About to go crazy with all the kids home for Summer break? Having a list of things to do with the kids can be a great help. Being a foster parent has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but it has also been one of the toughest. Breaks from each other can prove to be beneficial to both the foster family and the foster child. We all need a break once in awhile, so take one! Here are some ideas of things to do with and for the kids this Summer.
Library Reading Programs. Many libraries offer great reading programs for the summer. Many also have craft days, discussion groups, and parties. Get your kids in on the fun! Watch for sign up times in your area. If you don't want to get out, check out these ideas of activities you can do with your kids that fit with the theme of the book. Here are several craft projects and recipes to go along with adoption themed books and for your older readers the, Young Adult Summer Reading List may just fit. If you want to keep up on what wonderful books your children are reading let Elizabeth Kennedy, Children's Book Guide, lead the way.
Get together with another family. Find another family with kids that range in the same age bracket as your kids. Host children from the other family one afternoon and on another day have your children go to their house. This will give one mom a chance to get things accomplished without the kids or at least take a nap!
Go back to the basics of real summer fun. Remember when you were a kid? Sure you do! Lazy days at the pool, tent camping, and wading pools. There are several inexpensive summer fun ideas, from the good ol' days.
What about a lawn mowing service? Of course this option will be for the older children in your home and will have to be O.K.'d by your agency if the child is in a foster care situation. This option gives the child extra spending money and out in the great outdoors, not inside with YOU!
Summer Jobs. Another option for the older kids, but a great opportunity. Even a paper route will teach the kids about being on time, service and responsibility.
Walk for a Charity. Get the kids involved with an activity that not only promotes physical well-being, but also the importance of helping others. During the summer are many opportunities to walk for various charitable events. There is even a new one that benefits foster children, Walk Me Home.
Lessons or sports? How about swim lessons? Dance? Soccer? Art? This will teach the kids skills and give you a break. These options may need to be approved by birth family or your foster care agency.
Scouting. Scouting can be a great activity with plenty of learning and fun. There may be day camps available as well as over night activities. Again approval from your agency is a must.
Cultural Activities. Get the kids excited about learning about their culture. Many ideas can be found in this article: Focus on Culture.
Crafts. Family Crafts guide, Sherri Osborn, has literally hundreds of craft ideas to keep your kids busy for three summers!
Life books. What a great time to focus on updating or completing the children's lifebooks. Working on their lifebooks may be a learning activity that they may be able to do with little help, depending on the age of the child, from you.
Day Camps. YMCA offers a great kid's day camp. Check with your agency for other options in your area. There may be a discount or even a waived fee for children in foster care.
For Bigger Breaks
Over Night Camps. Many children look forward to camp all year long. There may be options available for your foster children. Check with your agency and again, they MUST approve any over nighters. There is a camp called, Camp to Belong for children in care, adopted, or in a kinship placement. Here they focus on the sibling bond and bring all the children's siblings to camp at the same time. What a wonderful opportunity.
Respite. Respite is always a good choice for families. Here another foster family will watch your foster children while you and your family take time to reconnect. Learn more about Preparing for Respite Care.