Dog Days of Summer Essay Contest

Need inspiration for the Dog Days of Summer Essay Contest? Check out this example essay from one of our KIDBOX moms. Head to to submit!

I try to keep them as busy as possible in the summer. No matter how many camps and clubs I sign my kids up for, they still seem to come home with more energy than they left with. I had idyllic summers growing up in the Midwest. We would ride our bikes to the pool at 10am, and ride home before the streetlights went on. My kids barely know how to walk home from school without getting lost. We live in Manhattan, which is a grid system, so maybe their lack of direction is on me. Either way, they can’t ride their bike to the pool, or go to a pool. I don’t even know where a pool is in this city. 

When we’re all home keeping them occupied is my only goal, aside from the greater goal of keeping my house clean and my valuables unbroken. In these moments I hone the skills I learned being a camp counselor (isn’t all life just practice for being a mom?) and remember the trickery I used to keep them busy with literally anything. 

The greatest trick I have up my sleeve is Bird Watching. I know what you must be thinking, are you trying to turn your kids into retirees trying out a new hobby? The simple answer: yes I am. The first time I took them Bird Watching (I am capitalizing Bird Watching because it is a proper noun in our house) I made it a big to-do. I kept saying that I had something really exciting planned. When I told them we were going Bird Watching they kind of gave me a blank look. It was the same look they gave me when I took them to sushi for the first time, but guess who loves sushi now, my children!

I told them to research some birds that they might see, a small task that I hoped would give me enough time to shower and get ready, and by “get ready” I, of course, mean change from one pair of leggings to another. I had assumed that they would be playing games on their iPads at this point, but to my surprise, they were still looking at birds. I packed a bag with water bottles for them and a Diet Coke and book for me, in the off chance I could relax. We were at the park for four hours while they looked for birds, and wrote what they saw in their journals. Better yet, I finished the book I had been reading for months. They had so much fun that day, Bird Watching has become our go-to activity on days off. It’s the perfect activity, they’re engaged, I’m relaxed, and the fresh air puts them right to bed when we get home.

I guess the moral of this story is, you never know what your kids will love, so try Bird Watching or dog watching or people watching. I assure you they’ll probably like it.