I’ve never had to concern myself about summer activities for kids before. As a millennial mom, it’s been a long time since I’ve been bothered about what I was gonna do for the summer. Besides, back then, it was very simple. My Dad would pack my sister and I a bag (our knapsacks) the first weekend after school let out and we’d ship out to my grandmother’s house, never to return until that final week in August to get our uniforms fitted for the new school year.
Sometimes, if we liked, we could go to Vacation Bible School a few short weeks, before going to grandma’s house.
It was a wild time, a feature of our childhood that made us abominably happy and many Caribbean kids can attest to. We’d spend our days with our youngest aunt and uncle, and the neighbourhood kids we grew up like sibling extensions we only got to see a couple of times a year.
My Summer as a Jamaican Kid
We’d be allowed to roam the yard, play games, water wars, sit by the gate and have big debates for hours or on the property marking walls ‘writing songs and singing’ well into the night.
Backyard tents, video games (when the boys let us play), roller skating and bicycle riding up and down the street and macaroni and cheese with ice chilled syrup every day for lunch.
I’m the Parent Now
It was a wonderful but a different time decades ago. So now in my 30s with my own kid, that’s not going to fly. Sure, the grandparents would love for hubby and I to ship Sio off to them for two months, and we may one day, but for now she’s only four and as still-new parents, we’re not ready for that yet. So a week (or two if we really push it) will have to do.
That means that after finally getting to complete her first two terms of school, little Reid is on officially on holiday, and I’ll have to think of ways to fill her days for weeks. And this, this is new. So all I know about summer vacations mean nothing.
The phones aren’t attached to walls anymore. Watching a movie or music videos don’t require the big black VCR tapes anymore. They’ve got Netflix and YouTube and my kid can walk in and ask me to cast her favorite show to the TV from my phone and I don’t have to move from where I am.
Summer activities for kids look different. There are no cousins and neighbourhood kids for her to roam with, so if she wants to play outside, I have to make the time to supervise. My kid’s got a bicycle and balls, but she’ll be out kicking or riding and when she gets to hot, she’s done and matches inside to cool down. When she is cooler, she’s done.
To top it all off, we’re still mid-pandemic.
Screen Time is Brutal
Imagine being a child in the same decade where parents chastised the kids for too much screen time only to find parents and teachers expecting you to sit for hours sitting still in front of, you guessed it, screens! Talk about pent up energy.
That has to be brutal.
My daughter was able to go to face to face classes thank God, but way too many kids weren’t and even so, outdoor time wasn’t what it was before. The school worked overtime to make sure the kids had outside play days safely, and I could always tell when she has those days with one look at her shoes.
I’ve put screen time restrictions on the iPad to prevent her sitting there with it in her face all day since it’s all too easy for that to happen when all day is spent indoors.
My daughter’s school has summer school, but we’ve decided no on that. Even thought she loves school, we could tell she was tired of the routine. Each morning was getting more and more difficult to get her into the bathroom to get ready, even though she’d be fine after that.
And my kid is just like me, so no surprise there when she started telling us plain and straight, she didn’t want to go. We wanted to stay home. This from “time for school” being the thing we used to get her out of bed in the morning. I understood Cz honestly, the routinely was wearing me out too. Hashtag mom life.
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5 Summer Activities for Kids in 2021
I’m out of my element, but here’s what I’ve come up with in terms of keeping her occupied for the next few weeks.
1. Maintain Extra Curricular Activities
This one was easy for me. I recommend it if you can manage it. My kid is in swimming and she loves it. Keeping it on her weekly schedule was a no brainer since it’s hot as all get out in Jamaica, and is a good way to keep her cool a few afternoons out of the week.
Kingston doesn’t have kids playground like that in most communities, and the Swim school she goes to had one that they had packed in due to the virus. They put them back out now, and I’m glad. So letting her play on the facilities little playground after her sessions is also a good little escape for her (and me).
Two-in-one ace in the hole? I’ll take it!
2. Blow Up Swimming Pool
Again, summer. Is. Hot. As. Hell. So far, real/feel temperatures have been averaging close to forty degrees. I am physical exhausted daily. It’s a o hot, even the thought of going to the beach isn’t appealing. I’m picturing to the hot sand and I’m not encouraged at all, beautiful as it may be.
Today is even a cooler days (subjectively) and as I’m here editing this blog and making breakfast, I’m springing water from places I don’t care to name.
That’s why I know she’ll appreciate a few pool days where she can just play for as long as she wants, however she wants. That autonomy isn’t at swim school. I’ve been stacking a pack of bag juice in the freezer since the heat descended, with plans to keep her fed, hydrated and sunscreen.
3. River Trips
While we’re on the topic of the heat, river sounds like a much more relaxing adventure than the beach. Jamaica is full of hidden gems and waterfalls that are amazing p[laces to be when it’s hot. Armed with a list of rivers and waterfalls a mile long from fellow Jamaican bloggers Adventures from Elle and Simply Local that I’ve been dying to explore, it’s the perfect way to get out of the house and enjoy it with this heat.
4. Learning Sessions
I don’t want her to fall off. She is doing so very well, hubby and I beamed with pride when we had her parents conference. She’s learning to read as well and I make a little time with her each day to read a page or paragraph to keep her up with her studies. To help her read too, we have a routine from her spelling bee practice where I’m keeping new sight words on her chalkboard. Once we go over the words once and I tell her what they are, after a few days, I realise she’d taught herself the words and can recognise them when reading, so we’re just going to continue with that.
I’ve decided to let her finish out her text books with the activities that weren’t completed over the school year.I want her to keep up, but not to feel pressured.
5. Arts & Crafts
My kid loves to paint. So I’m thinking water paint, coloured fudge sticks, glue, glitter and whatever else I can get my hands on to make it more enjoyable for her.
I think these tings will cover a few weeks enough. But remember, I’m new at this.
What kind of summer activities do you do with your kids? Share some in the comments!
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