Play Dates

Photo by Michele Venne

If the deadlines for swim lessons, summer reading programs, and camps were missed, now is the opportunity to make your own. Find other families who have a pool, or those willing to take turns and carpool to a community swim center, if it’s safe and they’re open. “Play dates” can become “water dates”, and if the responsibility is shared, parents and guardians can take a few hours to run errands, get caught up on tasks, or rest.

Create your own awards for K-12 students to read books. An afternoon at a trampoline gym? A movie ticket? $10 and a trip to a bookstore? A drive to a frozen yogurt or ice cream joint? A night at the science center? Sometimes reading is its own reward, but for reluctant readers or those who struggle, earning a reward for accomplishing something tough could help with motivation to start and to keep going.

Have an art day once or twice a week. Make supplies available, offer a few suggestions, then allow the inner artist to play. Look to libraries, science centers, museums, and even shopping malls to engage with various presentations (again, if it’s safe and places are open).

Not everything has to be educational. Indulge a student’s interest in robotics, cooking, fashion, or animals. There are many places looking for volunteers and program participants. Other parents are often a great resource. The summer isn’t over, and there’s lots of time to help your student grow intellectually, socially, and artistically.