School’s Out! Now what…?!

29 Jun 2016

BY: trini

Crafty Time / Inspiration / School

by Misti Bushmire

School’s Out! Do you remember the beginning of summer when school just let out and the long, lazy days stretched out in front of you endlessly just waiting to be filled with fun?  I know I do but somehow as a mom it never looks quite the same…

I suspect that all mom’s feel the need to be somewhat of a Mary Poppins, able to pull ideas out of the bag and make everything fun.  Having a list of activities and goals is the easiest way to make that happen so I wanted to share some ideas with you about what to do with the kiddos to make this the best summer it can be.  The first few are low cost/free and then there are a few ideas for activities that are more expensive that can be used as a treat.


First of all, let’s go back to “free play”.  In our busy, hurry world all too often our kids end up scheduled and in activities most of the day. Frequently that is a necessity but while we have a break in the action let’s seize the day!  Let’s open up time to allow them to just play.  “Play” is so important to our kid’s mental and emotional growth that it is worth investing in.  Gather into a box or container some basic “open-ended” toys and props to start the ball rolling; you probably already have most of them.  Here are a few ideas to start with: blankets (can be forts, islands, picnics, capes, royal robes…), boxes (can be caves, furniture, playhouse, doll beds…), play food (or save boxes and containers from the kitchen), stuffed animals and dolls, Lego’s, blocks, dress-up clothes and costumes, cars and trucks, the list goes on and on!

If your kids are having trouble getting started it might help to have a list of possibilities ready to get the imagination flowing.  What are their favorite books?  Places to go?  What do they want to be when they grow up (today anyway!) or where do they want to live?  Why not dive in and play with them?!  Let’s hear it for pillow forts!

Free Activities

Cook with your kids!  Let them help make meal decisions and prepare simple dishes.  You get help, they get to learn a valuable skill, quality time together – it’s a win-win. And once they get bit by the bug, watch out – the creativity is endless!

What about the local library?  Most libraries have activities and story time for different age groups.  Stop in or check online for their schedule and sign up.  Spend the morning listening and exploring a new topic then take books home and read with them.

Make something.  Crafts are a wonderful way to build skills and have fun doing it.  I know lots of moms (you know who you are…) feel like they School's Out - Craft Time!are craft-challenged so here is a wonderful tool for you – Pinterest!  This site should come with a warning label – it is addictive.  The ideas for possible projects are literally endless and you can find things for all ages and abilities.  If your kids are interested in animals then search “kids animal crafts” and you will come up with more ideas than you can possible do.  If they like cars and trucks then search for car and truck crafts.  If their speech therapist has recommended sensory play, then search for sensory play activities. There is probably no topic that you can’t find on Pinterest.  You can search by type of project (paper, wood, clay, etc…), topic (giraffe, sea creatures, trucks, dollhouse, etc…), the materials that you have on hand at the time (pipecleaners, popsicle sticks, paper towel tubes, paper plates, egg cartons…), or even by specific book (Very Hungry Caterpillar, Give a Mouse a Cookie, Madeline, etc…).  We have a “Fun Crafts For Kiddos” board on Pinterest with project ideas to get you started as well as a “Crafty Learning Ideas” board.  It is incredible how many crafts you can find using a simple pack of paper plates!

Gather together a box or bin with basic supplies: egg cartons, paper, paint, markers, crayons, glue, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, pompoms, tape, paper plates, colored tissue paper, children’s scissors, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, anything you can think of or have around the house.  You don’t need ready made kits or fine-arts supplies, most of this is free or available at your local discount store or commissary.  May I suggest that depending on the ages of your children that you store this out of reach…?  We have all had nightmares about walking in and finding the baby has been painted green! If you’re needing inspiration for staying organized when the kid clutter is overwhelming, we have a board for that too!

School's Out - beach time!The beach!  We live in Hawaii and have some of the most beautiful beaches literally as our backyard – Lanikai, North Shore, Waimea, Hawaii Kai!  By all means, visit your favorite but go to some of the others and see what the differences are.  Take a drive around the island one day, making a few stops like the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Chinaman’s Hat, the Hawaii Kai blowhole.  Talk about the differences in sand, waves, how many people.  You could even build Olaf if your kids love Frozen!

Fun Activities with a Little Cost

The movie “Finding Dory” is coming out this month.  Take the kiddos to a matinee and then later go to the Waikiki Aquarium to learn more about the ocean!

What about a membership to one our local museums which have great programs for kids or one to the Honolulu Zoo?  A membership is the best way to go when you have kids (and personally I think even for adults) because you don’t end up feeling like you have to look at everything because it’s your only chance.  It is much more relaxing to make many short trips and enjoy looking at only a few things each time!

Most Importantly…

A lot of what will make fabulous summer memories boils down to one thing – be present in the moment.  We all need these reminders in our world.  It is so easy to live our lives about 2 hours ahead of where we actually are and never take time to just enjoy the moment.  “Where do I need to go next?”  “Don’t forget to do ____!”  ”I need to remember _____.”  It’s worth repeating – “Be present in the moment” and build memories with your kiddos right now!

Have a wonderful time and we want to hear about all the fun things you are doing!