Looking for Something for the Kids to Do This Summer?

I’m not sure how many of you have young children at home, but I have a 4 ½ year old little boy who has spent the last 9 months in an all-day 3 year old program at one of the public schools. While many parents think all-day programs for 3 year olds are a bit much, my son actually loved it. Not only did he love it, but he thrived with it. The program was offered by one of the nearby local schools and we chose to enroll him because he was getting bored at home. In addition, he is an only child (until this August) so he really needed the day-to-day social interaction the program offered him.

Anyways, my son and I both enjoyed the benefits of the all-day program, but now that summer is merely 10 days away for us, I’m panicking about what I’m going to do with him all summer. I’m afraid that he’s going to get bored really easy. Maybe there are some of you out there who can also relate? Even if your children are in pre-K, Kindergarten or another age in grade school, I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for ideas to keep the kids busy this summer.

I figured I would go ahead and share with you what I’ve figured out so far…just to help you get some ideas going through your head about what you can do with your kids this summer.

  • T-Ball – My son loves to run and play various sports. This Saturday will be his last indoor soccer game, and so we enrolled him in t-ball again this year. Last year was his first year to play, and it went pretty well considering he was the youngest on the team. We play through our local YMCA because the league isn’t competitive at this age (3-5 year olds on a team) and is mainly for an introduction to the sport. So, we’ve got him signed up to play again this year. There are only 8 games, starting in May and wrapping up in the middle of June, so it won’t be that long for him.
  • Swimming Lessons – Once t-ball is finished, I’ll get him signed up for swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are also offered at our local YMCA and they are once a day for two weeks (5 days a week) lasting only 30 minutes per class. He thinks swimming lessons are fun, but I do it to ensure he learns about water safety and how to swim. I’m considering signing him up for two summer sessions this year since he’s a little older.
  • Art and Science Camp – We have a local organization that puts on summer art and science camps for kids ages 4-12. These camps are only 5 days each and you can choose for full-day or half-day. I’m enrolling little man in one week of each for only a half-day (8am-11:30am).

Above are the three main things I have planned for my son this summer. I thought about sending him to a Kid’s Day Out program once or twice a week, but I want him to be able to enjoy the summer playing at home as well as enjoying some other fun activities. Of course, we will be doing some other fun things this summer like visiting the local Splash Pad, going to the Zoo, attending Bible School and catching a movie or two. We’re also planning a fun week-long vacation to Colorado as well. And, at the end of the summer, my son will be dressing up in a formal tuxedo as the ring bearer for one of my friends’ wedding. So, I think the summer will be a pretty busy and fun one for us!

When considering things for your kids to do this summer, try not to cram pack the schedule too much. And, if your kids are young, like my son, consider just opting for half-day programs and/or camps to ensure there is plenty of down time at home for the kids to enjoy too!

Summer Programs for Young Children

As summer draws closer by the day, many parents are starting to search for things for their young children to be involved in over the summer. This is especially true for those of us with children who have been in all day programs during the school year. The thought of an entire summer with your little ones home every day scares some of us. Why? For me, it’s the thought of my child becoming bored.

After being in an all-day school program for the past nine months, my 4 ½ year old son has gotten used to being around other kids his age and pushing his limits as he learns new things five days out of the week. Now, for the summer, he’s going to be at home with his mom…bored out of his mind. At least, that’s what I’m afraid of. Are you feeling the same way? Below are some summer programs for young children offered by many communities that will help provide some relief from the mundane for both you and your child during the summer.

  • Art Camp – The great thing about young children is that they love to explore through creativity. Many communities have summer art camp programs available for children ages four and up. These programs may be half-day or full-day, depending on the place putting the camps on. Regardless of how long the days are, your child is sure to have fun!
  • Tumbling and Dance Camps – Another popular summer program for young children is tumbling and dance camps. The great thing about these camps is they work for boys and girls as they are generally offered at the same time. If you have young girls who love to dress up in pretty fancy dresses and dance about the house, then dance camp is the perfect solution! For boys, tumbling is a great option because they still get to run and jump, but they learn how to do it safely.
  • Music Camps – You may have a child who enjoys music more than anything else. If this is the case, then you should definitely check into the music camps your community offers. Many children begin learning how to play various types of instruments when they are young (around three or four), therefore, there are many summer music camps offered to young children, as well as older children.
  • Bible School – Finally, another popular summer program many young children attend is Bible School. More than likely, your community will have several churches putting on a Bible School program during the summer.

The majority of the summer programs listed above for young children are generally only one or two weeks long, making it possible for you to enroll your child(ren) in more than one activity over the summer to help keep them busy!

Boy or Girl: What Am I Having?

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting things a woman can experience during her lifetime. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. My husband and I had been trying, but not too seriously, and I took a test when I realized I was two weeks late. As silly as it sounds, we were both shocked when it came back positive.That feeling passed quickly as we began to tour the baby aisles at Wal-Mart, Target and Babies R’ Us. We couldn’t help but look through the racks of baby girl dresses, little boy suits, onesies, tiny shoes, socks and other types of baby clothing. The weeks seemed to drag on forever while we waited for the 20 week ultrasound that would reveal if we were having a boy or a girl.

