When summer days feel endless (to children) or chaotic (to moms), try a 15-minute creativity boost. Whether it’s brain games, spontaneous fun, moving limbs or chill time, infuse a bit of fun with this little-known time secret.
1. Fifteen minutes for education. During the summer, kids can lose anywhere from one to three grade levels of reading or math. Just 15 minutes a day can help keep the brain cells stimulated in fun ways. Use educational software such as Preschool Prepco, Leap Frog or Advantage for online ease and specific grade levels. Or try grade-level workbooks. My kids know to do the educational before any regular “fun.” They move forward on their reading, math and science, and I have zero guilt about Wii time afterward.
You can also do easy science experiments, choosing from hundreds of online options with simple ingredients right in your cupboard. For example, set a timer and start a contest for who can create the strongest egg carrier from paper, toothpicks and glue. Or have kids make a simple puppet show of a favorite story by using a spring-loaded rod, a stairway and a curtain.
2. Fifteen minutes of make-it-up fun. Make a 15-minute Fun Jar. Kids brainstorm fun activities like karaoke or art activities. Keep it super simple. Give them a prop or cardboard box and have them make a commercial, skit or new invention in 15 minutes. For example, when my kids pulled from the jar "Make a commercial," I put them into two teams and gave them a few handy props to choose from (TV remote and a binky). They made hilarious commercials, which I filmed with my iPhone. Simple, easy, fun. The beauty was not only were they creatively busy and working with their siblings, but the 15 minutes grew into an hour, and I got the kitchen cleaned and put my feet up after. Perfect!
3. Fifteen minutes to get physical. Remind your children their limbs actually function. Have them walk the dog, play a water game outside, or play tag (ameoba tag, freeze tag, lots of tag options online), even inside if it’s too hot. Research shows that just 15 minutes can improve your child's attention span, ability to stay on task, GPA and behavior.
4. Fifteen minutes for Mom! Read a book, do a hobby or enjoy something nonproductive and fun. Have one of your kids baby-sit, wait until naptime, or put on an educational movie and simply rest. We love Bill Nye the Science Guy movies, and hey, those are 30 minutes long. When the movie’s done, the kids are happy and more knowledgeable, and I'm rested and more fun-loving. Who doesn't win?
This summer, discover the power of 15 fabulous minutes to jumpstart a humdrum summer day!