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Medicmom2.0

My kids are bored

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My kids are going nuts.

To be fair, this summer is different.  We usually spend the summer camping, boating and  doing other fun things.  That’s not a possibility this year—DH and I are both working two jobs to try to pay off medical bills.

   The other problem is that there are no kids around to play with. There’s no kids on our street and their friends from school are not around during the day anyway(and I’m working most nights).   The town lost the summer rec grant so there isn’t the normal summer activities and the library isn’t doing a summer kids reading program.  My kids are so bored.  Part of this is that they don’t play well together—DS9 spends his time imagining and constructing epic, elaborate, very complicated fantasy games with millions of rules and things to keep track of(think Dungeons and Dragons) and is mad when no one wants to play or listen to him discuss this all the time. DD7 wants to draw and color—she is very social and is very, very lonely, which is coming out as whiny complaining. DS4 basically wants to spray the water hose and annoy his older siblings.  I’m trying to limit screen time but keep defaulting to it.  

In other years, we’ve camped almost every week at campgrounds with lots of people and activities. My kids, even the ASD one, make friends quickly and don’t mind playing with new kids.  We are just overloaded with therapy appointments and trying to make ends meet this year. But seriously, the kids are driving me(and each other) crazy.

Cheap, entertaining suggestions?  I’m not able to solve the nobody-to-play-with problem, but fun things we can do will help.

Edited by Medicmom2.0

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I am so sorry!
I made ds a "chore list" this summer.  Besides his usual chores he needs to:
-practice
-create something
-play outside
-read for half an hour
Once he's done I don't care what he does (including screen time), but the two of us sat down and made lists to go with each of the requirements above.  I made a shelf of creative activities and posted the list next to it if he gets stuck finding something.  He's reading from the Mensa book list to earn a t-shirt.  We made a full list of everything acceptable to do outside.
Usually the above kills about 4 hours of his day.

I'd also maybe branch out and look for things beyond the library program.  Sometimes museums and town offices or state parks have hidden gems.  Like, we have the opportunity this Sunday to go to a 17th century Puritan church service.  Will my kids particularly enjoy it?  Nope.  Will they have something to talk about after?  Yep.  Next week we'll go on an evening hike with a park ranger.  And several places in our area take part in Free Fun Fridays, which would be nice except our triangle gets slammed by traffic so we won't be going to those.

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artforkidshub.com fun, free drawing lessons that take a good half hour at least

water squirters and buckets of water outside

i know it’s screen time, but how about having ds9 make ‘YouTube videos’ (not actually posted) of him explaining his elaborate game? It could possibly eliminate the need to tell/annoy his siblings. Basically, he just records himself with a phone explaining it all/showing it all YouTube-style. 

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Maybe take a break from the therapies and such and use that time for family time?

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Have you been to Cass Park? Its usually crowded with kids in the summer, has pool and ice skating. Elmira has cheap roller skating and inexpensive rides at Eldridge Park if you have a couple hours to kill. Tanglewood Center is also free and should use up a couple of hours to roam around, then head to Harris Hill’s playground, that’s always full of kids when we go during the summer. Corning has a free summer program for kids, theycan go as often as they like for a few more weeks, I think it’s 10-3:00 up to age 11. Corning also has2 nice pools and ice skating. Can you just spend a couple hours at the swimming area of one of the Finger Lakes? We were there near Penn Yan and the swim area was full of happy, screaming kids.

 

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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Are you on Pinterest? I just searched "kids summer activities" and there are a lot of pins with crazy activities they can do at home. You would want to make a plan to ensure you have the materials you need, but you should be able to come up with some special activities.

Example: Each child make a volcano out of clay (or home made play doh) on one day. When it is dry (a few days later), each child paints their volcano.  Then, when they paint is dry on a subsequent day they can either erupt their volcanos with vinegar and baking soda, or add D & D figurines for an imaginary play quest (or whatever it is called in D & D).   Also, if you make a theme out of this, if you make chocolate cupcakes and position them upside down, they have a volcano shape and you can tint frosting to look like lava. Kids bake the cupcakes and can frost their own cupcakes and that is a project unto itself. 

Good luck!  My kids are 10 years older than yours and this era is over for me.  I miss it. 

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For the young ones, gardening?  For the older kid, what about online summer camp?  He might like something like Brain Chase, which is fairly affordable.  (Not sure if it's too late to sign up.)

Do they do scouts?  Even of they don't, I've noticed that you can find the Boy Scout badge requirements online.  You could give them the task of earning some those badges unofficially, with a reward upon completion.  The side benefit is that they learn life skills and possibly do more chores over the summer.  😛

There are also online sources of science projects that don't require a lot of financial investment. 

Do you have a space in hour house (attic / basement / shed / closet etc.) that needs decluttering?  Tell the kids they can clean that out and make it into their personal space.

Another free option is to look up service opportunities in your area.  Tree planting, grounds clearing, reading to a younger child, packing food / clothing donation boxes ... if there are no organized ones, invent some.

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Have your kids looked at DIY club?  My kids really enjoyed fooling around with that one summer.  won't help your toddler but your older kids might find some direction and inspiration.

https://diy.org/

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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2 hours ago, Janeway said:

Maybe take a break from the therapies and such and use that time for family time?

I don't think that's a workable choice for the OP. 

If you have a wooden fence, they can 'paint' it with spray bottles of water. Lacking a fence, pieces of plywood will do. 

