I don’t know about your children, but mine tend to get bored easily during Christmas and spring breaks as well as summer break. Boredom leads to lots of whining and loads of trouble. It is times like those that make this homeschooling mommy want to schedule school all year round. The problem with that is I NEED A BREAK! Skipping break is a punishment for me just as much as it would be for them.

I need time to catch up on all of the other things that get placed on the back burner during our school year. I need a break from grading, paperwork, record keeping. Homeschooling knits us close together, but I need time with my children without any hindrances or pressures this world tries to heap on us.

Let’s face it—every endeavor in this life takes some sort of effort especially if you want it to be successful. With a little planning, your children can have the excitement they need while you get the vacation you so desperately deserve!

A few things you’ll need to remember: there will be times when you’ll have to let go and let the children make a mess. Have them help you clean it up, but allow them to just be children and have fun. Also, be sure to consider the age appropriateness and level of maturity of your children for each activity. Now, check out these awesome activities to keep your blessings busy:

   •  Let your children build a fort over furniture.
   •  Have a camp out in the backyard or inside your home complete with flashlights, 
       pup tents, campfire or microwave s’mores.
   •  Bake cutout sugar cookies and decorate with sprinkles or icing. You can even
       make it educational by using alphabet or number cookie cutters and spell or
       perform math with them, or make a map of your state with the dough.
   •  Decorate and eat cupcakes.
   •  Have a bubble blowing competition.
   •  Play Twister in swimsuits with colored shave cream.
   •  Purchase pompoms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, glue, construction paper,
       popsicle sticks, or craft kits. Put down lots of newspaper or an old sheet, and have
       a craft day! Children can gift their crafts to grandparents, aunts, uncles, church
       family, the elderly, etc.
   •  Make or purchase play money, set up a cash register or calculator, have children
       use stickers to put price tags on toys or other items, and let them play store.
   •  Allow children to use cooker cutters and plastic knives to play with play dough.
       If you’re worried about mess, set it up outside at a table or on a blanket.
   •  Buy random, inexpensive food ingredients and let children make their own snack
       creations whether or not the foods go together.
   •  Blind-folded gourmet jelly bean challenge; have children guess flavors.
   •  Keep old broken appliances and electronics. Be sure to check them for any
       safety precautions, remove old batteries, etc. Let children take them apart
       and put them back together (this was a favorite and very educational past
       time of my son).
   •  Play board and card games. Here are some of our favorites: Sorry, Ticket to Ride,
       Uno, Candy Land, Settlers of Catan, Twister
   •  Set up minute-to-win-it games.
   •  Fill a jar with random acts of kindness written on small pieces of paper. Let the
       children choose one for each time you go out of the house.
   •  Run through sprinklers.
   •  Sidewalk paint and chalk.
   •  Go for a nature walk.
   •  Go for a bike ride.
   •  Have a picnic lunch.
   •  Finger painting with paint or food.
   •  Swimming.
   •  Water balloons.
   •  Have a Lego building challenge choosing themes for the projects like holidays or
       a topic you are learning in school.
   •  Volunteer at a nursing home or children’s hospital.
   •  Volunteer at an animal shelter.
   •  Plan a sleepover with another family and trade off the following week, giving both
       sets of parents a break.
   •  If you have to run errands or take care of things during your break, take the
       children along but plan ahead by making a way to involve them in the process.
       For example, allow them to help with grocery shopping by letting them grab
       things off shelf, push cart, or scan items at the self-checkout. Allow them to make
       and manage the shopping list. You can even teach them couponing or budgeting.
   •  Make popcorn, rent or stream movies, and have a movie afternoon.

With a little planning ahead, you can plan an exciting activity each day. Depending on the age of your children, many of these can be done without much involvement from you. That means you can utilize these activities to keep your monkeys busy while you enjoy a productive and hopefully restful break!

Mandy Dufries

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