8 Awesomely Lazy Ways to Entertain Your Kids & Do Nothing at the Same Time

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Being that I'm a self-professed Lazy Parent™, summer has the potential to knock me off my feet. Two and a half months with the kiddo at home? Yikes. But don't worry! I have a few summer vacations under my belt, and despite the summer's being a little more than half over (I KNOW!), I now offer up my top 8 tips for how to lazy your way through the rest of the season -- and beyond.

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Sure, you could have signed your kid up for camp so they're out of the house every day, but that can add up real quick, and while I'm lazy, I'm also pretty frugal. I signed my son up for three weeks of various camps and then had to figure out just what the heck to do the rest of the time. This is especially tricky when you're not only lazy, but you also work full-time from home. Here are some of my better Lazy Parenting™ tips for summer success:

1. Create "opportunities to learn."
I'm not saying you should have signed up your kiddo for summer school (although, hey, that's not such a bad idea ...). But, use this time to their -- and your! -- advantage! Set them up in the kitchen with some ingredients, some child-friendly knives, and the latest season of Masterchef Jr. on an iPad, and not only will your child learn to embrace his inner chef, but you also just might get some dinner out of it!

More from CafeMom: 12 Moms Who Are Failing at Summer -- Just Like the Rest of Us

2. Lock them outdoors.
The ultimate in free-range parenting. Give them a backpack full of granola bars and water, and let them find their own adventures. Have them stay within a certain radius and require frequent check-ins ... through the screen door of course. (Note: There is a real-life downside to this. Unfortunately, in this country, if you're black or brown and allow your kids some of this freedom, you'll get charged with neglect while white families are just seen as following a trend. But I digress.)

3. Work your friends and family.
They say it takes a village, so why not call them out on that? I'm not sure who "they" are, but honestly, they keep saying this line, so this is the time to find out how much of it is true. It's totally A-OK to lean on your friends and family: Playdates! Trips to the movies with your child-free friends! Weekend at Grandma's! Use your village to allow yourself some time for work or general lazying about.

4. Stuff them with screen time.
Yes, I know. All the research shows that too much screen time will damage their growing brains. But, instead of giving the green light to 24/7 Disney Channel, why not fill their heads with content that might actually teach them something? Start with a marathon of Cosmos, and allow Neil deGrasse Tyson to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Follow that up with some musical theater viewings (Fiddler on the Roof, Mary Poppins, Grease, Sound of Music, Hairspray, The Wiz, Little Shop of Horrors, etc. ...). Your local library will have plenty of the classics on DVD. And if the kids are desperate for a cartoon, you can end the day with some Hayao Miyazaki. And of course, there's always the Olympics! Who knew my son had such a fascination with both men's diving and Gabby Douglas?

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5. Reading "competition."
Head to the library and have your kids gather up all the books that interest them. Then, together, draw up a chart where for every book they read, they will get a star. The first to finish X amount of books (you choose the number) gets a special prize -- it could be as simple as picking out what's for dinner.

6. Teach your kids to swim.
Okay, this might sound like the exact opposite of being lazy, but just hear me out. Knowing how to swim is a fantastic life skill. It will also provide you with hours of downtime if you can bring your kids to a local pool, lake, swimming hole, etc. ... and know that they can safely navigate the waters. Alternate plan: water balloons or a busted fire hydrant. Any water-related activity will bring hours of joy to both your kids and you.

7. Chores.
This is a win for everyone. Turn it into a competition. Who can fold the most laundry? Sweep the most floors? Organize the most toys? Winner obviously gets something cool, like freshly washed and folded T-shirts ... score!

More from CafeMom: How I Became a Dedicated Follower of 'Lazy Parenting'

8. Toy swap.
This one just might be my favorite. In my household, my son gets excited when he unearths an old toy he hasn't seen or played with in a while (usually during a big cleanup). It can keep him occupied for hours. Make this easy on yourself and quietly find a few toys that your kiddo hasn't played with in a month, pop it in a paper bag, add a bow, and voilà! Not only does he have something new/old to play with, but you also just gave him a gift, which will earn you massive parent points. Alternatively, you can also swap old, neglected toys with friends for even more excitement. Just make sure you're not accidentally giving away your child's favorite lovey that she's slept with every night since she was 2.

 

Image via iStock.com/Marilyn Nieves

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