Now that school is out for the summer months, it’s tempting to book our children in back-to-back camp programs or plan numerous outings with them. After all, we’d hate for our kids to be bored. But believe it or not, a bit of boredom is good for them! In fact, kids need downtime to unwind and unstructured play is usually the best way for children to de-stress. Your kids have spent the last 10 months in school where teachers have kept them occupied 6 hours each day. Now it’s their turn to entertain themselves. I’m not suggesting kids should have 2 months of nothing to do but a balance between planned activities and free time is important. As a children’s program worker and camp director for years, the activities campers most enjoyed were the loosely structured ones, for example, Discovery Walks and Junk Sculptures. Discovery walks were simply walks through the woods where we would use our imaginations and tell stories about the things we found along the way. Junk sculptures involved a huge pile of toilet paper rolls, odd size boxes, strings, fabric scraps, glue and endless other junk in the middle of the room. Children were encouraged to create whatever their hearts desired and the results were astonishing. Still not convinced? Today, parents often feel obliged to provide non-stop entertainment but in my generation, if I told my mom I was bored, she’d ask me “What are you planning to do about it?” Inevitably, I ended up creating my own activities while she busied herself in the garden or painted (she was also an artist). It taught me to be incredibly independent and self-sufficient … a good skill to have in today’s society! What will your kids be doing this summer? Hopefully you and your kids will have a much needed break from the usually stressful and busy school year.
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