Studies indicate that nearly 100% of kids will proclaim they are bored at some point during the 104 days of summer vacation. And 100% of parents will be so.over.it by day 2. So if you are you looking for a way to have a summer break that is the BEST.SUMMER.EVER! here is the single best survival tip I can give you:
Show your kids how to use Pinterest.
I know, right? I wish I had thought of it sooner, too! Because who among us have not had the pleasure of discovering amazing things on Pinterest? For hours! And hours and hours and hours! (I mean, how many kid activity/craft/book/outing pins do you have pinned?)
Here are some practical tips on how to do this so that it is safe, fun and allows your kid maximum Pinterest effort, er, fun!
(You should know that kids are not (technically) allowed to have an account on Pinterest until they are age 13. So if your kid is under 13, you can create an account for them to use with your supervision or give them a board on your own account to pin things on.)
Wait—is Pinterest safe for kids?
Well, it’s pretty safe. But it is a kind of social media, meaning it is designed to encourage socializing with, you know, strangers. And unlike YouTube or Twitter, there is currently no way to filter content on Pinterest. So depending on what search terms a kid uses, they may see things they (and you) don’t want to. Personally, I have never stumbled across anything risqué in my mundane searches for recipes and crafts and such, but this is a good time to review your family internet policy and what you child should do if they run across something super inappropriate online.
If your child is 13 or older, there are a few things you can do to protect them. First, have them use a fake name on their account. Second, make all their boards private. This keeps all the pins they post to the boards private and strangers can’t contact them. Third, have them share their private boards with you so you can see what they pin and help them navigate any pins or links that need a follow up conversation.
Once you have an account/board for your child set up, take a few minutes to show them how to search, how to click through links to blogs (and not to click on advertising, etc on the blogs) and how to save the pins. (Here is a link to more info on how to make Pinterest safe for kids.)
Now the fun part begins.
I recommend you and your child think of categories for summer fun so they don’t (entirely) fall down the Pinterest black hole.
Here are a few ideas to get you, er, THEM started on a Pinterest board:
1) Things to do/outings in your city – search for ‘Things to do with kids in _____ .’
2) Things to build/crafts (legos, slime, etc) – This is, or course, what Pinterest is famous for. You won’t see your kids until they re-surface in September.
3) Things to learn through science experiments – It’s easiest to search by grade or age and you might encourage your child to add the word ‘simple’ or ‘household’ to the search so you don’t end up trying to find 15 weird things for an experiment.
4) Things to cook/bake – a great way to learn (shh!) and gain life skills, too!
5) Things to play — this can be board games or outdoor summer fun.
6) Things to read – lots of lists for this, even books for kids who hate to read! Search by age/grade-level.
7) Things to watch – kid-friendly YouTube channels to watch, TedTalks for kids, history, science, how-to videos that teach things from juggling to playing ukulele. Then movies, of course! Search for family-friendly movie lists; there are a ton. (Here is a list to some kid-friendly ones.)
And you know how kids keep asking about having a playdate? Let them plan a get-together—what a great way to learn hosting and hospitality. They can host an activity from their pins, plan a snack, etc. (<-resist the urge to do it for them.)
You guys. You just showed your kids an endless way to entertain themselves this summer.