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By Amy Bertrand

RISMEDIA, July 4, 2008-(MCT)-If you’ve already heard choruses of “I’m bored” this summer, you are not alone. “I know people who hear it the minute school is out,” says Jennifer Fetsch, a teacher and former educator with Parents as Teachers. She has some solutions for fighting the summer blahs.

“I’m one of those moms, you either agree or disagree … who tries not to over schedule during the summer. We do vacation Bible school and swimming lessons, but other than that we try to go with the flow.”

And whatever the weather, once spring hits, her kids want to be outside. “So I have to come up with some creative things we can do.”

Her top suggestions:

1. Nature Walks: “My kids are very interested in their surroundings, so we turn everything into an adventure.” Jennifer has her kids collect whatever interesting things they can find on the trail, and they take them home and stick them on contact paper to make collages. In the fall, they might do different leaves, other times, they look for shapes found in nature.

2. Bike Rides: From paths around the neighborhood to the Katy Trail, the Fetsches ride everywhere they can. “We’ll ride down to a lake and look at the baby ducks.”

3. Play in the Rain: Even if it’s a rainy day, the kids still want to be outside, so they’ll put on rain boots and pull out the umbrella and splash around. “If there is no lightning,” Jennifer says.

4. Paint with Water: On very hot days, the neighborhood swimming pool or sprinklers may be a good option, but Jennifer also likes to have the kids paint with water. “We get out squirt bottles and paint brushes and paint with water. We paint mailboxes or bikes.”

5. Play Grown-up: Incorporate mom and dad duties with kid fun. For instance, Jake and Ryan both have kid-size gardening tools to use when Jennifer is gardening. And both boys pull out their bikes to wash while dad is washing the Jeep.

6. Inside Fun: On stormy days, the kids make the most of the time inside. One day, Jim brought home boxes from work and the kids turned them into robots. Then Ryan, ever the curious one, spent the rest of the day looking up information on robots while Jake played with their creation. “We get a lot of mileage out of paper towel rolls and old egg cartons.”

7. Kids’ Ideas: Jake and Ryan come up with ideas. One day, they wanted to paint rocks, so Jennifer threw an old tablecloth on the patio and let them paint to their heart’s content.

© 2008, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.