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6 Ways To Help Your Child Stay In Touch With Friends Over the Summer

Posted on Aug 1, 2017 2:26:31 PM by Laurel Robinson

Now that the kids have had a few weeks to relax and enjoy “doing nothing,” parents might be feeling like it is time to be proactive about finding ways for kids to see their friends over the summer break. 

 6 Ways To Help Your Child Stay In Touch With Friends Over the Summer

There are a variety of reasons to work on this goal:

  • A desire for our kids to maintain relationships that started in school but have not continued into the summer due to schedule conflicts or geographical challenges.
  • A desire for our kids to make NEW friends in addition to the kids they were with every day at school.
  • A desire to keep our kids from getting swallowed up in screens for several hours a day.  

On that last point, most kids will vigorously make the case that  spending time with friends is NOT mutually exclusive with looking at screens. This is true: there is video chatting, texting, online hangouts, and of course, getting together and playing video games.  We may not be able to convince kids that there is more to life than facing a screen, so we will have to help them discover it themselves!  As adults, we know that some of the most valuable times with friends are face to face, and that when we go through a little bit of “boredom,” we can end up being very creative and having a lot of fun!.


The first step is reaching out. Social media is helpful for getting in touch with people.  If you can’t find them online, call a mutual friend to make the connection.  Most parents would be happy to receive an invitation for their child to come and hang out for the day.  It can take a few tries to make contact, and a few tries to find a time that works for everyone, but press on!  If you have never met the parents before, you might want to invite the whole family to meet your family at a local ice cream or snowball stand, so you can all be more comfortable getting in touch (and swapping kids) in the future.

 

Some ideas for ways that kids can spend time with their friends:

Host a party.  Let your kids plan it!  It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, or an expensive event.  Rather than do a lot of cooking, you can host a potluck meal, or an ice cream social, or have an evening party with a bonfire (and s’mores, of course) or glow sticks and popsicles. For older kids, there are “murder mystery” party kits, and you can also find online a kit for hosting your own “escape room” party.


Lawn games.  Water balloons, corn hole, badminton, and croquet are all fairly easy to obtain. Most of them can be played with just two people who would otherwise be hanging around bored. Don’t forget Nerf gun battles!


Board games.  There is an abundance of (sneakily educational) board games available. If you don’t have any, chances are your kids’ friends will!  If you want to buy some but don’t know where to start, check out some mom bloggers’ reviews of board games. Homeschooling blogs may also have some good suggestions. These personal reviews are often helpful because as you read the reviews, you will get a feel for whether it’s your kid’s style of game or not.  If you don’t have board games on hand, get creative: pull out a jigsaw puzzle, or take three easy ones and mix them together to provide a challenge.


Dance party.  Get a few tweens together -- especially girls -- and play some of their favorite songs from your favorite music streaming service, and it will soon turn into a singalong.  Add a twist by playing “freeze dance”-- everyone dances while the music plays, but  freezes when the music stops (at random intervals). Depending on the group, they may soon be playing one song over and over so they can choreograph their own moves to it.


Share a good deal.  Check Groupon, LivingSocial, Certifikid and similar sites for great deals on camps, trampoline parks, plays, or local fairs.  Invite a friend to join your child on one of these. Vacation Bible school or other church-sponsored camps are another great opportunity to invite friends to join your child in some fun.


Make a video.  Rather than simply consuming media, let your kids experience the work and play that goes into creating it!  If your kid and his or her friends are so inclined, give them a camera and let them make videos, just for fun.  From stop-motion videos to tutorials, almost any interest could become inspiration for a video. If you have software and the kids have the interest, the video could even get edited and shared (with your approval, of course).

Don’t let the summer slide by.  Make a phone call or two today, and get some “play dates” on the calendar!

8 Creative Ways To Keep Your Kids Active Over the Summer

Posted on Jun 27, 2017 11:10:08 AM by Laurel Robinson

How can we keep our kids active over the summer? It’s great to celebrate the end of a school year and let the kids’ brains have a little change of pace, but most parents don’t want their kids to start up a new pattern that involves a lot of sitting in front of a screen.  How can we encourage them to get some physical activity over the summer months without hearing the words “I’m bored?”

8 Ways to Keep Kids Active Over Summer 1.png

There are the traditional options--bike riding, roller skating, swimming, games that involve running, and passing a ball or hitting a tennis ball against a wall. However, here are some other ideas that might help you stretch into new territory:

Plant a garden.  Your children may take interest and ownership in a few flowers or vegetable seeds planted in their own designated spot.  In addition to watching the growth over the weeks, your young gardeners may find themselves enjoying outdoor time weeding plants, arranging rocks or twigs decoratively, watering, or even composting!


Paint or build.  If you have the space, set your kids free with some paint and let them “decorate” the back of the shed,  large rocks, or some other area on your property. You can also work together with some scrap materials to build something that they have designed. It doesn’t have to be perfect; the process of thinking and creating will strengthen important areas of their brain!


Walk the dog(s).  If you have a dog you may already have your child walk it. However, if your neighbors or friends have dogs your child may be interested in getting some experience with them. This could even lead to a paying job in the future!


Host a neighborhood event. Whatever your child is already interested in, is there a way to turn it into a social event or a fun contest?  Chalk drawings, scooter races, water balloon fights, art shows, or even a litter pick-up -- the possibilities vary widely based on your neighborhood and your family.


Hit the trails.  There are many great hiking trails, some only half a mile and others longer.  Some trails have sights such as a waterfall or old buildings to reward the diligent.  (Here is a list of scenic hikes in Maryland. In the sidebar, current local events8 Ways to Keep Kids Active Over Summer 2.png are listed.) Kids are great at finding “treasures” along the way.  My daughter found a horseshoe and an empty turtle shell one year and they are still treasures in her bedroom. Check the weather ahead of time, pack some snacks, and plan a hike on a day that is going to be pleasant so the kids will want to do it again!  (Remember to check for ticks afterward!)  


Parks and libraries.  There are also several parks which have playgrounds, fields for ball practice, batting cages, paved paths for biking, and perhaps good Pokemon scouting! Check the event listings of parks as well at your local library for activities.


Go Fishing. Liberty Reservoir and Piney Run Park are just two locations where Maryland residents can go fishing. There are smaller ponds in local areas, as well. Be sure to get a fishing license.  It will last a year!


TV trainer. If it’s not a good day to go somewhere, keep an exercise  DVD on hand.  There are plenty at the library (and online) which are geared specifically for kids.  Pilates, yoga, dance - one of these should get your kids moving!  One of my not-so-active kids enjoys learning dance routines from videos on YouTube.


As parents, we can model being active -- not to mention a willingness to  “try new things.” Even if you only do some of these things once and decide they are not for you, you can be proud of yourselves for trying something new -- and it may lead to a new friend, or idea, or a funny story to tell.  


Happy Summer!

5 Ways Summer Camp Can Prepare Children For Life

Posted on Apr 5, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

Camp Liberty Summer Camp Participating in summer camp can benefit children in a variety of ways.  Among other things, going to camp can help stave off boredom and prevent summer learning loss as well as give children the opportunity to make new friends and explore new interests.  Aside from these short term benefits, here are five ways summer camp can prepare children for life.

Learn Social Skills

After spending the school year in the classroom where grades and academic achievement are the main focus, summer camp offers participants a much more relaxed environment free from the social expectations pressuring them at school.  This less rigorous environment allows for more informal interactions amongst fellow campers, one that encourages children to relax, make friends and develop social skills in the process.

Build Self-Confidence

Because summer camp offers an environment free from the academic and social pressures they typically face in school, summer camp participants are more likely to take risks and try things they wouldn’t normally consider.  These experiences can help build self-confidence.

Gain Resiliency

Since the supportive and nuturing environment of summer camp provides the opportunity for more risk taking, children learn how to endure setbacks and receive the encouragement to try again. They also learn that improvement comes with perseverance.

LCS summer camp

Grow More Independent

Summer camp typically offers a variety of activities, giving children the opportunity to practice making decisions for themselves.  The chance to consistently make choices on their own can help children discover and develop who they are and leads to greater independence.

Develop Life-Long Skills

Participation in summer camp offers children the instruction, equipment and facilities that allow them the opportunity to further explore their abilities and talents.  Within an environment that cultivates a willingess to try new things, children have the chance to develop life-long skills.

Have you considered sending your child to a summer camp this year?

SUMMER CAMP 2017 LEARN MORE AND REGISTER 

Family Summer Survival Kit #3: Summer Boredom Busters

Posted on Jul 7, 2015 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

Looking for things to do with your family this summer?  If so, we’ve put together a few family summer survival kits to help you out.  Each themed kit includes links to some of our popular and informative blog posts related to the subject.

bored child

Kit #3: Summer Boredom Busters

The long, lazy days of summer can lead to too much down time for some children, creating bored kids and frazzled parents.  Here are some resources to utilize when boredom strikes:

1. The Perfect Summer Craft for Kids: The “Mom I’m Bored” Jar

This article offers a great way for you to shift the responsibility of solving your child’s boredom to your child in a fun and creative way.

2. 25 Summer Boredom Busters For Children & Families

Here is a list of 25 suggestions for engaging activities and outings that you and your children can participate in to keep boredom at bay.

3. 3 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity and Imagination

A great way to keep boredom away is to stimulate your child to exercise his or her creativity and imagination.  This article introduces three ways to do so.

In case you missed them, here are the links to the first two kits:

Summer Survival Kit #1: Making the Most of Your Summer

Summer Survival Kit # 2: Preventing Summer Learning Loss

SUMMER CAMP 2017 LEARN MORE AND REGISTER