As summer has officially begun, there are so many great things to look forward to: barbecues, fire pits, hot dogs, lemonade, watermelon, the beach, the pool, vacation(s), summer concerts- you name it and the list goes on. Kids are excited as they are free from their school routine for a couple of months and have more opportunities to play,….then the magic words hit…”I’m bored”. How can parents engage their kids this summer? How do we ensure we do not just hit the “pause” button on learning until school starts again? How can you help your kids spend their weeks to the fullest? And really how can we ensure our kids do not fall into spending all of their time on electronics- whether it be television, movies, video games or tablets?
I was reading on children and boredom in the Huffington Post earlier this week. Bunmi Laditan writes, “Boredom is not a problem to be solved. It is an itch to scratch. Boredom is the dawn of ideas. Boredom is curiosity knocking gently at your mind, asking to play. Being “bored” means that no one, or more importantly, no devices, are stimulating your mind and you are free to come up with your own entertainment or sit in contemplative silence.” 
How can we balance our kids schedules in a way that will develop multiple areas of their lives? I think there are many areas in your child’s life to consider as you help them decide summer activities. Some of the developmental areas to consider are social, mental, physical, spiritual and rest. Often several of these areas do overlap in the day to day activities.
I would like to take a minute to discuss briefly a few:
Social: Ensuring our kids develop relationally and learn how to play with other kids is crucial to developing socially. It also is healthy for children to learn the value of relationships at a young age. There is great value to planning regular play dates with not only good friends but also new friends.
Physical: Keeping kids physically active will benefit them today and potentially for the rest of their lives. Going for walks together at a nearby trail, heading to the beach or pool, and signing them up for an organized sport are just a couple ways you can ensure they remain active over the summer.
Spiritual: Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
One of the greatest opportunities you have as a parent is teaching your child in the ways of the Lord. Take advantage of these summer months and go through a book of the Bible together and talk about what you read and what it means to each of you in your own lives. Perhaps this would be a good time to memorize Scripture together as a family. Use incentives such as getting ice-cream or going to the park on a warm evening when you have accomplished the memorization.
Another great way to cultivate the areas mentioned above is through summer camps. Camp can cultivate the social, physical, mental, and spiritual areas of your child’s life. If you live in the Vancouver, WA area, LPC has a Music & Arts Camp for kids entering grade 2- grade 6. The camp is July 20-23 from 9am- Noon. Each morning there is a Bible devotion for the kids. Classes offered at the camp are: singing, drama, dance, cooking, origami, balloon art, guitar, and drums. Registration is $50 by July 1. Click here to sign up now.