With the kids getting out of school, a lot of parents (including myself) are concerned that the next three months of vacation are going to be spent on the sofa, watching movies or playing video games in our over air-conditioned homes. While sometimes in late July, on a Sunday afternoon, this sounds great to me, the goal of being a kid, and not having to work those summers is to get out and play!
You’re not located right on the beach? So what! Although, that would be my first piece of advice…Buy a beach house! You won’t be able to stay indoors during the summer months! But, I digress…
I do spend most of my time on the inside, perfecting the interior of people’s homes and I have made it very clear that the outdoors can be a tad different. It is not my forte (thumbs are permanently brown).
So, my solution for getting the kids outside and away from all the electronics is to provide them with a space that makes it enjoyable for them to run and play and want to spend time outdoors. While my children are still very young (18 months and 3.5 years), my examples may not apply to everyone, but the general principles should be universal.
Take your everyday indoor activities outside:
I fully encourage my clients, especially the ones in the warmer climates, to have and enjoy their outdoor spaces. Something as simple as moving everyday activities from inside to a screened in porch can completely change the dynamic of ordinary activities. Reading books, eating breakfast, and putting together puzzles in the fresh air can give kids the jump start they need to continue activities outside.
Give your kids responsibilities:
Giving your kids responsibilities outside of the home is an important part of summer break and encourages a sense of discipline even in those lazy days of summer. My kids’ job is to water my flower pots (remember those brown thumbs?). They are too little to cut the grass or pull weeds, and don’t get me started on what happened when we tried to spread mulch together as a family….
We planted the flowers together and now it is their job to take care of them.
Create a place to play:
I would have loved to save the gorgeous landscaping we put in our yard pre-children, however, a swing set soon became a necessity. So, we broke ground and the bank and got them a swing set. Yes, it messes with my well-manicured lawn, but if I want my kids to enjoy these warmer months, they need a place to play and we have provided that!
A place to rest:
While nap time in the hot sun would definitely not happen in my home, we did set up an outdoor daybed swing for our kids to have some quiet time while enjoying some fresh air. In the heat of summer, this spot is most enjoyable early in the morning and later in the evening; just a little breeze is all you need!
A few extra tips to help you enjoy the outdoors as much as the children:
- Install outdoor fans on your covered porches. Just getting the air moving makes a world of difference.
- Get the indoor feeling outside with some outdoor cushions and rugs to add comfort to your spaces.
- Make sure to call Terminix and get them to come out for fire ant removal. Those precious little feet can get eaten up so quickly, and the whole experience can go downhill when little ankles are bit.