School is almost out and I’m gearing up to hear those inevitable words…”I’m bored!”
While I’m game with giving them chores if they pester me with “What can I do?” a million times, that doesn’t really work all summer. Plus…I think that this screen reliant generation probably needs a little direction with some screen free distraction.
And not just distractions but some skill building and fun rites of passage that we enjoyed as kids. Some of them seem obvious, but when I really took inventory I realized that there were many things my kids still don’t know! I know this makes me sound old…but times have changed. ;)
I asked my instagram readers for help to come up with fun skills that every kid should know and compiled a list. Think of it as a summertime education. No work books, minimal supervision required, and a little self reliance building sprinkled in.
One disclaimer before I get to the list, is that it does not include cooking, outdoor survival (mostly), and cleaning chores. While I think these are important life skills, I left them off this list because they kind of seem like different topics all their own and they often require more supervision.
- Blow a bubble gum bubble. If they’re already pros, then give them a mix of different gums and let them figure out which kind makes the best bubbles.
- Shuffle cards. It’s so easy to keep a deck of cards in your purse and bring it out in waiting rooms or while you wait for your food at a restaurant.
- Build a card tower.
- Play Solitaire with real cards! (@dustycreighton) I also have a list of 40 games using a deck of cards if they need more ideas.
- Tie shoes. (@jessiesews and @thecraftblog) If they already know how, challenge them to improve their time or start a friendly competition to see who in the family can get the best time. Bonus: This should help leaving the house get easier. Woot!
- Braid hair or rope.
- Tie basic knots. Slip knots and square knots are the most used and very easy to do.
- Cat’s cradle. (@courtybish) My mom taught this to my older kids and they did it almost the whole plane ride home…even though they had access to movies and a tablet. It’s a great boredom buster if you’re waiting in line for an amusement park ride or anywhere you’re on the go. All you need is a piece of string.
- Do a cartwheel, somersault, or a hand stand. Put a line of painter’s tape on your floor and challenge them to make their cartwheels and forward rolls as straight as they can.
- Jump rope. I found this cute booklet of jump rope songs from Five Little Chefs, that I plan on printing up for my youngest.
- Ride a bike without training wheels. If they are already proficient riders, there is a great list of bike games from Two Wheeling Tots. The water balloon pop, sidewalk chalk course, and bike rodeo ideas seem really easy and hands off. (@bricrafty)
- Snap fingers. Seeing a kid nail this for the first time is the cutest thing.
- Whistle. (@damekenney) Once they master this, challenge them to level up and whistle into a bottle neck.
- Learn cursive. Most schools don’t teach cursive anymore! Set them up with how to videos, or write out the alphabet yourself and them have them use it as a guide to write a thank you note in cursive.
- Talk on the phone. This one sounds silly but hear me out…Most people I know do NOT have a landline, including our family. We all have personal cell phones which my children do not answer unless they know it’s their dad or me calling, or they just face time with family members. Speaking to a stranger on the phone and taking a message…skills I knew by 1st grade, are lost on younger generations. They get a bad rap for not being good on the phone, but they haven’t had to learn. So give them instruction and incentivize them to practice. Have them order take out, or have them call a store to check the stock on a toy they’ve been saving up to buy.
- Learn family information, like phone numbers and addresses, by heart. Make up a fun song, or use it as a way to earn a reward, like friend time.
- Learn directions. (@lexiestokes) Have them learn north, south, east, and west. Challenge them to learn how to use a compass, create treasure hunts for each other, or go geocaching.
- Sew a button. Even if your kid isn’t “crafty,” this is one basic sewing skill that’s a must. Give them a real shirt to repair. It crosses off a to do on your list and they will likely enjoy making a meaningful contribution.
- Skip rocks and climb trees. (@phatquarters) Nature’s toys at their best!
- Write to a pen pal (@ahappystitch) or send around a Flat Stanley! One year, I turned my kids into Flat Stanleys and sent them to family members who took them on vacation with them. That way the kids got to “travel” with their cousins even though they couldn’t see them in person.
I would love for you to add to this list in the comments. What do you think every kid should do/learn before adulthood?
P.S. Thank you to @lizzieluluandco, @lexiestokes, @damekenney, @phatquarters, @jessiesews, @thecraftblog, @bricrafty, @dustycreighton @greenbreanne, @courtybish, @ahappystitch, and @sewonsister for all the great ideas you shared on my instagram and in stories!
P.P.S. The overalls in my daughter is wearing in these photos is actually a DIY! Click here for the tutorial.