Water play in general. If the preschooler can refrain from dumping the water out, you can fill some bins and have funnels, tubing, pvc pipe, and various containers available. You can set the hose to a drizzle or drip setting and they can play for a long time without using an insane amount of water. 

Give them a corner of the yard to dig and destroy. My kids would spend endless hours tearing up our yard, lol. 

If you can set up one or two small camping trips, might it occupy them to plan it? Not helpful plans, necessarily, but talking about what they are going to do, etc. 

Have one meal per week be themed. If you can manage it, it's more fun if you set it up throughout the week by reading stories and watching movies. If you own Story of the World, this is easy to do! Read a chapter about China, do a coloring page, watch Mulan, eat Chinese food, lol (it doesn't have to be takeout),  The kids can be responsible for decorations, that's fun and uses up some time. 

Challenge them to memorize poetry or history lists. Have a set time that they can exhibit, like every Wednesday after supper. Let them make their own 'certificate' each time they succeed and post it in the kitchen. You could also do book reports and whatnot. Kids love attention and most love competition, lol. If you get one kid started and give them kudos and attention, the others will likely follow. 

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Anything involving dirt and water provides the longest periods of play here. I'm not sure if this is feasible financially, but around here a dumptruck load of plain dirt can be $100 or so. We recently needed a few loads for a landscaping project, and I had it delivered early. We had a kids' party with the dirt as the main activity and it was fantastic. Perfect for all kinds of diggers, trucks, Mud kitchen, making rivers and waterways . . . I got lots of pots and pans, kitchen supplies from goodwill that they love. The dirt stayed in place for a few weeks before being leveled, and the kids spent so many hours playing out there. There was some fighting, but with a dumptruck load, they can be on opposite sides and play separately too. 

Eta: Also, projects that require lots of energy but are fun for them too. My son loves to pull and dump the small wagon we have, so he gets the "moving dirt" jobs.

Edited by Jentrovert

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4 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

I am so sorry!
I made ds a "chore list" this summer.  Besides his usual chores he needs to:
-practice
-create something
-play outside
-read for half an hour
Once he's done I don't care what he does (including screen time), but the two of us sat down and made lists to go with each of the requirements above.  I made a shelf of creative activities and posted the list next to it if he gets stuck finding something.  He's reading from the Mensa book list to earn a t-shirt.  We made a full list of everything acceptable to do outside.
Usually the above kills about 4 hours of his day.

I'd also maybe branch out and look for things beyond the library program.  Sometimes museums and town offices or state parks have hidden gems.  Like, we have the opportunity this Sunday to go to a 17th century Puritan church service.  Will my kids particularly enjoy it?  Nope.  Will they have something to talk about after?  Yep.  Next week we'll go on an evening hike with a park ranger.  And several places in our area take part in Free Fun Fridays, which would be nice except our triangle gets slammed by traffic so we won't be going to those.



This except our kids read/listen 2 hours a day.

Generally they'll do some bigger project with me too.

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2 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Have you been to Cass Park? Its usually crowded with kids in the summer, has pool and ice skating. Elmira has cheap roller skating and inexpensive rides at Eldridge Park if you have a couple hours to kill. Tanglewood Center is also free and should use up a couple of hours to roam around, then head to Harris Hill’s playground, that’s always full of kids when we go during the summer. Corning has a free summer program for kids, theycan go as often as they like for a few more weeks, I think it’s 10-3:00 up to age 11. Corning also has2 nice pools and ice skating. Can you just spend a couple hours at the swimming area of one of the Finger Lakes? We were there near Penn Yan and the swim area was full of happy, screaming kids.

 

 

They actually asked about Tanglewood and Harris Hill today.  Those are some of their favorite places and it’s on the to-do list next week.  The last few summers we spent a lot of time doing all those semi-local things, but I am trying to save on gas money this summer. We have the state park just two miles away with the pools and since we have the disability NY pass we’ve been making liberal use of the pools and playground.  

I know the kids are lonely.  It’s always been a problem that there just aren’t local kids around during the day here and by evening I’m heading to work or just ready for bed early. I also truthfully don’t want to be a cruise ship director.   I grew up very rurally with all my friends living a half hour drive away.  My sisters and I played together, mostly outside riding our bikes or kicking balls around or a million other things. Our backyard is in terrible shape and DH just doesn’t have the time to clean it up, so I can’t just toss the kids out back like I wish I could.

We can’t cut out therapies. I can take a week or two off here and there, but anything more means we’re dropped and back to the bottom of the long waitlist.  I wish we could; it’s really difficult to do any of the few fun community activities I can find around the therapies.   

I generally believe that it’s good for kids to be a little bored and frustrated, but the constant bickering and complaining is going to drive me crazy.  

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Have you seen the human car wash built with PVC?  Perhaps, you could build one together.  Very simple and fun.  It disassembles for storage for the next year.  Add a kiddie pool and call it Camp Medic’s mom water park.  Even dad could “lifeguard” with a water squirrel a could of times to add a different fun to it.  

Those silicone popsicle molds are on sale in a lot of places.  Would the kids enjoy making there own? 

If you have a Michael’s near you- they have very cheap craft camps.  

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I know it's screen time, but my son will spend hours on stop motion movies with his lego guys. And I allow it because it's creative play.

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Trampoline

Pool membership

Set up a tent and/or firepit and pretend to camp. Or really camp! You can also set up a tent indoors

The first two are saving us this summer. We can't set up  a tent outside because we have a cat who will mark it.

Do you have a garage or other room that you can make very dark? My kids did that earlier this year before it got too hot. They rode around on their plasma cars with flashlights. Huge hit.

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