Surviving the End of a DC Summer

Summertime is about being at the pool, riding bicycles, using sidewalk chalk. Between the 115-degree heat index days in the DC area lately and the summertime boredom blues that can kick on for some children, the last month of summer can be a difficult time. A parent needs to have a bag of tricks to survive, especially during the last six weeks of summer, whether it is hot or rainy or summer boredom simply kicks in.

Dealing with the Heat:
Incredibly high temperatures bring on survival mode. Survival mode can look different for every family, but for us, that meant relaxing our technology rules for my daughter. No longer did she need to earn time to watch TV or play on her computer, Wii or Xbox. She just could, and that was that. You can even create a special technology-sponsored Olympics with “events” from your  gaming collection. Don’t have a Wii or Xbox? No worries. Find a neighbor who does and suggest the event for a few neighborhood children.

You can even throw in special activities like adventures with a water hose. With child against parent, a water war can make for a lot of giggling and some very funny pictures. It’s also a fabulous way to release energy and even the pent-up angst from being cooped up inside for too long.

Dealing with the Rain:
A trip to the museum is a great way to spend a rainy day and we are so lucky to have so many close by! Any of the Smithsonian museums can provide hours of fun, learning, and refuge from another day at home. You can even spend time preparing and then extending a trip. Consider checking out the website to pique your child’s interest before you go. Take lots of pictures while you are there, and then in the days after the trip, print your pictures and create a journal or story about your trip.

Dealing with Summer Boredom:
Friends on vacation, swim team season ending, sometimes the last bit of summer can drag on for children.  Consider taking a trip to a place like the Williamsburg area. Experiencing life in the colonial city or exploring the ships used by the English to settle at Jamestown is highly engaging and entertaining. You could even throw in a day at Busch Gardens.

Looking for something closer to home? Go for a nature hunt at a lake like Centennial Park in Columbia or Burke Lake in Fairfax.  Look for critters, rent a canoe, or bring a picnic to quench the interests of all your family members. Not able to travel? No worries. You can take virtual field trips online to so many different places around the world. There are several sites you can peruse to find your virtual destination without even needing a reservation!

Fall will be here soon enough with school schedules and projects, soccer games to get to and new activities to contend with. Enjoying this last part of the summer is a great way to start the fall off right!

Elena is an Advanced Academic Resource teacher in Northern Virginia. She writes about the roller coaster of life at Ciao Mom and about celebrating ourselves at Just.Be.Enough.