Blog: During Summer Break, Do Children Need Structure or Good Old Fashion Fun?
Before my girls were old enough to be enrolled in school, summers blended in with all of our days. Instead of playing in a pile of leaves, making snowmen or picking daffodils, we were playing in sprinklers or swimming in a pool.
Once my oldest went through her first year of school, I realized that summer wasn’t going to be as carefree as it used it be. It could still be fun but my daughter craved the structure that was instilled in her in Kindergarten. I planned trips to the science museum, the aquarium and children’s museums. I scouted out every library program offered. We had play dates where we worked on educational crafts. I designated reading time and math time. My oldest daughter thrived. My other daughter, 2 years younger, followed along and loved it too.
Summer after summer we kept up with that routine. As they got a bit older we added some camps. My daughters couldn’t have been happier.
This year as spring was approaching I started to plan our summer. I thought back to my own childhood and remembered fondly of waking up and jumping in our pool every day. I was always in a swimsuit. If I wasn’t in the pool, I was riding my bike or playing with my friends. Both of those things you can do in a swimsuit.
After my stroll down memory lane, I decided that I was going to have a good old fashioned summer with my daughters. We weren’t going to fill our calendars. We were going to let our days lead us to fun and adventure. I purchased my daughters new swimsuits, bottles of sunscreen, a new sprinkler and a popsicle making kit. We were ready for the fun!
Three weeks into summer after being at the pool, running around outside, fishing and playing, I heard my daughters chit chatting in our family room. They were talking about how strange it was that they didn’t have scheduled reading or math times. They were also talking about how they missed being in school. Of course, they missed their friends but mostly they were talking about their teachers and the knowledge that they had gained over the previous school year. The next thing I knew my oldest asked me why I hadn’t bought them any workbooks to do over the summer.
Needless to say, we went to Barnes & Noble that evening and bought some workbooks. They have done several pages every day since then. Apparently, my daughters crave structure. So this summer, they are doing workbooks in their swimsuits.
Do your children need structure over the summer? What are some of the things that you do to fill that need?