Summer is here!

Ah yes, Summer... With the sound of kids playing at all times of the day, everyday of the week, it is clear that Summer is here in all it's colorful repertoire.
The gardens are bursting with flowers, and even with fruit if like us, that is your thing. The very distinctive visits to the pool, the beach, or even the lakes to go for a swim or catch the next dinner. It's all part of what makes summer so much fun.

This is my brother and I. Sometimes he forgets to respect the oldest.

Some families get lucky enough to get days off and be able to take off in an adventure to places far and beyond expectation. Some tend to go to their "traditional" yearly trips, which in my opinion are great for family time and bonding. This makes it a great time for camping, hiking, and really get into the adventurous spirit.

However, some other families don't get as lucky and summer can become a little overwhelming. Why? Well--you end up in a "full house" type of situation, where you really have to break your head to find creative ways to entertain the little ones. I honestly have to say that when I was a kid, it was easy to entertain me. All I needed was a pack of crayons, and coloring books and I was good for the whole summer-- yes really! Sometimes I even wonder if it is going to be that easy with my kids, but then again, my husband says I wasn't a "normal" kid. What is that supposed to mean? (This is really silly, I already know I am not normal, but it's still funny when he says it.)

While it is true that some kids are more complicated than others to entertain, the good thing about summer is that most of the time, you get to enjoy of weather that allows you to be creative. If this is not your gift, thankfully there is pinterest, right? I mean, that is my to-go secret virtual hideout, and it brings inspiration that may be very handy during this time of the year.

Lets face it, kids, and those of us who are kids by heart, love water. Water parks, a day at the beach, fountains, lakes, the pool, even the bathtub becomes a playground when it is hot enough not to care about anything else.

These are the top things that we use for Summer entertainment:

Sun-Shiny day:

If it's a very hot summer day; there are always the typical water-bucket wars , where everyone gets it! Even grandma if she is around. Just make sure she won't get really mad, if it wasn't she who starting the game. I know that if my mom was around, she would probably be the one starting the whole thing to begin with, and she would be fine with it. I guess this is the kind of thing that may vary from family to family. Oh and use small buckets, it was scary to see what happened after the last "ice-bucket" challenge. Another suggestion could be to use waterbottles that have been poked with several holes and taped to the end of a waterhose. That works kind of like a sprinkler, so it gets to be fun too! Just remember to poke the holes before you pour water into it, and make sure that the kids are supervised and not playing close to electrical appliances. I think that even using empty water bottles, with a hole in the cap works as a very cheap substitute for a water-gun. To be honest I don't like toys that represent weapons, so this would be a great substitute for us, and the kids can have as much fun trying to get one another, and probably me too. What? I also like cooling off in the summer. Another great thing to consider is maybe visiting a zoo, or a park. Hanging out among nature sometimes allows you to feel a cool breeze under the shade of the trees. Just prep yourself and you family for such trips. Keep hydrated, and take an emergency kit, just in case.

Indoors fun:
Now, if it's one of those summer days, where the weather just invites you to stay in-- you know, because of the lightning and all.  I have something fun that my 8th grade teacher shared with us one day during class. She told us that when there were thunderstorms, her family would gather and listen. It became a sort of a sport's game. The idea was that "Angels and Demons" were bowling, and whenever a light thunder was heard, it was the "Angels" hitting a strike, but when it was loud and scary, it was most likely the "Demons". I know this idea might sound a little crazy, since some people don't believe in these characters and so on. I honestly thought the idea was cute, and it actually helps kids that are too afraid of thunderstorms to see it in a different perspective. You can change the name of the characters into something different if you like, just so that you feel more comfortable and you can play with this idea. When I was little I used to believe that some sort of people lived in the clouds and whenever I looked up, they would wave at me, so I waved back. You can always say that it's the "cloud people", and make it like watching a football game, in which some of your family members can try to guess which side is going to win by keeping count of the "strikes."

Rainy days were always my favorite! Then again, "I wasn't a normal kid." I guess I just really preferred crafts over getting dirty or muddy outside. I loved making origami, sketching, coloring, making puzzles with my mom, or playing with my dolls. I would even enjoy watching documentaries, or a very old titanic movie. The good thing with technology now at days is that there are infinity of options and the sky is the limit.

If your kids are the adventurous kind, but it is raining, you can help them by building a furniture fort for them to play. You can even have a treasure hunt. Though this is more fun outdoors, you can make it inside and still be safe. I know that sometimes the last thing you want, is to have your kids inside the house looking for stuff, because the last thing you might want is for them to find the wrong thing and be exposed to hazardous substances. However, you can make a book-treasure-hunt. Let me explain; you can use some of your kid's favorite books, those that you get to read to them every other night. You can start by giving them the first treasure clue in which this clue leads them to a particular place in one of their books. That clue leads to another place in another one of their stories and so on. It becomes like a treasure hunt in the land of their imagination, and not only do you entertain them for a while, but they also practice their memory skills.

