I have several friends with young children who have mentioned that they don’t have any summer activities planned for their kids over the summer. Instead, they just “play it by ear” and go with it. Basically, if something comes up that they want to do with their kids, they do, but otherwise the kids have an unstructured summer.
While I believe that children should be allowed more down time in the summer, I still strongly believe that scheduling some summer activities is important as well. For example, my son will be attending three half-day camps this summer (each last five days), as well as, swimming lessons – and we just finished up t-ball. That may sound like a lot, but none of the activities I have planned for my son last longer than a half-day, and he won’t be doing more than one activity per day. I just have it planned where he has something to do throughout the whole summer.
So, what are the benefits of having your kids enrolled in summer activities?
1. Make New Friends. When you sign kids up to do one or more activities over the summer, more than likely, they will be meeting new people and making new friends. This is especially true for those of us with young children as meeting new people and making new friends helps them develop their social skills as they learn how to interact with other kids.
2. Keeps Them Busy. One of the constant complaints kids have during the summer is, “I’m bored.” When you have summer activities planned, this isn’t going to be something you hear very often. Even if you only have an activity scheduled that lasts half a day or less, your kids aren’t going to be bored. Keeping kids busy during the summer is important because it help keeps them out of trouble.
3. Provides Structure. Even though most of us are pretty lax during the summer months with our schedules, having summer activities planned for kids is beneficial because it does keep them on some type of a schedule. This is important because once school starts back up, they’ll be adjusting to the normal “school” schedule (getting homework done, eating dinner, taking a shower, getting in bed on time and waking up in time for the bus).
So, what types of summer activities should you get your kids involved in? It honestly depends on your kids and what their interests are. Of course swimming lessons are good for every child, but aside from that there are summer bowling leagues, art camps, horseback riding lessons, summer softball/baseball leagues, cooking classes and many more things available. Just look to your kids and find things that go with their interests.
For example, if you have a daughter who enjoys participating in beauty pageants, then look for a pageant coach and sign her up for lessons over the summer. There will undoubtedly be summer beauty pageants your daughter can compete in, but the regular lessons will help her learn how to interview better, model her pageant dresses better and perform her “talent” better. As long as you’ve got your kids enrolled in summer activities that support their interests, then your kids will reap the benefits of these activities.