In case you missed our last adult transformation evening of the series, here are the highlights from the elementary portion (if you missed the primary, sorry, you’re out of luck)…
In Ms. Anna’s session we discussed ways to keep our second plane (6-12 year old) children entertained and engaged throughout the long, glorious summer ahead. Anna brought us barrels of suggestions for day-to-day activities and camps which can inspire their wonder-oriented second plane minds. She also shared strategies for including spontaneity while maintaining the structure these children still need, and even gave tips for keeping them connected academically.
Note: unless otherwise indicated, these ideas are also great for first plane children (0-6 years old). Most examples are geared toward 6-12 year olds.
1. Bracket their day
- choose a routine to begin and end each day
- ideas to begin the day: water the garden, read, bathe, discuss the day together
- ideas to end the day: discuss highs and lows of the day, read aloud to them, prayers, journal – written or doodle (use a timer and you do yours at the same time)
- keep this routine very consistent – even on vacations when possible
- if this routine is going to change for any reason, tell children ahead of time so they know what to expect
2. Establish periodicity
- create activities that occur at regular intervals
- ex: every Friday we go to the park, Monday is library day, one evening each week the child(ren) is responsible for making a meal
3. Keep spontaneity
- surprise them, but keep surprises low key (ex: bike ride, hike, movie night, etc.)
- make sure that spontaneous activities are low stakes for you – meaning it’s okay with you if they happen or not (don’t “surprise” your children with an expensive vacation or something that is very important to you)
- if you’re planning a high key activity or something that has high stakes for you, tell them ahead of time and allow anticipation
4. Continue chores
- resist the temptation to “let them out” of their regular responsibilities just because it’s summer – even if they complain about it
- this consistency and contribution to the household is important
Cater to the Second Plane Window Shopper (This section does NOT apply for children 0-6)
- summer is the perfect opportunity to take children out of their comfort zone and introduce them to lots of different kinds of activities
- many camps are only one week long – sign up for as many as you can (let them choose one and you choose one)
- this is the perfect opportunity to explore new things with very little/no risk
- cast your net broadly
- they have interests that neither you nor they know that they have
- a few examples/ideas (there are thousands – these are just a couple to get you thinking): theater, bead classes (you can find these for free), Forest Park, History Museum, Art Museum, The Muny, Shakespeare in the Park, Renaissance Festival, Endangered Wolf Center, Laumeier Sculpture Park, circus camp, YMCA, Six Flags, library (story time or book club), bird watching, pottery class, sewing class
- when looking at the people working with the children, try and find those with lots of expertise and/or lots of energy (ideally both)
Feed the triune aspect of your child (every day when possible)
- examples: swimming, yoga, martial arts, organized sports, hiking, biking
- keep academics a part of your daily life in a light and fun way
- examples: baking, doing puzzles, geocaching, scavenger hunts, riddle books, play games (some good ones are Swish, Once Upon a Time, Rush Hour, Mancala, Set, Phiz Buzz)
- examples: religious practices, art, practical life activities, connect with nature, service projects
A note about screen time (TV, video games, computer, etc.): while this will probably be somewhat increased over the summer, it is important not to let children go overboard in this area. It’s best to set a schedule and clear expectations and stick to them (ex: the TV/computer/video games can only be on from 3-4 everyday).
Remember that OakHaven offers an incomparable summer camp option for primary aged children (2½ – 6 years old). Reserve your spot now before they’re all filled.
We hope you and your family have a delightful and fulfilling summer!