A Playful Summer vs Being on Vacation

Summer Vacation means PLAY time to most of our kids.

What is your definition of VACATION or PLAY?

Go ahead, give it a try.  Here’s a list that comes to my mind:

To PLAY or be on VACATION means to:

Kids playing in a lake at a church camp

Kids playing in a lake at a church camp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • not go to work or school
  • run off steam
  • eat sweets
  • act goofy/be silly
  • No rules
  • Be a “kid”
  • Yes to being in the moment
  • Do anything I want to do
  • No responsibility
  • Be with friends
  • Spend money
  • be on vacation
  • No chores
  • Yes to parks, playgrounds, camping, touring, biking, swimming, hiking, sailing, and, and, and . . .
  • No have to’s.
  • No appointments
  • Yes to sleeping in, naps, late night television.

Okay, so what happens when our kids have 3 months to PLAY in?  With the above list of a defining the realm of PLAY or VACATION, is it no wonder we have a difficult time getting our kids to mow the grass, do the dishes, clean a room?

Might I suggest that we change our thinking about SUMMER VACATION?  About PLAY?  Summers can give our kids opportunities to explore their own creative abilities.  Learn new ways of looking at the world.  Some kids get to “go to camp”

to experience these type of ideas, while most kids have to find their way out their own boredom at home.

I’m suggesting that parents offer their kids experiences, with a little preparation.  Yes, formatting your Summer of PLAY.  With a little determination, luck and fortitude you can outline your Summer.  Weekly events, Saturday excursions, Thursday morning breakfasts–however you want to schedule to meet your needs.

For instance: don’t just go for a day at the zoo, make it a “treasure hunt” by solving puzzles about the wildlife at the zoo.  For example, how long is the hair of a yak?  Where do emu’s prefer to hang out?  Do peacocks ever shed their feathers?  What mammal lives the longest?  ETC.

After you’ve visited the zoo, take that knowledge over to the History Museum and see how much you can “connect the dots” with such things as:  what dinosaurs are  related to elephants, or are they?  Which dinosaur had the worst bad breath (hint, what did they eat for supper?)

Back home, construct challenge courses out of whatever you have: making tunnels to crawl backwards through, duck walk from point A to B, and hold an egg in a spoon from point C to D–ETC.

Have your own Movie Night or Skit Show, with the kids planning and performing–popcorn to be provided. Have one night a week that is specifically to be arranged by the kids to entertain Mom and Dad.

MLA 2008: SL Skit - Stage Show

MLA 2008: SL Skit – Stage Show (Photo credit: rosefirerising)

If your child shows an interest in a subject, find ways to allow the child to explore all the facets of that subject–make it possible for the child to have access to more information about whatever she or he is curious about.

With a structural format, Summer Vacation can be a GREAT PLAY time–With Learning experiences and creative endeavors.

PLAY means learning.  PLAY is to a child

what words are to an adult.  PLAY is testing out new things.  PLAY means finding creative ways to “think outside the box.”

Use PLAY to help build your child’s educational information, as well as build character, and learn about relationships.

Please be gentle with yourself and your Playful kids.


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