Come summers, and my heart beat increases. It is the harbinger to summer vacation, relentless heat and unlimited fun. As a young girl, I loved the summer holidays, the break from the school and everyday homework, playing outdoors the whole day, no curfew on bedtime, plus sometimes a holiday trip or a mandatory visit to my nani or dadi house.
But, now as a mother to a daughter, I dread this summer vacation. Reason? No school. What to do with your child the whole month and some more.
Well, there are two options that I can think of:
To go on a holiday. Well, as simple as it may sound, it’s definitely not. Especially, when you are not thinking of going on one. Hubby doesn’t have the time.
My daughter is already asking me, “Mama, where are we going in this summer vacation?”
She has recently started understanding holidays and its significance, I do not want to disappoint her.
So I told her, “Let me think!”
“How about going to nani house, I want to play with XXX (my nephew)? And go to the park, and eat ice cream.”
Luckily for me, my parents and my in-laws stay in a different town than Mumbai, so that would definitely be a change of scenario. It would be a lovely vacation for my daughter, though Ahmedabad would be hot as a furnace in the summer. But, I can’t keep my daughter from having a good time when I still have fond memories of my summer holidays with my cousins. But, again this visit can’t be for the whole span of the school holidays. And I will still need other options.
Enrol in a summer camp. Now, the only glitch here is – most summer camps are for only a couple of hours. And, she still has 12 more hours to pass. So, again I will need other options.
I mean TV is always there, but I don’t want her glued to the idiot box the whole day. And it’s only so much a child can draw and paint.
Hence, I have thought of other options for my daughter to stay engaged without resorting to screen time. You can try some of them too.
Make activity groups: Most people find it a nuisance, but What’s app comes in very handy at such times. I have made an activity group of my daughter’s classmates. We meet as often as we can for activities such as canvas painting, crafts, visits to the beach or park, fire-free food making, scavenger hunt, movie dates, etc. Kids love to meet their friends in a non-school/formal setting, and it is fun for them. Also, I catch up on some much needed gossip. 😉 And they hardly cost anything.
Organise play dates: This is different from the above point. Here, a single mother (a noble sacrificing soul) invites 3-4 kids or more, as per her patience level and the availability of help, to her home. She can keep kids engaged with a few craft activities, Lego, play doh or just let the kids play with the toys and bring the house down. Mothers can take turns inviting, so that not all mothers are involved at one time.
Subscribe to library membership: My daughter is already a library member and we borrow one book a week. But for the summer months, I am planning to upgrade her plan, and hike it up to 2 or 3 per week. It might mean, I will have to do read her more, but it will be worth it. Also, I can assign her book-related work like spotting words, writing spellings, etc.
Buy activity books/kits: I am planning to subscribe to activity books like Hot Pot, etc. that have puzzles, colouring, jumble words, spot the difference and more. Also, there are many activity kits such as FlintoBox. They are quite child-friendly and keep the kids engaged without minimal parental supervision.
Engage in household activities: This summer vacation, I have decided to enlist my daughter’s help. She would be taking care of watering the plants, cleaning her room, helping me in the kitchen, etc. Also, I am planning to cook and bake some exciting stuff, and I am definitely going to need her for that. When last month, I had made strawberry jam, she had helped me in washing the pinky berries, adding sugar and other stuff, and lastly in tasting the sweet jam. This time around, she will be helping me with mango jam and baking breads, cakes and cookies. Hmmm…I can already visualize the holidays taking an interesting shape.
Window shop: I love shopping, well who doesn’t. Of late, with my husband’s increasing work, he hardly gets time to take me shopping. Well, not being a kind of wife who nags her husband for his absence or lack of time, I have started taking my daughter along. And what an asset she has proved to be. She has helped me buy shoes, clothes and accessories.
I love the way she takes snap decisions for I take forever to arrive at one.
“Mama, buy that purple dress.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Princess Sophia wears purple, and she looks so pretty!” She beamed.
So this vacation, I am planning to visit malls (she loves going up and down the escalator) and the nearby local market with my partner in crime for some mouth-drooling window shopping. Oh, I forgot to tell you, she loves it too! Like mother, like daughter! So, licking on Natural’s mango ice cream (it’s a must in the summer), we are going to paint the town red (or rather the nearby local market! 😉 )
Learn a new sport: Summer holidays should be as much about fun and frolic, as it is about learning. So I am planning to enrol her for swimming. She dreads swimming, and I would like her to get rid of her fear. So along with her friends, so that she is comfortable, she will be learning swimming. I have a good mind to join her for swimming as well and make it into a mommy-child learning experience. Let’s see!
With so many activities listed down, I am in a better (or should I say, calmer) state of mind than before. I have always advocated a liberated childhood for my daughter. And my above plans, some of them made with her in consultation, will do just that. My daughter will experience a #khuljaayebachpan, as always!