You may be just as anxious as we were waiting to find out the sex of your unborn baby. Below are a few fun tips for how you can determine the sex of your baby before the ultrasound. Keep in mind these mini-tests are just for fun and may or may not correctly predict your baby’s sex.

  • Food Cravings – As you probably already know, craving various foods is part of pregnancy. It has been said that if you crave primarily salty and/or sour foods then it’s a boy. However, if you’re craving a lot of sweets, then a little girl may be on the way instead!
  • The Drano Test – This is an easy test you can conduct at home in about 5 minutes. All you need is a glass and 1 tablespoon of Drano. Take the glass to the restroom and relieve yourself in it. Next, mix 1 tablespoon of Drano in with the urine. If the Drano is blue then it’s a boy, but if it turns green it’s a girl.
  • Ancient Mayan Test – Think back to your age when you conceived. Is it an even or odd number? Next, what year did you conceive in? Was it an even or odd number? According to this ancient test, if both numbers were even or odd the baby will be a girl. But, if one number is even and the other odd, the baby will most likely be a boy.
  • Break Outs – This is an old wives tale that claims that baby girls “steal” their mamas’ beauty. Therefore, if you’re having some major break out issues, you must be carrying a little girl.
  • The Pencil Test – Take a sharpened pencil and stick a paper clip through the eraser, then hook the paper clip to a rubber band. Have someone hold the contraption over your wrist (hold your hand out palm-side up). If the pencil starts moving in a straight line, it’s a boy but if it goes in circles then it’s a girl. Keep in mind, that this test will tell you the sex of all the kids you’ve had – in the order you’ve had them. So, if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you will have to wait until it tells you the sex of your previous child(ren) before it reveals the sex of your current baby.

Need a Favor?

If you’re planning a wedding, then you may have already started thinking about the wedding favors. These are the small little gifts that the newly married couple sends home with their guests in an effort to say “Thank You for Attending.” These gifts do not need to be big or expensive, but just a small token of your appreciation to acknowledge the time sacrifice your guests made to share the day with you. Below are a few ideas to think about.

  • Candy Coated Almonds – Candy coated almonds are one of the most traditional types of wedding favors given because the almond is a symbol of fertility. Therefore, when brides and grooms send candy coated almonds home with their guests, they are wishing them many years of fertile living (happiness, wealth, health, etc.). Purchase some small pieces of colored tulle (to match your wedding colors) and wrap up a few pieces of almonds and tie with a decorative ribbon to complete the look.
  • Decorated Fortune Cookies – Today, you can order specially made fortune cookies to match your wedding décor. Your guests will love these delightfully yummy treats and the treasure they find inside!
  • Small Photo Frames – Everyone has special photos of people they love placed strategically throughout their homes. Therefore, why not give them a decorative photo frame that they can take home with your picture in it? Or, you can always place the photo frame at each place setting with the guests’ names in them if you prefer to let them choose their own picture to fill it with. Either way, these are great wedding favors your guests will appreciate.

Getting Kids Outside for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, which may have you scrambling for gift ideas and looking for ways to keep the kids entertained so mom is able to fully enjoy her special day. One of the best ways to help mom relax on Mother’s Day is to get the kids outside so she can enjoy a day of peace and quiet. This is especially true for those with young children. In fact, a day of peace and quiet can be a Mother’s Day gift all by itself! Here are a few ways you can get the kids outside for Mother’s Day.

  • Yard Work – I know, nobody likes the thought of doing yard work, but this is actually a great way to get the kids outside and out of mom’s hair. Additionally, this can be part of her Mother’s Day gift from you and the kids. After church, get the kids changed out of their formal suits and/or fancy dresses and head to the Wal-Mart, Lowe’s or another store that has a lawn and garden department. Purchase some pretty flowers, gardening gloves and any other tools you need. Then come home and get started! Pull the weeds out of the flower beds, mow and weed-eat the lawn and plant the flowers. This is a gift that mom is sure to enjoy!
  • Go to the Park – This may or may not be an activity that mom will want to go on. If she does, that’s great, but she may just want a few hours of quiet time to herself. Either way, taking the kids to the park for part of the day is a win-win for everyone. The kids will love running around and playing on the park equipment and mom will enjoy sitting back watching…or spending time alone. You can also make it a little more fun by packing a lunch and having a picnic.
  • Miniature Golf and Sno-Cones – Another fun Mother’s Day activity is to take everyone to play miniature golf. Regardless of whether your family is competitive or not, miniature golf is fun for everyone. Depending on how many people you have in your family, this activity can last an hour or more. Once you’re done golfing, head over to the local sno-cone stand and enjoy a cool treat!

The ideas above are just a few outdoor activities you can engage your kids in on Mother’s Day to free up mom’s time on this special day. Of course, mom can also be involved in any of these activities if she wants to. However, a day of peace and quiet is something that rarely occurs for most moms, so she may decide to stay home and enjoy a quiet house!