School is ending and summer stretches before us. For some nannies and parents, they get the summertime blues as they may face increased work hours and more responsibility. Trying to keep a children entertained and busy for the entire summer can be a bit daunting. While many school age children are elated, some, like my child, Isaiah, is dreading the long summer. He worries about missing his friends and being bored.

Nannies and children can worry about how to spend the summer break.

Isaiah is scheduled to go to soccer camp for a week and we have a week of vacation planned, but he sees the rest of the summer as a long, boring weekend with nothing to do on a daily basis. Some of his friends go to summer long camps or daycare programs and are looking forward to the myriad of activities these organizations have planned.  I decided to take a cue from them and create a summer activity schedule for Isaiah. Of course, I had to be creative – I don’t have the resources of a camp or daycare. I wanted to create activities that would be interesting and engaging for Isaiah but not overly complex for me to execute.

The first step was to look at a calendar and see what was already scheduled.

I blocked out the week for soccer camp and the week for our family vacation. This gave me a clear picture of the ‘open’ days. I spent some time ‘brainstorming’ ideas for both daily activities and weekly themes. I tried to think of activities that would interest Isaiah and introduce him to new things as well. I didn’t want to make the schedule totally full – I wanted to allow for flexibility and down time. I made up a draft schedule and then I discussed my ideas with Isaiah.

I wanted a mix of physical exercise with games, crafts and general fun.

Mixing in a physical activity each day helps the children stay fit and burn energy. I don’t believe screen time should be tabu as long as it’s managed. Daily activities included typical summer activities – playing in the sprinklers, water balloon fights/games, swimming, bike rides, miniature golf, nature walks, etc. I talked with other parents and scheduled a neighborhood “field day” with sack races, and a picnic lunch. Two of Isaiah’s friend were really into a specific video game, so I organized a video tournament for the 3 of them. I had a list of movies for rainy days.

I had some weeks when the activities centered on a theme.

Isaiah is really into animals and zoos. On Monday, we watched a documentary about how the zoo was created – from the viewing areas to getting the animals. We talked about the challenges and how we might do things differently. On Tuesday, Isaiah took his stuffed animals and created his own ‘zoo’ in the living room. He played for hours. Wednesday, we focused on what the animals might need. We talked about different foods, how much space an animal might need and veterinary care. Isaiah was interested in the medical aspect so we watched a documentary on the care of zoo animals. On Thursday, we took a neighborhood walk and looks for signs of wildlife. We talked about what animals were local to our area. Friday was the climax of the week with a trip to our local zoo. I watched the weather all week to make sure it would be ok – the other activities offered the flexibility to move the zoo day to earlier in the week if needed.

Similarly, we planned a week around the Harry Potter series.

We began by discussing the books and getting a joint understanding of the characters and storylines.  Isaiah is into Legos and loved assembling a Harry Potter Lego set. He also likes to make videos, so we took a couple of days to plan a video, write the script and create the costumes. Then he filmed the video with a couple of his friends playing the stars.

This summer plan turned a dreaded period of time into an exciting and fun-filled experience for my son.

Since we both knew what to expect each day – there were minimal “I’m bored, what can I do?” moments. If you decide to try this please remember:

  1. Don’t overschedule
  2. Allow for flexibility
  3. Schedule free play time or down time
  4. Discuss the plan with the child so you plan things that interest them and that they will enjoy

This year, Isiah is excited about the upcoming summer and the activities we have planned. According to the American Pediatric Association, outdoor play is vital for children. If you are a nanny and would like to learn more, check out the Nanny Institute which provides online college-level nanny certifications.