School's over, your husband took the car for the day, and camp doesn't start for another week. None of the kids' friends are available to play, and they can't seem to stop fighting. You don't want to just pop in a movie, but what choice do you have?
- Get Wet – Like magic, water cleans away everybody's overheated bad moods. You don't have to leave home to cool off and have fun with your kids. If you have a backyard, or even if your apartment has a balcony, you can create a space where your children can splash and frolic to their heart's content. Set up a paddling pool, a sprinkler they can run through, or be adventurous and let your kids have control of the garden hose. Apartment too small for any of these options? Head out to the local park for a water balloon fight followed by a game of Frisbee. Your kids won't remember how much you spent that day. All that's important to them is that they had a chance to chill out with you, and have you all to themselves.
- Get Artsy – Summer is the perfect time to scout the arts and crafts stores for fun projects you can do with your children. Whether you make your own picture frames, or paint your own t-shirts, whether you buy a ready made craft set or scavenge through the five and dime store, give your kids the opportunity to create something that will become a treasured and useful part of your household. Some ideas: napkin holder, toothbrush holder, plastic flip-flops, a birthday present for Grandma. We all love things more when we make them ourselves.
- Get Creative – Purim costumes are not only for Purim. When kids are in a bad mood, just changing their clothes can help them to change moods. Keep a toy chest filled with clothes and props for dressing up, and watch them transform themselves from grouchy to happy. Sometimes kids need help jumpstarting their imagination. They are wearing their pirate costumes, but what should they do now? How about building a pirate ship in the living room out of blankets and pillows? Tell them to make sure they watch out for sharks.
- Get Outdoors – Being bored is caused by not paying attention to the opportunities around us. That's why very young children are rarely bored. A nature walk can help everybody develop a new perspective. Try to see how many different types of leaves and bugs you can find. Talk about the different colors of green, and the way different creatures move, for example - humans walk, bugs crawl, and birds fly. Older children can take a field guide out of the library, and attempt to identify the different species you pass on your walk. When you get back home, you take that sense of wonder with you.
- Get Sentimental – Try to get back into touch with who you were as a child and what you loved about summer. See how many of these experiences you can recreate for your children.