May 23, 2010

Summer Projects

"I'm bored"
"I have have nothing to do"
"There's nothing to play with"
"Entertain me"
"No one is home to play"

The list goes on and on of the many ways my children will soon be asking me to be their entertainment committee during the summer.  I used to have a list of ideas for them to choose from this summer though I think I will have a different strategy now that they are getting older and have each other.

I may be in a minority here but I think it is good for my kids to struggle through feeling bored and find a solution for themselves with the things we have on hand.  Just as necessity is the mother of creativity I believe boredom is also the mother of creativity.  Sometimes my kids very best ideas come when they just finished telling me they had nothing to do and no friends to play with.  We have a double decker hammock inside a tree fort they created as the most recent proof.

Lately I have taken to answering that question with the offer of chores and they almost immediately remember or discover something they could do.  It is actually a pretty effective strategy for my kids and it forces them to be creative.  If they come back again in a short amount of time I will make them do chores and after a few of those reminders and several times of  follow through on actual chores, they pretty much stopped expecting me to figure it out for them and suddenly found a way to not be bored.

In addition during the summer we assign certain projects for those down times and if they really are at loose ends we will encourage them to work on their independent projects.  This summer they are working on photography, nature sketching , leather working, sewing, knitting, and woodworking.  In addition they have their summer reading and math requirements.  My job is to make sure they have the supplies on hand for those projects and the initial direction and instruction they need then to set them to the tasks.  The "I'm bored" moments are a perfect opportunity for that.  Chores are my follow up.  It rarely gets beyond those.

Don't get me wrong we will do a lot together as a family during the summer days and they will have friends here often and be visiting their friends, beaches, pools, park etc plenty.  Still for children it never seems to be enough and inevitably the "I have nothing to do" moments hit with more regularity in the summer.  This year I am prepared to head that off right from the get go.  I am guessing it will be a fairly creative and inventive summer, otherwise I will have a very clean home.  Either way I will put their boredom to good use.

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