Summer’s here with a vengeance, and that means more than hot, humid weather for parents of school-age children. It means summer vacation, and after a school year rife with Saturday make-up classes for all the special holidays and canceled classes of 2009, your kids are going to want a fierce amount of fun. And be honest—you’d like to give it to them.

So keep your kids smiling and avoid the fuss, crankiness, and mischief that comes with cabin-fever all through the summer months with these easy activities!


IN THE CLASSROOM


School may be out, but that doesn’t mean learning has to end!

Summer is the perfect month for your kids to explore new interests, hobbies, and sports. It’s also a wonderful time to show them that knowledge doesn’t have to be relegated to books and pencils. Workshops are a great way for kids to interact with others, make new friends, and develop their skills.

Get them involved in everything from music to dance, theater to arts and crafts, sports to cooking.  Find classes that match your kids’ personality, or ones you think may enhance their undiscovered abilities, especially in the areas they may not get as much exposure to during the school year as they would like, such as sports, arts, and music . . . then sit back and get ready for a productive summer! For more tips on picking good workshops your kids will appreciate and to see a list of some of the popular workshops this summer, check out Female Network’s “Summer + Workshops = Fun” article.


entertain_kids_garage_sale.jpgGO, GO GARAGE SALE!


Empty your overflowing attic and get your kids to help too!

Kids love to hold on to their toys, whether or not they’ve been in storage for the last few months or years. Getting them involved in a summer garage sale will help teach them the value of giving things to kids who are in need, and it will also instill in them the value of holding on to the things that count and letting go of less important things. Schedule your sale on a weekend; during weekdays, while you’re at work, get your kids to make throw-keep-and-store piles of toys, books, and clothes that you can check at night. Promise them a profit for the work they put in—bigger kids will love to help man the cash register or bag the goods you give away at the sale. A big project like this will keep everyone in the family busy and will leave your house clean and junk-free.


entertain_kids_ice_cream.jpgCOOL DOWN

Make a production out of homemade ice candies and other cool treats.

Keep the little ones from getting sugar shock from store-bought ice cream and other frozen goodies by getting them to create their own icy concoctions right at home. Ice trays in fun shapes can add some fun to ordinary glasses of juice or water, while popsicle sticks coupled with frozen juice can make for easy-to-make ice pops they can snack on during the day. And if you have the equipment, you may want to bust out that ice cream cranker and teach your kids to make their own ice cream! Dip your cones in melted chocolate and let cool before scooping up the ice cream for an added treat.

During your regular grocery haul, collect ingredients that comprise a yummy yogurt buffet with toppings like sliced bananas, cherries, and even chocolate bits. Check out Yummy.ph for more recipe suggestions.


MURAL, MURAL ON THE WALL


Have the kids join the fun as you give your home a fresh, cool makeover.

All it takes is redoing one wall in your house to give any space a totally new look. Paint one area of your kids’ room in blackboard paint and have them scrawl their very own “wallpaper” with colored chalk. Do an art installment and have kids do portraits and doodles on stiff paper that you can tack to a corkboard wall.

If you’re willing to take the plunge, muster up the courage to coat a wall with some fresh white paint and get the kids (and yourself) to go crazy splattering paint in whatever pattern or color they want. The choices are endless! Check out the Real Living Space official blog at for fun décor ideas!


ON THE HOMEFRONT

Get your kids to abandon their DSes and PSPs by teaching them tricks from a different time!

Give your kids a fun history lesson by exposing them to old games you used to play as a kid. Spend an afternoon with them doling out the classic rules of patintero or have them mix their own halo-halo after Friday night dinner. Read or tell them bedtime stories based on the well-loved legends you grew up with, or show them a slideshow of old family photos that will have them thinking about their history and heritage too.

At the end of the summer, the kids can have a mini-Pinoy games sports fest with their relatives and friends or create their own scrapbooks or time capsules of what they enjoy today so that their kids in the future have something to look through as well.


Whatever activities you plan to make your kids’ summer more productive and fun, the important thing is always to spend quality time with your kids. Whether you’re teaching your child how to paint an enchanted forest on his or her bedroom wall or how to play Marco Polo on your lawn, the truth is that you’re teaching your kids that summer vacation is family time—a lesson they’ll definitely appreciate when they have kids of their own. In the shorter term, you’re helping your child become more well-rounded, acquire a sense of personal history, and learn that family is just as much fun as friendship.


(Garage sale photo by FN Staff; ice cream baby photo source: sxc.hu)

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