Tis the season…for families to gather together for summer trips. Some will head for water parks or amusement parks. Others will take their tents and campers down to a lazy river. And, of course, the beach will be a fun magnet for myriads. And in all of these get-togethers, you'll find many groups with ages ranging from 1 month to 100 years – tho most will probably range from 1 to older baby boomers.
In the midst of all this family fun, there may come a minute or 20 where you are feeling a bit tired, the grandkids are just as delightful but all talking at once, and you would like a tiny bit of piece and quiet to revive you for the rest of the day? I say this because I've been there in the past and a dear friend of mine was feeling just like that last week. I gave her some fast suggestions and thought you might enjoy them as well.
- I almost always have paper with me – if nothing else, I have shorthand notebooks for writing things down for blogging about or to do lists. Not as many as I used to because of my smart phone, but still at least one or two. Plus I try to always have several pens and pencils with me – for just the same reason. If you also have paper and pens, pencils, markers, or crayons around – grab them, hand them out to all the kids and grandkids, and tell them to draw pictures of each other and the things they are seeing and doing. Tell them you are going to collect all these awesome works of art to save at your house or send to a beloved elderly relative.
- Audible.com is a wonderful company, now associated with Amazon, where you can buy audible books to download. And they even have a plugin for the iPhone (and I am guessing – for the Android). If you don't already have kids books on your cell phone (yup – I have SEVERAL), get the Audible app, download something of interest to them – my younger grandkids enjoy the Boxcar Children. My older grandchild might enjoy the Left Behind Kids series. And Audible carries both of those. Within about 15 minutes, you can say, "Hey there, time for a rest." Then when they all groan, you can add, "Ahhhh, but you also get to listen to a great book." If they're anything like my grandkids, that is a terrific enticement to a rest time. And we won't ever tell them the rest is REALLY for us.
- Create a scavenger hunt. Take that paper, look all around you, and start writing down things you see or should see in your area – in or out. Pine cones, rocks, leaves, and flowers if you are in the mountains. Sand, sand crabs, driftwood, and books if you are at the beach. And so on. Just be sure to only put things on the list that they would actually be allowed to collect. Every camping area has different rules. Enlist the help of a couple of the older ones to rewrite the list on several sheets of paper. Don't forget to draw pictures of the items if you have non-readers. Then turn them loose with the list, along with the ground rules (stay in sight, don't grab something someone else has, etc.). If you have glue and enough paper, have them make collages when they are done. Otherwise, just do a HIP HIP HOORAY for the first person done, last person done, funniest items, best items, keep making up awards til everyone gets a HIP HIP HOORAY and big hug.
Now, it's your turn? What do YOU do if you're on a big family outing and needing to keep the kids or grandkids a wee bit quieter for your sake – or maybe the sake of an elderly relative? We'd love to hear.
P.S. If you haven't left yet, plan ahead and pack some construction paper, markers, glue, stickers, etc. along with some fun new books. If you don't use them on the trip, they'll come in handy later. But if you need them, you'll be SO glad you did.