Summer is here, and I know in many OCONUS stations there are no summer camp options for non essential personnel.
So what will we do with our children this summer? Have fun I hope!
I’ve come up with a quick list of things that will hopefully keep you and your children entertained this summer. Hold on mamas for some fun!
Make a Camp
This works especially well for families with multiple kids. This summer we’re having ocean camp (we live near the beach), Christmas in July week, and Jamaica week. We’re using that last week to learn about where their dad is from and the things that make up that culture. I set up our camp weeks with a daily thematic craft, science experiment, snack, physical activity, and then free play. On Friday of that week, we have a related field trip.
Here is a blog that has great ideas for camps with kids of various ages. There are also some great ideas for science themed camps available that are basically all set up for you that you can find online. Little Bins for Little Hands is a great camp I used last year for my younger kids that is science based. Feel free to click around! There are other great DIY ideas for kids on the website. For the science portion or activity portion of your camp you could use age appropriate crates. We use Kiwi crates at our house because you can usually get a deal and the kids enjoy them.
There are multiple free summer reading programs that kids can sign up for that will give them prizes for reading a certain number of books.
Scholastic offers a free summer reading program with select e books available for kids.
Barnes and Noble has a reading program where after you complete it, you can receive a free book from the books listed on their reading journal.
Finally check your public library and your base library. Both usually have a summer reading program or challenge to encourage kids to read during the summer.
This clearly isn’t an everyday event, but we like to choose a day to have a themed movie marathon. One year it was movies from my childhood (I advise you prescreen movies from the 80s and 90s. They have some things that I personally forgot about until my kids were repeating them. Oops). We’ve done Star Wars and a ridiculous week of Marvel movies. My toddler can identify drones from Star Wars and all the Marvel heroes since I let him watch with us. In case you were questioning how you’re doing as a mother, just remember that I let a toddler movie marathon with his siblings. We have snack bars and movement breaks. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day or week if its rainy season.
Take an adventure
Find something that would entertain the kids and not stress you out completely. For us it’s the beach or a waterfall. I take the kids to the beach once a week until jelly fish season, and then I take them to local waterfalls. The waterfall usually involves a hike so more work with a toddler but nonetheless.
Find a great trail in your area, park, or something outside that would entertain the kids and head out for an adventure. Many local aquariums or zoos have scavenger hunts or trivia questions on their webpage that you could print out for older kids so they can stay engaged also.
We are firm believers in playing outside and there are some great options for water play in the backyard. There are some great inflatable pools, but we use a splash pad. I have 4 kids from toddler to teenager, and the splash pad coupled with a bubble machine and water guns makes for play time for everyone without the stress of watching the littles super carefully in a pool. The older kids use the splash pad or bubble machine as a base as they run around the yard with their water guns. We have X shot fast fill water guns in case you’re looking for inspiration. The kids usually play tag, capture the flag and water wars making for a great day of fun. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
No explanation needed. Send them outside, lock the door, put out food for them periodically, and tell them to drink from a water hose. I’m kidding. Unless you’re a mother in the South in the 1990s, then that’s exactly what you did. I’m looking at you, Mom. 😂