Summer Boredom Busters or Helping Your Kids Be Productive

It can be tricky keeping kids busy doing productive things in the summer (if you’re off from school), especially with the lure of the Internet. I offer you some tips:

My favorite inspiration for productivity is using summer to prepare for Christmas by making homemade gifts. Over the years, this has saved us thousands of dollars. One way to inspire your kids to make gifts is to offer to pay them for their work. It’s a win-win. Or let them start an Etsy shop/Facebook page to sell their wares.

Washer Necklace

In 2010 I posted a tutorial for simple but adorable washer necklaces my daughter made and sold at a festival. It was wildly popular with the Internet and to date, it remains my 2nd most viewed blog posts, shared on Pinterest over 26,000 times!

These necklaces make fantastic gifts, are inexpensive if you make lots of them, and are fun to make too. See the post HERE.

Easy, Cheap Homemade Gifts

Canvas Pillows

Here is a post about making super-cute, cheap, stenciled canvas pillows. The recipients of this gift are ALWAYS happy.

Here is a post with more ideas about homemade gifts we’ve done.

And although we don’t have these for sale anymore, I still give these as gifts and they are very loved. It’s simply a design (drawn my by then-12 year old son), ironed on. I’ve also created designs on the computer with baby name, etc. and they are too cute.

onesie-bright

 

Stone Coasters

I’ve shared several times about the coasters Alexa makes for her Etsy shop. We love giving these for gifts too. Here’s a tutorial about how to make them.

3 of My Favorite Things--Entrepreneur Love, Handmade Gifts

 

Enjoy your summer and get your hands into something!

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3 Responses to “Summer Boredom Busters or Helping Your Kids Be Productive”

  1. Laura says:

    one thing that puzzles me is how to get them to see productivity as worth the time spent. For example, gardening (something we do and require all of our kids to help with) is very productive, but it’s hard work. I don’t think any of them would help if we didn’t make them. Most things that give you a worthwhile result require a certain amount of labor, skill and repetition. My kids seem to struggle with wanting to go through the work to get to the worthwhile result. I often avoid “crafts” with my kids b/c I despise cheapo, junk crafts that just clutter my house more, and the times that i have tried to do something, I try to encourage the idea that we are aiming for beauty, order, and most of all a cohesive outcome. They don’t seem to care, and are careless and we usually end up in tears, and they throw away whatever we tried to make… I don’t think I am being super picky…

    • 6 arrows says:

      Seeing productivity as worth the time spent only comes with maturity. In all my years of teaching in a variety of settings — with many hundreds of students — I can probably count on one hand the number of kids who seemed to need no prodding whatsoever to invest their time and effort into things that yield a worthwhile result some time later.

      Your kids are by no means unusual in that tendency to struggle to work diligently without some sort of external motivation applied first. Internal motivation comes naturally to very few children, and let’s face it, that’s true of many adults, too.

      I’m going to be blunt now and tell you that I cringed when I read “I often avoid “crafts” with my kids b/c I despise cheapo, junk crafts that just clutter my house more…”

      That, and your statement “I try to encourage…most of all a cohesive outcome.”

      It sounds from those statements that you consider the product more important than the process, and if the product isn’t beautiful, orderly and cohesive, well, that’s a problem apparently. How, may I ask in all sincerity, are children supposed to gain the skills to create something of beauty and order if they’re not encouraged to simply work with their hands on a regular basis, whatever the finished product looks like at various times during their development?

      You say you don’t think you are being super picky, but, from what you’ve written here, my impression is that your standards ARE too high. You avoid crafts with your kids b/c you “despise cheapo, junk crafts that just clutter [your] house more.”

      Is that what you consider their creations to be — cheap junk? Ugly clutter that does not live up to your idea of beauty?

      Maybe my impression is wrong, but what is their impression of how you receive their efforts? If they know you’re dissatisfied and are possibly labeling them careless when they may simply not have enough practice and skill built up yet to create something you think is beautiful, then I wouldn’t be surprised that they usually end up in tears, and that their creations they try to make often get thrown away.

      They don’t seem to care? Show them you care by encouraging them in their fledgling efforts. Start a separate file, maybe a box, for each child’s crafts, and observe how they refine their abilities over time. Display in a visible area one work per child, perhaps. Even if their finished products don’t meet your current expectations.

      Is your house and the things of beauty you want in it more important to you than your relationships with your children?

      I suspect deep down material things do not supersede in your mind the blessing of having the children God has given you. Are your children receiving that message loud and clear through your words and actions?

      (Something we all need to ask ourselves, and I include myself in that category.)

    • D. says:

      Laura,

      I’ll be honest that I too struggle with the same dislike of crafts. We live in a tight space for a family of six and we don’t have a lot of places to display or even store craft material. It’s hard to encourage creativity without much space to be creative in. Because I can’t save all their different pictures and attempts at artwork, I put up a piece of string and use a clothespin to “display” their creativity for a bit, then move it on to the recycling.

      I’ve had to come to the understanding that it’s okay not to be “that” mom from Pinterest who always has the greatest craft ideas and they usually turn out just as great!! But, at the same time, I’ve also had to let go of my expectations for my kids artwork to turn out cohesively because really, who is the person who defines beauty? Our kids will not be crafting the same way in a few years and they may not even want anything to do with crafts if we, as mothers, cannot encourage their form of expression.

      This is a huge challenge for someone like me, who wants things done orderly and uniformly. Kids think differently and maybe the craft should be more about them experimenting than looking Pinterest-worthy. This is all food-for-thought. It’s important to teach our children to strive for excellence (not to be sloppy, lazy or disengaged), but we also have to remember their talents and maturity (age).

      Maybe instead of leading a craft with your kids, put out the materials on your dining room table and let them have at it. I’ve done that a few times and some interesting creations have come about….. 🙂 It’s a mess, but the kids seem to enjoy it and the older ones can even help with the clean up.

      God bless you as we all seek to honour the Lord and find the right balance!

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