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3 Good Summer Activities for the Long, Hot Days Ahead

The summer, we need new ideas for socially distant activities that will keep our kids active — and also learning. Here are 3 ideas for building valuable skills without sacrificing fun in ADHD households.

It’s official: Our hopes and dreams of a return to school — even if only for a socially distant Field Day or a quick graduation ceremony — have been squelched. For the weeks remaining in our academic calendar, we have now fully surrendered to distance learning.

As a parent, I was deflated when New Jersey officially announced schools would not re-open this academic year. Home schooling my 7-year-old son has been a challenge to say the very least. It has been difficult for him to understand and accept that schoolwork and learning now takes place at the kitchen table with his mom (and sometimes dad, older brother, or older sister).

If your child has an IEP, you are now the acting special education teacher and/or paraprofessional. You are modifying work, breaking it down, offering movement breaks, incorporating related services such as speech, occupational, or physical therapy. And if your child qualifies for an extended school year (ESY), you may be looking at keeping this going beyond the third week of June. With summer camps and programs in jeopardy, we are all digging deep to find a fresh supply of creativity, patience, and resourcefulness to keep our kids engaged until Fall.

Here are a few ideas we’re implementing in our home to encourage learning and movement while protecting the sanctity of a fun summer:

Summer Activities: Get Muddy

Science lessons need not happen on YouTube. Put on your sneakers and go outside! Explore nature as it fully emerges from its slumber. Ask your child to notice the blooming flowers, the leaves that are returning to the trees. Take note of how nature is changing. Keep track of the weather together on an app or calendar. Plant something. And if it’s raining, put on a raincoat and find every puddle in sight. Give your child a bag and the ‘assignment’ to collect 5 items that he or she finds interesting.

[Click to Read: Green Time: A Natural Remedy for ADHD Symptoms]

Summer Activities: Chore It Up

Chores, though they hardly sound like fun, actually offer a ton of benefit to your child. First and foremost, chores teach your child that she is part of a larger family and that her contributions matter. Give each of your children a list of chores for the week. Attach a monetary value or earned privilege to each chore and thank your children for their efforts in helping to keep the house neat and organized.

Chores also help build fine and gross motor skills, as well as executive functioning skills. Think about the planning that goes into cleaning a bathroom; washing, drying and folding laundry; or changing bed sheets. It’s quite a bit. You’ve probably been doing these types of tasks so mindlessly that you don’t recognize your mental checklist for each step.

For quarantined parents, chores are obviously also fantastic because they relieve you from cleaning up the entire home. What else does that mean? More time for downtime or together time.

Summer Activities: Meal Prep

Meals, snacks, snacks, and more snacks are happening all day long in my house! Gather your children and ask them to create a list of meal ideas for lunch and dinner. Next, make a list of ingredients that will feed your next supermarket trip or order. Have your children create a meal plan for the next week. Not only does this distribute the responsibility of meal planning and preparation, but baking and cooking require math skills like measurement and translation when you decide to triple that chocolate chip pancake recipe.

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