Lily and the rest of the Superheroes Club aren’t exactly pre-teens just yet, but someday they will be. If they have this kind of go-getter energy now, with plenty of desire to help others and take action, we can only imagine how they might be super anxious to do lots of things this summer!
If you have pre-teens or older kids, here are some great ways to involve them in diverse activities this summer without specifically giving them something “to do,” yet providing age appropriate opportunities.
Studies show that at various ages, children’s sleep patterns change, and your pre-teen and older kids are no exception. During summer, this can be especially problematic because they want to stay up late and spend more time in activities that excite them and invigorate them, especially before bedtime. This leads to your pre-teen sleeping in most mornings and you wondering, “Is this how they’re going to spend their summer?” Consider a compromise where you allow them one or two mornings a week to sleep in, but on those mornings they are responsible for making a big breakfast for everyone when they wake up. This could be a clever way to get them to try their hand at culinary arts and engage them in a family, friendly activity, with the added benefit that you might help create a future budding chef or at least someone who feels comfortable in the kitchen.
Fill a bag with items you might have on hand, in the garage, or even from the local hardware or craft store. Present your child with the bag and challenge him or her to actually invent or create something that can be used by a family member or even donated to a needy organization. Maybe identify some problems around the house and see if your child can come up with a solution and be your Superhero with his or her new invention or creation. It might also be exciting for you to sit down and try to problem solve together. Any activity that encourages children to identify problems and then attempt to solve them, is an important skill and life lesson for children at any age. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas.
The Comic Book
Could there be a budding artist or writer in your house? Consider giving your pre-teen or older child an opportunity to explore his or her creative talents by encouraging your child to design a comic book or other creative project, for example. With the abundance of electronic devices and software available, as well as ordinary paper, pencils and other art supplies, it’s easier than ever for your child to consider this as a possible summer activity. What a sense of accomplishment and pride your child will feel when he or she presents a completed project to family and friends at the end of the summer.
Wash the car
This may be a perfect outdoor, summer activity for your child or for you and your child together. So many pre-teens enjoy the classic “wash me” written in dust on a windshield. Summer is a great time to encourage your child to wash the family car(s) and also learn how to conserve water in the process. Make it more appealing by offering to pay for the car wash. Discuss the idea of repurposing the water directly into your garden or lawn or saving the water in buckets to use at a later time. This is also a great opportunity to discuss having to wait until your designated watering days (if you have them) or waiting until after a designated hour and the responsibility that all of us have to conserve and use water wisely and responsibly. Washing cars can take several hours and can be a great way to have fun and bond with your child. It might even awaken their entrepreneurial spirit to sell their services to the neighbors, friends and other family members.
This is a big Superheroes Club to-do activity! Consider signing your older child up for a community outreach or cleanup program. There are so many, and the summer is a great time for them to participate in one or more. It’s an excellent opportunity to take part in an activity in which the entire family can participate as well. It also opens the door to meet new friends, from other communities and schools, who share similar values and believe it is important to be socially aware and give back to the community in a meaningful way. So, together with your child, research which organizations are sponsoring such events and together decide which community clean is one you would all like to participate in. It too could be a fun and unique way to spend a morning or afternoon and a way to model the positive ways to help one’s community. It also gives, you, the parent, the opportunity to see how your child is becoming a caring and sharing member of his or her community.
From community cleanups to creating comic books or other creative projects, and with your guidance and encouragement, your pre-teen and older kids won’t have a shortage of things to do this summer.