I have heard it said that summer is about two to four weeks too long for most parents of school-aged children. The first few weeks feel like blessed freedom from the structured routine of the school day—get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to school, come home from school, do homework, eat dinner, go to bed. Repeat.

Even now, I remember that break from routine–surely partly because former teachers like myself have a similar experience. But there always came a time when I was bored, bored, bored. I had exhausted my energy in doing all of the things I loved to do—those things I never felt I had time for during the school year—and was always aching to do something challenging, exciting, or new.

One summer at our cottage in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, I reached that point. Even the bat on the back porch that my dad tried to trap no longer fascinated me. The guitar that my mom brought with her sat quietly in the corner of the living room and I decided that I would teach myself to play it. I am a “give her a book and she can learn to do almost anything” kind of person, so teaching myself the guitar with the beginner’s music book we had fit my learning style. For the remainder of the week there, I learned a few chords and played a few easy songs, but more importantly, I was no longer bored.

Today, it strikes me that summer is a wonderful time to try new things just for the sheer joy of learning. This week’s trio of CatholicsRead resources for children and families is all about trying something new as we approach the middle of summer.

For the artistic children in your life, Catholic Book Publishing’s St. Joseph Paint Book on the Mass is an innovative activity book that will appeal to children’s creativity and teach them about the Mass. Paint palettes on the inside front and back covers provide enough colors for 16 individual illustrations—just add water.

If you are looking to build a little structure into your child’s life for their religious education, try out Magnificat’s MagnifiKid. This weekly subscription starts in September and will enhance your child’s participation at Mass and increase their knowledge and understanding of the Faith with a colorful Sunday Missalette and prayer guide for ages 6–12.

For teen readers in your house, introduce them to Whitefire Publishing’s Brother Wolf by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson. This Catholic adventure novel is about heroine Athene Howard who encounters a clairvoyant Dominican postulant, a stern nun, and a recusant English nobleman embarked on a quest for a feral Franciscan werewolf. Can Athene and her newfound compatriots battle against the ruthless forces of darkness that howl for the overthrow of civilization and the devouring of so many wounded souls?

Any one of these resources can help the kids in your life beat summer boredom.




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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.

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