May 30, 2012

DIY Summer Ideas Jar Eliminates the "I'm Bored" Blues

I've been blessed to have a best friend in my life since I was around 3 years-old. Tara is more like a sister to me, not just a friend, and today's post is brought to us by the clever idea she described to me during our last phone call.

With summer around the corner, we'll all be looking for ways to keep our kiddos entertained, so Tara's "Summer Ideas Jar" is just the ticket to having fun activities at your fingertips. All you need is a recycled glass jar, some small slips of scrap paper, pens, and an imagination. Below, Tara explains more about the simple process of creating your own barrel (or jar) of laughs.

Contributed by Tara:

We made a Summer Ideas Jar last year when I finally realized that, with three kids in the house, I was only ever going to circumvent the nagging and disagreements with proactive efforts.  I wanted a way to settle disputes over what we should do, so we all agreed that whatever we pulled out of the jar was the final word. The jar has spoken!

We didn't get through even half of the activities we put in there, but a lot of the ideas that were left when we pulled it out this summer are still good, so we left them in and added new ones of our own.

Making the jar itself is a good activity too -- not only did we come up with good ideas and play off each other, but we practiced anticipation, positive thinking, creativity and problem-solving. This way, I ask the kids to step into my shoes as a parent, and solve the problem they always present me with-- *I'm booored.* I don't know what to tell you, what would *you* tell you? 

The things in the jar encompass all our ideas, and the plan is to cooperate as much as possible. It's for all of us to pull an idea out together and try to cooperate with whatever it says, not one kid to unilaterally grab and go. That way we all stretch our wings a little, when things come out of it that don't necessarily sound good -- make the best of it. 

The activities range from the prosaic to the absurd, from free to expensive (I'm pretty sure someone snuck in "Disney World" at least once), and from simple to involved.  Some I remember off the top of my head:

dance party
splash pad
build a fort
cook something
rent a movie
play with makeup
do puzzles
drive to the four corners
water balloon toss
paint pottery
make ice cream
volunteer (i think it's obvious which ones are mine)
eat at our favorite restaurant
learn morse code (some you'd be surprised weren't mine)
go to the beach
petting zoo
try out new phones at the sprint store
mull over musical instruments

I don't pretend we can get through the entire jar this year either; there are more of us, a more complicated schedule, and we've increased the jar's capacity by about 300%.  But I love the sense of possibility it seems to contain, and I think the kids do too. Instead of staring in the face of a billion-degree Arizona summer and instinctively ticking off all the things we *won't* be able to do, we've reset our expectations with more than we could ever hope to accomplish. That's fifteen minutes well spent. :)

Thanks, Tara!


Shannon Repecho said...

I LOVE This ! Another great summer "free" activity... libraries offer summer reading programs! They have charts, reward certificates and ours has cool prizes, often that have been donated by organizations. And we have already got my 8th graders reading list for next school year so we can get a jump start on her reading!

Tara said...

whoa ho i am a famous author now! ;) thanks for loving my idea and writing it up, this looks super cool on your prestigious blog!

Petite Planet said...

Great tip, Shannon! Thanks for the suggestion!

And it was my pleasure publishing your idea, Tara! Thanks for your contribution! :)