Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Geek's Survival Guide to Surviving the Summer with Kids!

I talked about it yesterday so I thought I'd do a survival guide for today! (Okay, maybe the Hunger Games is a little excessive but it totally feels like that some days)

We have all been there... at least those of us with kids! How do we balance kids being home with the daily activities you would like to do, with the having little to no money. I love money, don't get me wrong, I would totally love to put my kids into a dozen programs and activities with other kids. This, however, is just not possible for all people... so we need to get creative!

Step 1: The Library!

This is my first stop for anything fun! There are usually a bunch of free programs for kids in the summer (some pay, but you can just avoid those like I do). Now some free ones require registration, and some are just drop in. I have to admit I love the drop in programs. This makes it so much easier for me to go to... and if the kids don't want to go you don't need to force them because it didn't cost you anything! My daughters have both signed up for the free reading program. They get a little book... stickers at each visit... and it gives them incentive to read. They love it and it makes going once a week exciting. (Yes, we go once a week for new bedtime stories! They are free and we can keep switching them up).

Step 2: Early Years Centres!

There are a lot of Early Years Centres around. I know most cities I've lived in have had at least one. They are drop in daily programs... usually during a set time. So check online or at your local one for times. These are great on rainy days. I admit my girls get bored of them... so once every few weeks when it's been raining (or too hot for a stretch) and they want to get out we go to them. They have toys and usually some activity. Some do story and song times. Now this isn't great for the bigger kids but those under 6 it isn't so bad.

Step 3: The Park!

If all else fails there is always the park. Have a superhero day and dress up as your favourite heroes. There's nothing better than taking pictures of your kids as Spiderman and Thor while swinging from the jungle gym. Make it a whole day thing where you get ready, pack superhero themed lunches and then go to the park for the day. When they need downtime make sure you have water and snacks packed also so that you can sit back in the shade for a rest. If there's a river or creek near the park take some seeds so you can feed the birds (remember, bread is bad!).

Step 4: The Craft Cupboard!

Most mom's and dad's have one and dread opening it up. Or maybe that's just me. You look at the craft cupboard and all you can see is glue stuck to your table tops and paint on your floors.... the answer... Saran wrap. Saran wrap (or if you don't have any use waxed paper and just tape it down) to cover your whole table. If you think ahead you can also get dollar store plastic tablecloths for cheap (then you can throw them out when they get yucky). Wrap up your table and set out paint and glue and any other little bits and bobs you have. Kids love little things... beads and strings, parts of broken necklaces, smooth stones. If you don't have any money you can find a lot of this around your house (just spray stones and twigs with hairspray to seal it and kill bugs). If you have a few dollars you'd be amazed what you can find at dollar stores. I love mine... you spend $20 and fill the cupboard. Trust me you'd be surprised what your kids can come up with when you give them free reign to explore.

Step 5: Quiet Time!

We all need it... half an hour (more if we can manage it) where we don't have the little monsters (meant in the most loving way) around us. As much as we love our kids even mommy needs a recharge now and then. After they are all washed up (from whatever play they did), and if they don't nap, you can still implement a quiet time. Tell them they can read something (pull our comic books you don't mind being damaged a little, trust me they can look through them for hours), or have them draw in their room quietly. Either way, give them a choice of activity that just brings the moment down a little and that you don't feel they need constant supervision for (baby monitors are wonderful). This may not give you a lot of time but hopefully at least 20 minutes to have a cup a tea to recharge before the end of the day!

Step 6: Bubbles and Chalk!

I find if we are having a particularly difficult day the answer is always BUBBLES! This is great because you don't need to go ANYWHERE. Some days you know to leave the house could be detriment to yours (and their) survival... so you need to stay home. Those days the Craft Cupboard is a scary and forbidden land of temper tantrums and edible paints! So your last resort should always be bubbles! There are days when Chalk is enough... give them a strip of driveway or a brick wall and watch them go... but if not, BUBBLES. You can do bubbles in a few ways.

1) The bubble wands!
These are cheap and you can get a bunch for minimal amount of money (I know I keep a steady supply of them hidden in my house). Give them some bubbles and a wand and go outside. Who cares if they spill them... it's just bubbles... just be prepared to change their outfit afterward.


2) The Automatic Bubble Maker!
I have had a few of these over the past few years. You can usually find some cheep version of them around if you look. They usually require batteries so this is a more expensive version if you don't already own one! I love them... press START and watch them go... even my dogs love them! (This can be substituted with the sprinkler... because who didn't like jumping in sprinkler's as kids)

3) The Bubble Bath!
If all else fails you can always use the tried and tested method of the bubble bath. This is not a bath where we worry about getting clean. Instead it's a bath where we see how much bubbles we can make and what we can do with them. I advise to lay towels on the floor first being you know there is going to be some splashing, also Mom and Dad should be prepared to have to change afterward from being wet by kids.

Okay, so this list isn't NECESSARILY geeky but it has seriously helped me survive many a weekend and I plan on using it regularly this summer. I have read a few of these that talked about scheduling and planning and say "Pffft!" to them! Planning and scheduling is great but ask the kids what they want sometimes... and know that a video game and movie day isn't so bad once and a while!

Until next time.
Keep on, Geekin' on