With summer vacation around the corner, you might be wondering how you will keep your kids occupied all summer and not hear, “I’m bored”, constantly. While figuring out what to do on their own has its own benefits, if you’d like to offer them some helpful ideas, here are a few activities that can help them learn something useful, too. Our job as parents is to raise independent, responsible adults and our time with them is fleeting, so it’s important to maximize every teachable moment.

  1. Run a lemonade stand. Running their own business has many benefits. It can be a lemonade or produce stand, pet sitting business or other service. There are so many skills they can learn from doing so, it should be a required rite of passage for all children. Talk to them about the 4 P’s: product (what to make), price (the right price for the product), placement (where to sell it) and promotion (how to get the word out). Have them pay you a portion of their profits to cover the cost of any supplies you provided.
  1. Interview adults about their jobs. Kids generally have very abstract ideas about what they’d like to do when they grow up, sometimes with a huge disconnect between the income potential and their desired lifestyle. At some point, they need to start learning about the various choices available to them, what type of education might be required, and how much they can expect to earn, etc.  Ask them to identify friends, family members or neighbors who they’d like to interview about their careers. You might need to help them figure out the jobs various people have, so they can make appropriate choices based on their interests. To further drive home this lesson, have them share what they learned with the rest of the family.
  1. Take them to work with you. Whether or not you participate in the official Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, consider taking your kids to work with you over the summer. Summer tends to be a quieter time, so you might have more time to focus on their experience in your office by introducing them to your co-workers, talking to them about what you do and maybe even giving them small projects to complete. It really helps kids to understand that their parents work hard to earn money and will help instill a solid work ethic in them. Check out Daughters and Sons To Work for more helpful ideas.

Instead of just telling your kids to go outside and play when they say, “I’m bored”, this summer, take advantage of the opportunity to teach them important life lessons by making them do something useful with their free time.