The summer transition. It’s not always the smoothest for families. We’re in it over here. Stress about finishing school, a million and one events, they’ll be home for nearly three months. I used to scour the internet for family summer schedules. I’d try to ensure the kids were well rounded in the summers, reading, sleep schedules, eating nutritious meals on a schedule, activities, and camps. Once I opened the shop, I also ran summer camps while their dad worked all summer doing masonry. Come July, the kids would be close to feral. Now that the kids are older, I can embrace midsummer’s unstructured, fall-apart nature. This is when they’d play, we’d go to the woods, they’d just play, we’d go to the shop after camp, they’d just play, we’d stay in jammies all day, they’d just play. They’re kids; they need to be bored and figure out how to just be. As caregivers, we provide the container. So instead of giving you a schedule or more tips on being the best caregiver ever, I’ll give you a few low-effort ideas on giving your kiddos a creative space to get bored and then get crafty.
10 Low-Effort Strategies for a Boring Summer
- Dig a Hole: Why kids love this is a mystery, but it’s maximum effort, and they dig it!
- Build a Stick Fort: A timeless classic. If you can’t build a kid-sized one, collect smaller sticks for a stuffie-sized fort.
- Cardboard: Save all that cardboard to build a human maze or sweet reading nook.
- Water! Really, anything with water involved.
- Less is More: Create some scarcity of resources. Kids are the most creative when they have to get a little scrappy. One summer, our kids and their buddies found two milk crates and “built” a secret society in the four feet between our house and the neighbors. They’d have their kid meetings there every day to figure out what weird pretend game they were playing for the day.
- Make a Space for Mess: Figure out a designated space for messy work. No go? Just send them to us.
- Junk Build: Save all your bottle caps, cardboard tubes, and other cool junk for low-stakes creative build projects.
- Woodworking Light: Hit up the scrap wood section at Home Depot. Add a hammer, nails, saw, sandpaper, and a bottle of wood glue.
- Indoor Forts: Grab the bed sheets, blankets, and pillows and build a cozy spot to hang.
- Costume Party: Fill a basket with scrap fabric, scissors, and craft glue. Add some cardboard crafting for props, etc.
If you’d like more ideas for a creative summer, check out my book, Maker Camp. It has twenty fun project ideas and loads of information for caregivers. On sale on Amazon!