How’s your summer going? Are you still looking for things to do that are fun and don’t involve screens? At the start of summer, I announced my grand 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, my children immediately laugh and shout, “Mummer summer!” In an effort to compromise, I have come up with 4 life skills for kids to learn this summer that are fun but also stealthily fulfill my mummer summer agenda.
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! OK, 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 the meal on their own. Finally, I’ll put up a sign with “today’s menu” for all to see.
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 pillowcase. My son can try a drawstring pouch for his “treasures” or he can make his own mini basketball.
3. The Key to Success
Hunt and peck. Is there anything more trying to your patience than watching your child type with just his or her index finger? It may not be a big deal now, but when the day comes for him to type out a term paper, my son’s pecking will not serve him well. So for 10 minutes a day this summer, he will attend the Mummer Summer School of Keyboarding. OK, I’m really just going to 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, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. 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 on their future.
Which of these life skills for kids would be most beneficial to your family?