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Thanks so much to my guest poster, Christy, for sharing these fun summer holidays you can celebrate with your kids. Christy is a homeschool mom who used to be a classroom teacher, and holiday teaching was her favorite thing to weave into the classroom. You can find her at Homeschool Holiday, where her blog and curriculum are dedicated to helping you use such Holiday of the Day learning in your educational endeavors.
Homeschooling my children has been one of my greatest joys in life. When we started (way back in 2006) I decided we would homeschool year round, because everything is learning. I wanted my children to embrace each day as a learning opportunity rather than count down the days until vacation. We absolutely took time “off” in the eyes of society. However, if you asked my children at the time – they would have responded that they were “doing school.”
Homeschooling for us was never intended to look like “school at home”. That’s the beauty of homeschooling – there is no wrong way to homeschool! Thanksgiving break was spent traveling to visit relatives, stopping at different places along the way to learn, see and do. Christmas break was cookie baking and crafts we made to give as gifts. Easter break was rich with religious traditions and gardening. When Summer arrived, there were still so many opportunities for learning I found it hard to put on the brakes. We would invite our relatives and friends over (who were on vacation) and put on a theatrical production in the backyard. You can see the trend!
I did need time to prep and plan for all these activities as well as our more rigorous academic pursuits. Summer is perfect for that! I imagine in your homeschool as well. You might even lighten your load all the way to align with traditional schools, affording the kids the opportunity to play with the neighbors and spend extra time with grandparents. These lazy days of Summer sometimes start to blend into one another, and after the exciting homeschool year, you might hear dreaded words: Mom I’m bored.
While boredom is something we all experience from time to time, many see it as a negative state of mind. According to Psychology Today, boredom can actually be good for you! There is nothing wrong with boredom, just our attitude about boredom. Like everything, if we apply a growth mindset there is bound to be a positive outcome!
Feeling bored is a way for our minds to relax a bit and avoid being overwhelmed. It provides us the opportunity to find something creative to do! Boredom allows the mind to wonder and problem solve. It helps us seek out adventure we may not otherwise have had. I keep a jar of craft sticks for just such times. We call them “free choice learning” picks.
One of the most memorable projects my son ever completed was technically done outside of school hours because (in his words), “I was done with everything and just wanted to”. We were studying the American Revolution and Douglas re-created the famous, “shot heard round the world” scene out of Lego figures. He was “bored” and filled his time accordingly.
You can read more about free choice learning sticks and how we use them over on the Homeschool Holiday Blog.
A key way to avoid Summer boredom is to plan ahead. Teach your kids to go to the “free choice learning jar” and post a calendar of these 5 fun holidays you will celebrate together. These unique holidays can create adventure, inspire creativity and perhaps even help shift the boredom mindset before it has time to creep into your house!
Here are my top 5 unique holidays to beat summer boredom and ideas for celebrating them!
Waffle Day – August 24th
Depending on how you would like to officially define waffles, they have been around since the ancient Greeks.The ancient Greeks cooked flat cakes between two metal plates. They were called: obelios
Fast forward through time to August 24, 1869 and those metal plates are now a patented product called the waffle iron! You can celebrate Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York by holding a special breakfast – one that includes making waffles in your waffle iron! To make it a truly festive occasion be sure to add toppings like fruit, whipped cream and sprinkles!
You may be wondering if you can just toss pancake batter into the waffle iron. According to Alton Brown.com – the answer is no, the batters are not interchangeable, and here’s why: There is more sugar in waffle batter so it caramelizes. Waffles also need more fat for their crisp exterior.
If you are not much of a chef and more of a creative – how about using frozen waffles as summer boredom buster for kids! The frozen waffle acts as a “stamp” with paint. You can create a “waffle” or your own unique design. You just need a few materials I bet you have around the house:
Paint & Foam brushes
Google eyes, Red yarn or pipe cleaner for mouth
Paper plates (white, uncoated work best)
Square of yellow paper
Bingo Day – June 27th
Bingo is a spin off game from an Italian lottery game that originated in 1530. Playing bingo is a surefire summer boredom buster for kids! It is played on a 5 x 5 square card, each column being labeled with the letters: B I N G O. The lotto boards were rectangular and contained 27 squares arranged in a 3 X 9 fashion. Bingo became popular in the United States in the early 1930s. Originally the game was called “Beano” as it was played using beans as markers. Legend surrounding the transition of the European lotto to the American Bingo claims that while testing the “new” version of Beano, one of the players accidentally called “BINGO!” and the name stuck.
Bingo is an educational way to teach letters, sight words, listening skills, cooperation, following directions, focus & concentration as well as accepting success & failure.
Homeschool Holiday has a few family friendly versions to beat summer boredom at home:
National Camera Day – June 29th
The camera and photography have a long rich history. The word photography is based on two Greek words, photo which means light and graphy meaning writing. Photography therefore means: writing with light. The earliest cameras were very large, often the size of a room so that one or more people could fit inside them. Now we carry a camera in our pocket – our phone!
There are so many things a picture can do:
Provide us with evidence (think police work)
Produce a photocopy of sorts (when used as verbs, copy means to produce an object identical to a given object, whereas photocopy means to make a copy using a photocopier.so in this sense our camera is acting as the photocopier.)
A camera is a boredom buster in itself – as the saying goes: a picture tells a thousand words – what story can you tell with your camera? Send the kids on a photography mission to take 10 pictures. Print the pictures, (just use your home printer) and have them arrange them into any order they would like, then narrate a silly story!
More activities for National Camera Day that are sure to be summer boredom busters:
- Gather a few pictures and create a mini scrapbook together
- Plan to take a family picture
- Go on a photo Scavenger hunt
National US Postage Stamp Day – July 1st
Before stamps, you simply paid to mail your item, but stamps were not required. When you went to mail a letter, you walked in, paid the fee and off the letter went. Beginning July 1, 1847 you could use a stamp! Stamps are considered a form of currency, or a system of money. Many people enjoy collecting stamps.
The post office produces stamps to honor people in history, for special occasions and to commemorate historical places. Stamps come in different denominations to serve different purposes.
To celebrate National US Postage Stamp Day you can:
- Design your own stamp
- Write and mail a letter, go to the post office to buy your postage
- Start a stamp collection
National Tape Measure Day – July 14th
Tape measures can be found everywhere! They are basically easily bent tools used to measure size or distance.The first recorded use of the tape measure goes back to the Romans, utilizing marked strips of leather. They evolved as their use increased over time. Eventually, Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut was granted a patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures”. On July 14, 1868, the retractable tape measure was born! This new feature allowed tape measures to be manufactured so they fit in tool boxes, and even pockets!
- Use a tape measure to measure items around the house, include a variety of sizes.
- If you have a soft tape measure – it is great fun to measure the circumference of your head!
- Measure how tall each family member is. We stand against a wall and mark the wall with a pencil to compare. Use a measuring tape to measure height in feet and inches! (NOTE: if you don’t want to mark the wall, a long roll of paper and the floor work too!) Record the results on your calendar and repeat next National Tape Measure day to compare!
I also have a free printable worksheet you can use to record your measurement adventures called HOW THINGS MEASURE UP . It’s a simple graphic organizer for the kids household measurement quest as well as a place to record the family’s statistics! The download also includes a simple measurement reference tool for length, area and US to metric conversions.
There are many more unique and wacky holidays each day to beat the summertime boredom blues. Shifting our mindset regarding boredom is important too. Encourage your kids to let their minds wander and relax. Learning to accept and overcome boredom at a young age is an important skill. Everything is learning, even being bored!