As a parent with school age children, the long stretch of summer can seem overwhelming. This is especially true if you are on your own due to a deployment. Some families do well with unstructured summer time and happily spend their days swimming with no complaints of boredom and no one getting on each other’s nerves. My children are not like this; they need structure and activities or else they succumb to boredom induced hyperactivity and mischief.
The library, both on and off base, offer summer programs in the form of preschool story time or fun programs for elementary school children. Many libraries also offer incentives for summer reading. In addition to attending library events, these programs encourage children to set aside reading time during the summer.
Some stores have craft programs. Michael’s, is offering “Passport to the Imagination” this summer at the cost of $2 per child per 2 hour session. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer free Saturday programs for kids to do a craft.
If you like cultural activities, Blue Star Museums offer free admission to military families at select museums across the country between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The US National Park Service offers a free annual pass to military families as well. With the children out of school, summer is a good time to take advantage of these free passes for camping, hiking, and hands on learning about the environment.
4-H offers youth and family camps specifically for military families. The family camp allows younger elementary age campers to attend with their parents, while the youth camps are sleep away camps for those old enough to experience camp away from their parents.
If your child has special needs, the Wrights Law website has a comprehensive list of summer ideas. It specifies which programs are specific to military families or a specific learning disability.
Kids love swimming and swimming epitomizes summer. The YMCA offers swim lessons, day camps, and sport programs for children. In addition, the YMCA offers special programs for military families with an active duty member deployed for 6 months or longer.
Our family has a short summer this year as we are currently living in a location with year round school, so my boys have a 6 week summer break. For me 6 weeks is a perfect length of time for a school break—enough to relax but not enough to run out of things to do. My high energy boys will be doing a variety of the above named activities to make the best of their short summer break.
Do you love the relaxation of summer or is your family one that thrives on the structure of activities the school year brings? What activities do you already have planned?