My son struggles with unstructured time — he fares okay for a while, but too long without a guided activity and he can become unhinged. So on weekends, he and I keep busy.
Usually I suggest the outings, but occasionally he will stride into the room and announce “swingset”, “swimming pool” , or, if he just going stir crazy, “red car”, which is his all-purpose way of saying that he doesn’t want to be where he is. In the summer, parks and playgrounds are our usual destinations, and we’ll sometimes hit two or three in a row. In the “rainy season” we have to get a little more creative, but we’ve cultivated a stable of indoor activities, from roller skating to trampoline parks to the Seattle Aquarium.
Sunday morning is grocery shopping, one of his favorite activities. Even if we don’t need anything we go for the sake of the routine. I send him to fetch various items and five times out of six they wind up in our cart instead of that of a stranger. For his service he earns the Juice Squeeze of his choice, although he invariably chooses pomegranate.
Recently his activity of choice has been “walk around the neighborhood”. This is something he and I started doing after his elopement: we wander around for a bit and then I ask him to guide us home. He usually does so without error, leading us to believe that he could probably find his way home if lost, assuming he ever thought to do so. (Just to cover our bases, he is also now the proud owner of a MedAlert bracelet.)
Checking out a book from our neighborhood Little Free Library.
Though our plans change from week to week, one thing remains constant: although I have to rouse him at for school at 8 on weekdays, and again at 8:20, he usually bursts into our room before 7 on Saturdays and Sundays, ready for the whatever the day holds. We do many different activities on the weekends, but sleeping in is not among them.