Idea No. 1 for keeping kids productive this summer

Every summer my kids and I hold “summer school.” This is not an all-day, everyday proposition, and I have zero interest in home schooling my kids.

Instead, I choose an activity to work on throughout the summer, maybe once a week for an hour and usually at about 2 p.m. on a day when my kids are at each other’s throats. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share a few things we’ve done over the last few years.

One of our favorite summer-school activities was when my boys wrote their own Dinosaur Vs. books. If you aren’t familiar, Bob Shea has written and illustrated a darling series of books where a dinosaur battles different foes like the potty and bedtime. They are the best read-aloud books, and a couple years ago, I asked the boys to come up with their own opponent for Dinosaur and to write and illustrate their own little book. Because each of the Dinosaur Vs. books follows the same format, we used that as a template for coming up with our own texts.

Click here to see Shea reading part of Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime online.

This activity took weeks because the kids had to brainstorm and select an idea, write a rough draft, lay out the pages and decide what text would be on each one, and illustrate the book. That meant they developed skills in organization, writing, creativity, and penmanship.

What do you do in the summertime to keep your kids occupied and happy? I hate having the TV on, so I’m always looking for good, easy, and inexpensive ideas. Please share your favorites here. •

4 thoughts

  1. Such a cute photo of your boys! That is a fun idea and I haven’t heard of those books. My kids like to color big pictures, so I just picked up a 10-pack of white poster boards at Hobby Lobby for $3. It keeps them busy a long time drawing zoos and ocean scenes. I also picked up sketchbooks for each of them at the dollar store. Summer is fun, but a little overwhelming!


  2. What a fun idea (I think I’ll borrow it.) My older girls would love to write their own book. This summer one of my goals is for the older girls to begin learning to plan and prepare simple meals. We are working on them choosing recipes, shopping and preparing start to finish. They love it!


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