I both look forward to and somewhat dread the start of summer. While it's my favorite season of the year, and I'm excited to get more time with my children, I work at home. Summer break always puts a big dent in my productivity. Ultimately, it's a great "dent" to have, because the reason I work at home is to hang out with the family in the first place.
I've gotten pretty good at keeping my kids busy while I have to work. Of course, the older they get, the less they want to hang out with me. So I've broken down my suggestions into age-appropriate categories:
Activities for Children Age 1-4
If your kids are in this age bracket - I feel for you! Really, I had a hard time getting anything done without a part time sitter or a "mother's helper". But for the days that you have to work and the little ones are right there with you, here's a few ideas:
- Buy age appropriate computer games - my kids started at the age of 2
Set up easy to find bookmarks for kid-friendly sites - I have my kids' sites set up with the rest of my shortcuts right on my Firefox toolbars:
- Stock up on workbooks and coloring books, along with crayons, markers, stencils, etc. and plenty of plain paper
- Create an activity 'station' where the kids can go to make a mess whenever they want
- Create a baby-proofed room and barricade yourselves in - baby plays while you answer emails!
- Rotate toys - kids get bored quickly, so once or twice a month, hide the old and bring in the new!
- Get a baby sling or baby backpack - my kids never made a peep when they could sit in their backpack and watch what mom or dad was doing
Activities for Children Age 4-7
- Keep the kids moving and active (in my house, I have a harder time keeping them still!!)
- Take trips to the Library - and do business research while you're there if you need to!
- Download fun worksheets and sneak in some learning.
- Make or buy a flower press and let the kids weed the garden for you.
- Get a sandbox - just make sure you also get a lid so that it doesn't turn into the neighborhood litter box!
- Order cheap craft project kits from Oriental Trading (they have great stuff for older kids too)
- Teach your kids how to make a fortune teller.
Buy a cheap digital camera for your budding photographer
- Let them create their own scrapbooks
- Teach them to create their own PowerPoint presentations
- Download a free screen saver maker and let them create their own slideshows
- Throw the images into Photoshop or any image editing software and create ink jet t-shirt transfers
Keep on hand at ALL TIMES:
- Sidewalk chalk
- Water balloons
- Board games (with all the pieces!!)
- Working sprinkler or kiddie pool (preferably both)
- Art supplies
- Bookmark these activity web sites:
- Lest I miss stating the obvious: