Friday, May 28, 2010

School's out for...

"Summer" has officially begun at our house. We ended the school year well, with a sweet kindergarten graduation ceremony and the celebration of terrific report cards for both my big boys. We had a fantastic 9 months, and now summer lies before us—vast, uncharted, and as inviting as a mile of blank sidewalk to a kid with a bucket of colorful chalk. Or at least it seemed that inviting a couple of days ago. School was dismissed on Wednesday morning, and the boys are now spending their time at home. With me. All. Day. Long.

I really do love having all my kids together again, and their brotherly interaction is something I really miss during the rest of the year. But yesterday, on the first glorious day of our summer vacation, unbroken gray skies drained chilly rain onto our muddy yard. All. Day. Long. That's right. Summer's here! Pull out the sweaters and raincoats! As one of our local store's jingles puts it, "We live in North Idaho...and it shows." School's out for summer. Which, if this weather lasts long, just might make it seem like school's out forever.

So what's a mom to do with four busy-busy, high-energy boys who are stuck indoors with nowhere to go and nothing planned? Well, let me tell you about all my great ideas for how we're going to spend those rainy days during the next three months:

And there you have it. I'm at a loss.

O.K. I may not be quite that helpless, but I confess that I am utterly terrible at coming up with rainy day activities. I've checked out a number of books with imaginative titles like Rainy Day Activities, and they are almost entirely filled with girly crafts. I'm sorry, but my kids do not want to make paper beads to string into colorful necklaces. They're not interested in assembling sweet little clothespin dolls. Tissue paper flowers stuck on green, sparkly pipe cleaner "stems" are not their cup of tea. And speaking of tea, tea parties—and all the lacy whatnots that they entail—are out. What we want around here is warcraft. And loud sound effects. And full contact sports. Sitting quietly around the table with markers and glue sticks does keep everyone occupied for a short while, but it often backfires by simply getting my children to hold in their excess energy for just that much longer. They build up pressure like a pack of agitated soda cans, and then when they are released, they explode.

So, I'm trying to get creative here in order to prevent Cat-In-The-Hat-style disaster. Thankfully, my kids are far more inventive than I am, and in the last three days, they have used up nearly an entire ream of scratch paper in the construction of all sorts of paper airplanes (some more air-worthy than others). They have made super hero masks. They have cut out paper money. They have hosted NBA-inspired bedroom-door-basketball games. I have even, in a moment of weakness, resorted to getting out the play dough for them. They have, of course, colored and colored and colored and colored until our crayons are mere shadows of their former selves.  They've built forts. They've played piano. They've read stories. They've sung songs. And yes, they have already watched more than the FDA's, the FBI's, the CIA's, the NSA's, and the Surgeon General's recommended daily allowance of DVD minutes for children ages 2-8. (I seem to remember that I was never going to allow that day to come.) And today's only the second day of vacation. Oh boy. Times four.

I'd be thrilled if Little Orphan Annie showed up on tonight's forecast, singing cheery reassurances that  "the sun'll come out tomorrow...".  But in case she doesn't, I'd be equally thrilled to collect some rainy-day ideas from all y'all. If you have thoughts on fun and profitable ways for my boys (keeping in mind that they are, in fact, boys) to spend their time indoors—as long as the activities are only mildly destructive to body and belongings—I'd love to hear them!

Oh, and since this is my blog, I reserve the right to end this post with a couple of proud mama photos:

Jonah receiving a medal for getting all A's all year

Jude with his Kindergarten diploma. Yea!


Erika said...

I'm not sure if it would be entertaining for too long, but I was thinking of some sort of boat/flotation device building and then bathtub testing. Milk cartons? Or bean art, like maccaroni art, or any food that glues to paper easily. Also along the building line, you could make durby cars out of things around the house and set up tracks/roads with blocks and drive around the house, we used to make cities and things along the roadsides.

Brittany Martin said...

I think the boy idea of crafty might be to find some old, broken-down appliance or computer thingy. Give them screwdrivers to take the whole thing apart and watch what happens!

Danielle said...

Things I remember doing growing up with a bunch of high energy brothers.

Blanket forts, or a big pile of pillows to jump on. Makes a big mess of one room, but the mess stays in one room and can keep kids busy for days.

We would give each other challenges such as go from point a to point b without touching anything brown, or without touching the ground etc.

We had a game of hiding from Mom. If Mom was having a really bad day, we would try to clean the house without Mom seeing us!

As a last resort, if you have floors that you really don't care about at all, let them Rollerblade/skate in the house. It can be really loud and a bit of a risk to limbs and furniture, but the floors have to be cleaned first and it will allow a good release of energy.

Yes, we were home schooled and lived out of town. Life could be a little crazy around our house, but we all made it to adulthood and even without any broken bones (don't ask me we managed that!)

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