Can't speak for anyone else but I hear Alice Cooper every year when my kids and their friends go to their final day of school, more energized then ever, antsy to have the day start so it could finish and then they are out for summer.
Man I miss that -- bit jealous always of my teacher friends who have it too - the idea that I could have a whole summer off. I am a high energy person, not quite hyper, so that would include keeping busy but it would also include doing a bunch of nothing except pleasurable things, like reading, beach going, travel, painting, writing. Doing those things without wondering what chore, work thing or commitment I needed to get to.
For those of us that are parents in this day and age we are also told about the planning we have to do for our kids. I do not mean for wee ones that need actual caretakers, I mean for every age group living under our roof. After all we cannot have kids do ... brace yourselves ... NOTHING.
Yet isn't nothing, no schedule, what we as adults look at them longingly for having during this time? I mean none of us see the last day of summer and think "man if I was kid I hope my parents made sure I was busy every nanosecond of every day until school starts." No we look at them and wish we too could have that break to do what we want. Now what we fill that time with might differ from what our kids want but to me the possibilities and pure lazy days of summer as a kid are part of the magic of being a kid.
These kids are kept busy throughout the year and this is not a good or bad thing, it is just the way parenting happens for those who have the ability to put kids into activities. For those that do not, their kids still have some schedule. If parents care for their children, focus on being there for their kids they should all grow up to be in pretty good shape.
Summer though - I remember it well. My dad was fond of giving me some math problems to do every day, eye roll even now and sorry dad they did not make me like math more, I had assigned summer reading lists for good part of my school years and then I had a few chores each day. Beyond that my parents worked and I was not tethered like my kids since I lived in New York. In a borough that allowed me free roam within in and out of it to the City without parental supervision.
You know what we did for a good part of it, my friends and I, not much. We went to the public pool, where you had to watch your towel and your money as this was New York in it's high crime, low quality of life era. We walked around aimlessly. We played video games in candy stores, where people smoked. We hung out in alleyways and parks. When younger we played kickball, tag and some other things until dinner, where you gobbled and then ran back down, until streetlights came on and then you begged for "just a little while longer". You were hot and sometimes someone opened a fire hydrant so you can cool down. We also went to the movies, and paid for one movie, but often saw several in the movie theater (it was air conditioned and no one checked or cared I think). We sat in homes and watched some tv. Overall though we did not do those things that we seem to expect our kids to do these days. Keep a schedule being top of the list.
I know some people went to camps, day or sleep away, I did not grow up in a neighborhood like that. Your parents may have shipped you off to relatives in Europe, but there you did a lot of the above stated only in a different land. We went to the beach when we got older, on subways, sweating as we stuck to plastic seats on our way, until we had cars. If you were in Europe you did whatever it was that kids there did, but again not much of a schedule. We went on vacations with our parents, or weekends at Jones Beach, Robert Moses or Sunken Meadow.
So this summer I thought I would let my own kids figure out how to be bored, not have as many scheduled things, and get to do whatever they do these days to be entertained. I figured I and most of the people I grew up with are doing ok. They have some scheduled camps, some vacation with us and a bunch of let's play it by ear.
I gave them the summer I think as an adult I miss from when I was a kid. They have a lifetime to be "productive" and only a short while to live without the responsibililties of adulthood.
Do what you think is right for your kids always but once in a while it is ok to let that be letting them enjoy the luxury of being a kid ... especially in the summer.
Happy summer off kids ..