I had a rare opportunity to take this last week off without any other plans to suck up my time. I don’t think I ever had a whole week off without being out-of-town on vacation! It was heaven! I ended up getting a lot done in the organization department which felt great. Summer break is in full swing so it gave me a chance to get the kids on track with chore charts and some school related goals for the summer. I am all for letting kids be kids and enjoy the summer but I know it will be easier on them once school starts back up if they have had some structure during the off months. I started a chore chart for the 3rd time in my kids lives and I think I found something that finally works for us. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on what we did there.
Another one of my goals is to limit time on the digital devices. My kids are just getting to the age (almost 5 & 8) where they can do more on them and are getting more interested. Instead of giving them time limits and restrictions, I prefer to try to naturally get them involved in other things. (No eye rolling please!) I worry the more something is restricted, the more they will think they want it. As far as the “naturally get them involved in other things” part, I am going back to my mom’s strategy with fruit when we were young. She always said if you washed it, cut it up and set it out, everyone would eat it. Who can resist a bowl of plump juicy grapes or fresh sliced apples just sitting there for the taking? So… I kept that strategy in mind as I did some organizing around the house. One of the things I did that seems to be working really well is my “Summertime Centerpiece”.
This centerpiece is a collection of coloring books, colored pencils, crayons, games, and books. It was created from stuff I already had on hand. During this week of organizing I was determined not to buy anything. I am always looking for some new container or basket but this time I challenged myself to use only what I had. A breakfast in bed tray that only gets used occasionally was used for the base and a couple of baskets and containers that I repurposed from other things helped organize everything. A Lazy Susan or a stand with tiers would work great for this as well! The nice part of having it on something is that you can easily move it out-of-the-way for dinner time or when guests come over. If the guests are kids, keep it out! It seems to draw them in like flies to honey. Our kids’ friends immediately plop themselves down at the table and start going through the goodies!
You can add anything to this centerpiece you think will be relevant to your family. All or some of us can sit down at the table anytime and start something. My favorite is coloring. I have some adult coloring books mixed in the kids’ ones. I will probably change things out each week or so to keep it interesting. Here are some links to a few products that have gone over well in our centerpiece. I will try to keep this post updated as I find new things that work and keep them off the devices. I would love to hear your comments on other things that would be good additions to the Summertime Centerpiece!
- Checkers – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Game – Good quality magnetic games that are great for travel as well. This is checkers but any of their games are good.
- IQ Blox – Great for exercising the brain.
- Magna Shapes Spinning Circles – Beautifully colored wood magnet pieces that are great for getting those creative juices flowing!
- Knock Knock Game Pad, 60 Sheets – I love these and the kids do too, it even has those fun fortune-teller/cootie catcher things!
- Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns – Coloring for Adults. There are a ton out there but I particularly like this one.
- Sweet Treats (Dream Doodle Draw!) – Like the adult coloring books but for younger kids.
- Colorama Magic Path Coloring Book, Create Beautiful Pencil Art – Coloring for those a little older than 6 but younger than a teenager.