Thursday, June 28, 2012

What To Do When It's Hot and There's Nothing To Do

Suggestion One:  Wash the Car.

The first few days of summer vacation were rather aimless.  Many of my children's friends had gone away on mini-breaks and sailing lessons weren't scheduled to begin until the following week.  It usually takes our family about two weeks until we get into the perfect summer rhythm, so sadly, the first seven days of vacation usually include a lot of complaining and an over-abundance of the phrase, "I'm so bored."  

I've learned that not all children are born with what my sister and I call "Inner Resources" - the ability to entertain themselves.  Henry, Georgia and Josie do have inner resources;  it just takes them a while to remember what these resources are and how to use them.  

I know I'm not the only person who can't stand hearing a child - who just weeks ago complained that they never have any free time - declare that they are bored and have nothing to do.  My friend, Larisa, the mother of four children, has a perfect solution.  She put together a Chore Jar that holds pieces of paper, each clearly marked with a different household or family task.  When one of her children complains about being bored, Larisa has them go to the chore jar and pick out an assignment and get to work.  There's nothing like a little sweeping or laundry folding to make a child remember how to read a book or find a sister to play a game with!

I haven't made a chore jar, yet - mostly because I'm too lazy to find a jar let alone think of chores for my bored children to do.  Instead, I try to think of projects for the children to do that would be both fun and time-consuming while affording me the opportunity to sit and read my book.

The first project I came up with was washing the car.

I haven't had my car professionally washed since before Christmas.  My beloved Ivan is now seven years old and I'm tired of spending money on him.  There.  I've said it.  I'm completely over having him look shiny and new.  He is old and dusty and that's okay with me.  But that's not to say, that I wouldn't appreciate having a car that didn't rub dirt off on me every time I opened the door or put groceries in the trunk.  I invested in a jug of carwash solution and some sponges, told the girls to get on their bathing suits and get to work.

Permission to use the hose/sprayer?  Permission to make a soapy mess?


Georgia and Josie got right to work.

It was a hot day and the cold water felt wonderful.  There was much soaping and much rinsing.

Once the car had been cleaned the first time, Georgia and Josie decided to go for Wash Number Two.

To get the car "really clean."

I'm pretty sure there was also a Wash Number Three and a Wash Number Four.  I didn't keep track.

I spent the time, sitting in a corner of the driveway, reading my book (a biography of Queen Elizabeth which I am not particularly enjoying even if the subject matter is one which I usually enjoy) and taking photos.  

I am never bored in the summer.  I absolutely love how we have Nothing To Do and Nowhere To Go. I love the opportunity to make last-minute plans and to be able to dash off at a moment's notice to a friend's house or to the pool for a quick swim.  

I absolutely love using my inner resources.

We have an incredibly long summer vacation this year and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I am going to have to come up with my Boring Day projects or else I'm going to have to make that chore jar after all. We'll see.


elisabeth said...

My kids recently learned the word boring, but they don't quite understand what it means. They seem to think it means "something I don't want to do." So they say "Boring!" when it's time to do chores or take showers. I am plotting how to teach them what boring really means. My plan involves either a toothbrush and the chainlink fence or a pair of scissors and the grass. I love the chore jar! We are just putting together a Mystery Jar that will have chores in it as well as activities the kids actually do like--put together a puzzle, jump rope, eat a cookie, etc. I've just been rereading Emma and laughing at Mrs Elton and her resources.

Angie said...

Ha Ha- Your one smart momma!! Nothing like entertaining the kiddos and getting something accomplished all at the same time. I think that chore jar is a genius idea!

Gordy's Mom said...

Thing to do when children are bored: Bring them to visit grandparents at Cape Cod, sit in their house reading book etc, and let grandparents amuse children with messy art projects.

Martha said...

Elisabeth - Ah! Mrs. Elton! People with extensive grounds are always happy to meet other people with extensive grounds! I'd like to hear how your mystery jar works out. I am intrigued!

Martha said...

Angie - the chore jar IS genius, right? My friend Larisa should win some sort of award. I'm going to pop over to your blog now and find out how bed rest is going!

Martha said...

J - fabulous idea! If only our moments of boredom were days of boredom and we didn't have sailing lessons and soccer! See you on Tuesday!

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