Something painful and yet not wholly unexpected often happens with your school-age children after the Fourth of July festivities and before the start of the new school year.
Your perfect darlings — who couldn’t wait for school to end — become bored. Even the now well-honed practice of sleeping in has lost some of its magical appeal.
Throw in a couple of other factors such as best friends on vacation, the stress of friends sent on permanent change-of-station moves, angst about the upcoming school year, and too much time between episodes of Pretty Little Liars, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
That simply won’t do.
Before you find yourself wishing away summer with daydreams of cooler weather, falling leaves, and school buses, consult this list of boredom busters to keep everyone happy.
Even if the kids aren’t involved, you might find something interesting to do for yourself. Let the list bring up memories of summers past; you could stumble across No. 102.
1. Go to a mid-day movie.
2. Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
3. Go into the babysitting or pet-walking business.
4. Hike through the woods.
5. Rediscover the taste of great ice cream.
6. Grab a pencil and an eraser, and start a summer sketchbook.
7. Read a good book or two.
8. Clean out your closet, and donate the excess.
9. Start and maintain a flower or vegetable garden.
10. Write a story or a poem.
11. Learn to cook or bake something new.
12. Introduce yourself to the new family next door.
13. Pack a picnic, and take a fun day trip.
14. Go fishing. (Be sure to get licensed first, if necessary.)
15. Go to a swimming pool.
16. Take up a foreign language.
17. Go to a playground.
18. Pop bubble wrap. (Really.)
19. Master a video game. (Or get a workout with your motion-sensor video console.)
20. Build a fort made of cardboard or pillows. For extra credit, use real building materials.
21. Catch lightning bugs.
22. Pitch a tent in the backyard, and camp out.
23. Have a midsummer night’s slumber party.
24. Play tennis.
25. Have a family board game night.
26. Review math skills for the next year in a fun way.
27. Open a lemonade stand on a hot afternoon.
28. Ride your bike someplace new.
29. Create inspired art with no rules. The messier, the better.
30. Make and race paper airplanes.
31. Start or maintain a private journal.
32. Go to an outdoor concert.
33. Visit a local museum or zoo.
34. Go old school. Skip the pool, and set up the sprinkler in the yard.
35. Attend summer reading programs at a local library.
36. Design a custom T-shirt.
37. Tie-dye anything. (The Internet abounds with low-cost, easy, and mess-free techniques.)
38. Have a scavenger hunt. Award the winner a prize.
39. Play Frisbee in the park. Make it interesting and bring the dog.
40. Scale an indoor or outdoor rock-climbing wall.
41. Play a game of extreme Ping-Pong. Prohibit whining.
42. Participate in Child and Youth Services-sponsored activities.
43. Go off installation, and check out local community recreation center activities.
44. Spend the afternoon riding horses.
45. Visit a local farm.
46. Learn about the history of your duty station and its surrounding community.
47. Visit residents at a nursing home for the afternoon.
48. Redecorate your bedroom. Upgrade your sense of style.
49. Create a summer 2012 playlist.
50. Work out.
51. Tackle an obstacle or ropes course.
52. Get a temporary tattoo.
53. Swing in a tire swing.
54. Build a better birdhouse.
55. Make homemade ice cream. (You don’t need any fancier equipment than some ziplock plastic bags and ice.)
56. Bedazzle or paint your tennis shoes.
57. Create a scrapbook.
58. Freeze Kool-Aid into ice pops.
59. Throw a party for absolutely no reason.
60. Start a collection.
61. Make jewelry.
62. Blow bubbles.
63. Play dress up.
64. Go to a lake, and rent a paddleboat for an hour.
65. Try a new food.
66. Go to the driving range, and hit some balls.
67. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
68. Spend an afternoon at an arcade.
69. Go in-line skating.
70. Visit a water park.
71. Take music lessons.
72. Participate in a community-theater production.
73. Go device-free for a whole day. (That includes iPods, tablets, computers, and the TV!)
74. Stargaze on a clear night. ID the constellations.
75. Go to the beach. Don’t forget the broad-spectrum sunblock.
76. Attend a day or overnight camp.
77. Have a serious talk about growing up.
78. Daydream about your future. Draft a working plan.
79. Play softball.
80. Light up sparklers at night.
81. Go bowling.
82. Go shopping. (You know it had to show up somewhere.)
83. Play mini golf.
84. Go to an amusement park.
85. Stage a family “whodunit” dinner theater. (Find instructions online.)
86. Walk/jog/run a 5K for a cause.
87. Make homemade pizzas. In a pinch, make them on pita bread or English muffins.
88. Pick your own berries.
89. Have a watermelon seed-spitting contest.
90. Go tubing on a real lazy river.
91. Learn to scuba dive.
92. Adopt an area to keep litter-free.
93. Have a car wash.
94. Hold a yard sale to raise fun money.
95. Learn to use a bow and arrow (with adult instruction, of course).
96. Go bird-watching.
97. Take a tour of a local factory to see how things work behind the scenes.
98. Paint a mural.
99. Drive for 30 minutes and stop. Explore wherever you are at that moment.
100. Take a bus/train ride for the fun of it.
101. Go shopping for new school clothes.
What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below or engage with MOAA Spouse Programs through Facebook or Twitter!