Wanna know what happens in our house when someone declares, "I'm bored"? I give them chores. (I know...I'm mean, right?) So this phrase is not spoken very often around here. Even with limited t.v. and even more limited time on the computer/iPad/Wii/other electronics, my kids know that if they can't find something to do, I will find them something to do. And it won't be nearly as fun as whatever they chose.
When our day isn't perfectly planned out and orchestrated, and without electronic entertainment to fall back on, I find that my kids' brains are kicked into high gear. They play dress up, make up games and performances, color and draw, sell lemonade (or toys or paper airplanes) at the end of the driveway, build forts - you name it, they've done it.
Yet, if I were to say, "You guys should play dress up..." I'll hear moans and groans. They need to come up with the ideas on their own. I've learned to keep my mouth shut.
Remember when we were kids? We'd play outside till the street lights came on and we always seemed to figure out something to do! The media has scared us into believing that the world isn't safe for us to let our kids have those kinds of freedoms anymore, so we lock them up and plop them in front of the t.v. or video games all day. And even if I think it's okay to let my son play in the neighborhood, few other parents will do the same - which ends up taking away from the idea of "safety in numbers" and the danger factor actually increases, in my opinion.
Don't get me started.
For the month of July, our t.v. is going OFF. I'll still use the educational games on my iPad as bribery for the kids, especially Jason, but we are going to be virtually media-free. And I can't wait.
Since Kaylin's last day of Kindergarten, the big kids have become best friends once again. It's beautiful! Almost too beautiful to break up, sometimes. In fact, homeschool has taken the back seat in the last few weeks because every time I'm ready to get started, they've created some crazy new game or are up to their eyeballs in a fun activity. I'm completely fine with reuniting my family before incorporating Kaylin into our school routine. So we've given ourselves a little short summer break, after all.
My point in all of this? Don't over-schedule your kids. Don't cram your days full of camps and planned play dates and Vacation Bible Schools and sports practices and music lessons. I think our fear is that our kids will be bored all summer if they don't have things to do, but realistically, creativity is born out of boredom.
Still keep an eye on them, of course. Some bored kids channel their creativity positively with games and activities, others play with matches in the garage. (there are days that I wonder if Jason will be the latter...) So be smart about it and stay involved from a distance. :)
Let your kids get bored every day and see what they come up with! They might surprise you.