Talking about memory, card games are also great for a rainy day. There are so many things to do! I was a very emotional kid, so my idea of fun was sometimes making music on a rainy day. However, my nephews weren't like that, and I had to use every ounce of creativity to entertain them. Sometimes I had to make up my own games to do so. There was this one game that they loved and it wasn't really that big of a deal to create. All you need is a set of cards that have characters. Since I am a comic-book fan, I have different decks of cards. One of them was the Clow-cards from Card-Captor Sakura. The idea of the game was that we would all have 5 cards in our hands, and the rest were piled in the middle of the table. Whoever started would just place one card facing up, and the next player would have to get one of their cards making up a story of how his card would interact with my card. Sometimes to capture the character in the card, like in the cartoon, and sometimes just to make a story. You can even start with; "Once upon a time, there was a card with a girl that looked like she was flying in the sky, and then (next player's card) she saw a little bird having difficulties flying around, so she decided to help him, (next player's card) then they decided to go for ice-cream. Something like that. It stimulates the little one's creativity, and it keeps them thinking for a while. My nephews were very hyperactive kids; they always wanted to play outside. Nonetheless, after this story-type of game, whenever they came to visit, this was their first entertainment choice. It was a huge break for me when I didn't feel like running around, or it was too sunny to play catch. There is another version to this card game. You can do the same with just writing. If your little ones know how to write, you can do the same story game by writing a random sentence, and then the next player has to write a sentence after that one that flows with your sentence, but the catch is that they should only read the sentence that is before theirs. At the end, someone can read the full story out loud so that you can all have fun with the crazy-funny story. This game always made me laugh a lot. Get your own Card-Captor deck in the link below.

Last but not least in my suggestions for summer fun ideas:
Being with your kids during the summer also allows you to have quality time with them. It allows you to know them a bit more, and to know what they are thinking, or what is going on in their lives. Yes, they might live with you, but a kid's mind is a little world of their own and it is very easy to get distracted and not notice things that could be irrelevant to us, but mean the world to them. This is a great time for bonding and learning about things that could be bothering them.

Now, if your little ones are ready to learn a new skill or explore a new talent. It is also the best time to help them explore that world of possibilities, and even teach them something about you. Maybe something you did as a kid, play baseball, go treasure hunting with you to a thrift-shop, learn to play music, learn about collecting coins or stamps, and/or things like that. Technology is always going to be around us to assist us with our daily lives, so exploit the possibilities. Nonetheless, the beauty is that with kids, you don't need technology 24/7 to entertain them. I remember being entertained with a Yo-yo for hours, just because I saw someone making tricks with it and I wanted to learn how to do them too. All you have to do is show your kids how cool or amazing something can be, and they will be on-to-it. I love collecting things, so I would eventually bring my nephews something to collect; either stamps, coins, or trading cards. This is something that could also come in hand with hiking. I used to collect minerals and crystals, therefore in the summer, we would go out exploring and find some nice specimens for our collections. This is something I still do whenever I go to the beach, and collect some nice seashells.

I have to say that sometimes, I even used tricks to entertain my nephews, such as; telling them I was going to ask them a bunch of questions about a movie to see if they were paying attention to the movie, and if they did, I would share with them the secrets of "Atlantis", and though the secret wasn't really a secret, it was more of a mythological fact, they would stay entertained for as long as the movie lasted, and that gave me time to either do my homework, or just be able to keep an eye on them in one same spot, instead of all over the house. Kids love mysteries--I think we all do, with that in mind, keeping them intrigued about something, could be a great tool to entertain them. That worked for me most of the time. I think at the end, the trick is to think like a kid and ask yourself: "When I was that age, what would have amazed me?", that pretty much does it for me.

Now a word of advice; though summer is a fun time, it is also a dangerous time. I've often heard stories on how summer breaks can lead to more accidents, because the kids are at home all day. Please consider sharing with them this information. Teach them the difference between safe zones and dangerous zones, and that sometimes there are chemicals around the house that are really dangerous. The last thing a kid would want is to play with something that is going to ruin their summer. If you think they might not get that, you can always lock those items away, or child-proof your cabinets containing hazardous substances. Kids are not dumb, they will get to them just out of curiosity. We were all kids, and we know how easy it is to get in trouble, but I also remember that being conscious and respectful of hazards, and dangerous substances really kept me away from them. And talking about accidents and emergencies, I think having the kids around during this time of year is also a great time to see if your little ones know what to do in case of an emergency. Do they know what to do, or who to call?

Just because they are off from school does not mean the learning stops. Your local public library could also be a great resource for entertainment. The kids can be exposed to all sorts of different books, and even other kids with similar interests, plus they would have to behave because that's the way it is in libraries. Plus who can say no to free AC, right? I didn't spend a lot of recess in school in the library just to read every book there was, I didn't like roasting myself outside, lol. I did go through most of the national geographic magazines and encyclopedias whenever I did spend time in the library. I cooled off, and I learned a lot of stuff for my age--win, win situation!

Either if you are lucky enough to escape to an adventure, or make one of your own at home, I would love to know about the ways you entertain your little ones during this summer season. Sharing might help other mommies and daddies out there that might have run out of ideas. So how does your family spend the summer on a hot, or a rainy day?

Have fun, drive carefully, and stay safe this summer!

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