I never really used to understand little boys. Growing up in a girl-dominated household for most of my life, I just didn’t see why they were always moving at a hundred miles per minute or why they had so much energy, even after playing for hours on end. Well now, as a boy mom, I’m starting to understand.
To say that there is a lot of energy in this house would be a hysterical understatement. Between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., there’s always someone running, yelling, throwing, galloping, wrestling, punching, ninja-ing, roaring, or jumping. Always.
There’s perpetual motion in our lives, and it rarely stops during waking hours. Oh, and there are four of them, and they are all under 8, so basically we live in Crazytown and I’m the Mayor. All day long their energy flows like coffee on a Monday morning. So, what the solution? Well, there’s no hard and fast rule, but here are a few things that I do.
1. Let them run — literally
We take our kids to the high school that’s near our house and let them race around the track to their hearts’ content. They love it because it’s competition. We love it because all we have to do is watch and time them.
2. Choose the right games
Trouble, Candyland, and puzzles are great, but while the dudes are playing, they’re not exerting energy. I’m not saying to abandon the board games, just be sure they get their fill of gross motor activities, too. Soccer, tag, and kickball are a few we love to rotate.
3. Arrange a playdate
Kids wear each other out better than any adult can. End of story.
4. Set up an obstacle course
This is definitely a favorite. It isn’t exactly American Ninja Warrior level, but through the eyes of a young boy, it might as well be. Improvise. Use tape in the driveway and have them use it as a balance beam. Set up chairs and have them crawl through them. Use stuffed animals and have the kids jump over them. The best thing about this one is that it works indoors, too. If we can do it in our Brooklyn apartment, you can absolutely do it in your home.
5. Take advantage of what they’re already doing
They want to wrestle? Make it a match. They want to be ninjas? Dress them in black and let them at it.
6. Keep them outside when possible
Let the fresh air and sunshine do the work for you. It’s hard to keep them out all day, but you’ll reap the rewards when they sleep like logs.
7. Water balloon fight
Seriously, buy water balloons in bulk. In my experience, they not only have the magical ability to drain kids of their energy, but they also can cheer up even the grumpiest of children. When all else fails organize a water balloon fight, and be sure to participate, too.
What’s your favorite way to keep your kids active during the summer months?
Rhianon Hoffman contributed this post. Rhianon is a mom of four young boys; Hudson (7), Wyatt (5), Amos (3), and Brooks (19 months). She loves to honestly share about the challenges of raising small children, funny observations, daily unfortunate mishaps, and creative ways to engage with your kids. She loves being as authentic and transparent as possible, and hopes to create an encouraging space in which readers can reflect and reimagine their identity as parents. Rhianon and her husband Seth live in Brooklyn, NY with their little dudes.