With just about two weeks until school lets out, I am faced with the inevitable truth that my kids will soon be home with me, and I will be tasked with what I like to call a “Herculean feat”: keeping them entertained, while not killing each other. Sure, they’ll be doing some camp time here and there, but with plenty of down time on the calendar, it’s a ripe opportunity for them to do something that’s productive and that doesn’t have to follow a set schedule. Ah, the beauty of unstructured time!…What is that, anyway? After hearing so much about ‘brain drain’ and ‘summer slide,’ I figure it’s my job as a parent to keep them intellectually challenged and mentally engaged even when they’re not in the classroom. Because those requisite trips to the library and beach quickly lose their novel appeal, what’s a mom to do? If you’re like me and have plenty of weeks to fill between now and September, you might want to check out Green Kid Crafts’ Summer Survival Collection. Each month, the company will send your child a specially themed box of goodies, containing all the stuff they need to keep their brains running smoothly. June begins with a Backyard Science Box that let them get down and dirty as they explore what lies beneath. July’s Gardening Box helps cultivate little green thumbs–perfect if, like me, you “forgot” to weed out last year’s garden and plant new stuff. And if you make it August without killing anyone (!), you can check out the Around the World Box, which lets your child become a globe trotter without needing a passport. We’ve reviewed Green Kid Crafts’ other kits, and my 5-year-old is still playing with the puppets she made! A big hit when there’s plenty of down time–or just when you’re all out of ideas for boredom busters–these go-to kits will be your new best friend.
In a Nutshell: Step away from the Nintendo DS, and grab a friend (or sibling) for a fun afternoon of crafts, exploration and more. Great for a rainy day, summer vacation respite or any time your kid claims “There’s nothing to do.”