To deal with the boredom I've created a "Boredom Buster" jar. First, I cut a couple of sheets of paper into strips about 3/4 inch wide. On each strip of paper I wrote a job, something sure to bust any bout of boredom. I included things like organize the pots and pans, match up socks, organize and refold the clothes in one dresser drawer, dust the bookshelves, etc... When they come to me with their complaints of "I'm bored!" or "There's nothing to do!" they will be directed straight to the Boredom Buster Jar.
Now, lest you think I'm just a mean 'ol mommy who is not going to provide any summer fun for the kids, let me also tell you about the "What can I do?" chart... To keep them occupied on rainy days or days when the temperature prevents safely playing outdoors they can refer to this chart for ideas to keep themselves occupied and prevent the dreaded Boredom Buster Jar. The chart includes activities that they can easily do on their own in most cases, or in some instances with a brother, sister, or even me. A few things on our chart:
Read a book!
Play a board game
Play with Play-doh
Write and act out a play or puppet show
Put together a puzzle
Build a city with all the various building toys
Draw/color a picture
Listen to a story on CD
Make a bead necklace
Do a craft (I'm going to pick up some of those $1-2 craft kits at Michaels to keep on hand)
Dealing with the summer gap in learning is a little trickier. I don't want them to think I'm making them do summer school, but I do feel it is necessary to keep up with a couple of things during their time off--particularly math and reading. Both boys already read every single night at bedtime and that's great, but I want them to spend part of their day reading as well. To encourage this, and to let them think they at least have some say in the matter I am setting up an exchange system of sorts. Thirty minutes reading equals thirty minutes on the Wii or computer. The same is true for math. And to sweeten the deal (for Ben at least) I've also found some great online math games to help reinforce math facts. So he can choose to spend his thirty minutes of math using the Flashmaster, playing an online game, or completing a math worksheet--his choice.
Hopefully these things will help bridge the gap that summer creates, while also allowing them to enjoy their summer break!