literally something they brag about to their friends. So, my husband and I vowed to have a few late nights with Max, during which we watch movies, play board games and have a midnight snack. Simple? Yes. But my son thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Aleshia Howe is a Senior Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom to two boys.

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