4 Life Skills for Kids to Learn Over the Summer

life skills for kids

How’s your summer going? Are you still looking for things to do this summer that are fun, don’t involve screens, and do contain an element of enrichment?

Before the most recent school year ended, I announced my grand summer plans to my kids: “We’re going to get on a schedule. You’re going to start right away on your summer reading, you’re going to learn a new skill a week, and you’re going to…”

“That sounds terrible,” one of the children said. “It sounds like summer is going to be all about you, Mom — a Mummer Summer!” And that’s why, now, whenever I bring up any summer idea that has even a hint of productivity about it, my children immediately laugh and shout, “Mummer summer!”

So while I haven’t made this summer a mini version of the school year, I have come up with four things to do this summer that are fun, but also stealthily fulfill my mummer summer agenda of being beneficial.

1. Kid in the kitchen.

“Mom! Would you make me a hot dog? Mom! Would you make me a quesadilla? Mom! What’s for dinner?” Such are the nutritional needs of a 12-year-old boy in question form. My son is a bright boy, but I have not taught him to use those smarts in food preparation. So this summer, I am going to let him and his sister prepare a meal a week.

I will do my best to make it fun and exciting! Okay, at least I’ll try to make it fun. They get to come up with a menu. They get to choose the tunes to cook by. And I get to clean up. Once they’ve planned their meal, I’ll take them grocery shopping and let them choose everything from the produce to the meat.  I’ll come up with the recipe for them to follow, or they can research how to cook their meal on their own. Finally, I’ll put up a sign with “today’s menu for all to see.

When you get your child in the kitchen, celebrate their success. Give them a 5-star rating and accentuate the positive.

2. Sew what.

I love sewing on buttons. Really, I do. When I was a Brownie, our troop leader showed us a fast and simple way to tie a knot on our thread, after we’d put it through the eye of the needle. So, I’m going to teach my children how to thread a needle, tie a knot, sew on a button, and hem. I’m also going to show them how to use iron on tape for hems.

In an effort to keep this project from becoming sew boring, I’m going to let them choose something to make. My daughter can make a little fabric bag, a doll dress, or a pillow case. My son can try a drawstring pouch for his “treasures” or he can make his own mini basketball.

A sidebar to sewing is caring for what they’ve made. That lesson is a logical segue to teaching them how to do the laundry. I’ll keep it simple at first and teach them how to separate the clothes into darks, lights, and towels. I’ll show them how to load the washer, add detergent, and hit start. The grand finale will be dryer instructions, folding the clothes, and putting them away. A nice reward will follow their efforts.

3. The key to success.

Peck. Peck. Peck. That’s not a chicken, my friend, that’s the sound of my son pecking on his iPad keyboard. It may not be a big deal now, but when the day comes for him to type out a term paper, his pecking will not serve him well. So for 10 minutes a day this summer, he will attend the Mummer Summer School of Keyboarding. Okay, I’m really going to just use an online tutorial, but I will let him earn extra screen time at the completion of each session.

4. Business 101.

I don’t want to pile so much on my children that they have a bummer summer, but I do want to use the non-school time to teach them a real life lesson or two. An easy way to do this in the summer is to help them brainstorm about business opportunities. I’m going to suggest selling things on Ebay or Craigslist. I’ll also help them with the tried and true lemonade stand if that’s more to their liking.

So talk to your kids and get their ideas about things to do this summer. Pull out the popsicles and share these Summer Conversation Starters. Implementing some life skills for kids could make a great impact in their future. {Tweet This}

What life skill has been the most beneficial to your family?