Friday, June 6, 2008

Free For All Friday: Staying Sane When School is Out


And the winner of the fun note cards thanks to Matthew, my-pick-a-name-out-of-a-hat-assistant, is... cspgradstudent.  If it's o.k., I'll present them to you, in person, on Wednesday! Otherwise you'll cross in the mail.

First an amendment to Free for All Friday, compliments of my smart and intuitive friend, Heather.  Heather assures me, if I didn't assign a Free for All Friday topic, that our readers would have plenty of last minute topics around which brainstorming could occur.  So, my I-S-T-J self (Myer's Brigg Personality Type, for anyone who doesn't know) is willing to relax and be more willy nilly about the whole thing.  From here on out, I might present a topic, but I might not. Regardless, you should feel free to chime in on any given Friday with something you would like discussed or brainstormed.  No limit to the number of topics being tossed about.

A topic I bring to the table today is... strategies for staying sane now that school is out and kids are hanging around the house.  I met a woman in line the other day who explained this was the first year her ten and twelve year old would be staying home instead of going to daycare.  She was a nervous about how she would balance their being home with her working out of the house.  Another friend of mine typically plays host to all the neighborhood kids who love playing in her pool, drinking refreshments out of her refrigerator and eating her out of house and home.  So you see, with school just out and eighty-one more days until Ricky starts back, it has the potential to be a looooooooooonnnnnnnnnngggggggg summer!

What ideas or strategies have you employed, heard about, read about, or dreamt about to keep yourself and your kids sane?

Here are a couple of my own thoughts...

As you might remember me sharing during Random Acts of Kindness Week, I had a little sister through United Way while living in Ohio.  Her mother didn't have the means to send her to summer camp, so summers for Amanda were long and uneventful.  I worked as well, which is to say I was no great help in entertaining her either.  That is, with the exception of one activity we would do each summer.  Here it is...

At the start of the summer I would present Amanda with ten large manila envelopes.  Inside each was a weekly challenge.  Completing each challenge earned her Funny Money, which at the end of the summer could be cashed in for something(s) of her choice.  I don't remember all the challenges, but some of the activities were things such as:
  • Create and advertise a lemonade stand, raising money for a local group.
  • Memorize where each state in the union is and then successfully complete a playground-sized map of the USA, drawn with side walk chalk.
  • Start a club on your block.  Develop a purpose, rules, membership.
  • Seal a time capsule.
  • Produce a show to be performed for me, her mother, and anyone else she wanted to invite.
  • Create an invention using random items supplied by me.
You get the gist.

Here's another thought... Co-op Camp.  Picture this....  Five friends or mothers get together. Each takes one day of the week (if you couldn't negotiate one day off from work each week in the summer then each mother would take one week off work and host for a full week at a time). Here's an example...
  • Mondays with Claudia for art camp
  • Tuesday with Cassie for cooking camp
  • Wednesdays with Cheryl for drama camp
  • Thursdays with Wendy for sports camp
  • Fridays with Erica for spy/detective camp.
Yes, you must create one day's worth of activity a week, but then you get the gift of having your kids engaged for the other four days... FREE!

Now your turn... what other ideas do we have for surviving summer?  P.S.  You don't have to have kids to have good ideas surrounding this topic.

  • Today is Taste of USA-What's-Your-State-Made-of-Voting-Day.  So, if you live in Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Carolina, or Arizona... TODAY is your day.  Post the largest number of notable things about your state and be in the running to win the fun-filled day of brainstorming with Claudia and Cheryl... who will visit you in your state!  You won't want to miss it.
  • Up next week...Utah, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota (come on Julie Cole), and Arkansas.
  • Bigger or Better: We're still looking for someone to offer up a trade for Maureen's generous offer of a case of Sauvignon Blanc wine, delivered to your door step.  Come on. Our goal is to trade up for a plane ticket by the first week of August.

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