“Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” whoever wrote that song was not a parent. What do you do with children who are out of school and bored? How do you get them up and moving? This month’s suggestions for teaching kids to bless may just help.
Our local food bank sent out a special appeal for help a couple of weeks before school let out. “Children who would normally get a free lunch, maybe even breakfast, at school, don’t have that during the summertime.” The manager of the food bank told me. “They are home and bored, or outside playing and expending more energy, but they have less food. Lots of children grow rapidly during summer and they need calories. Ironically, just when they need us [the food bank] most, that’s when our donations and volunteer hours go down. People go on vacation with their families and we’re left short.”
I am a volunteer at our local food bank once a week. One day, a woman walked in with two kids in tow. They were a 6–year–old and an 8–year–old, not exactly what you’d think of as premium labor. The 6–year–old sat with her mother as they sorted canned goods and put them on shelves. The 8–year–old got to check packages of bread for mold. They both loved putting the spoiled food aside for the farmer who came late in the day to pick it up for pig feed.
The food bank got lots of childish questions and energy, three hours of labor for the one hour they were there, and a little desperately needed help. The kids got a look at the people who came in for food boxes and found out that they’re quite ordinary folks. And, they developed an understanding of how much help is needed. There’s even talk of asking the Girl Scout Leader to bring in the troop after school starts in the fall. As a volunteer, I loved it.
If food banking is not your thing, or they can’t accommodate your kids’ ages, try some of these ideas.
Above all, get creative with yourself and the kids. Look for anything nearby that you can do once or as a habit. Not only will it ease their boredom, the kids will learn something and feel good about helping others. Meanwhile, you get out of the house and might even get to talk to another adult.
Check back here monthly for specific ideas and suggestions, projects or causes that children could work on with their parents or a trusted adult. If you have suggestions to contribute, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.