Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun and Educational Summer Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”(Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).

1. Prioritize- what are your family’s goals this summer? Don’t over schedule.

2. Make Your Rules- Limit TV, video games, set expectations for chores and responsibilities.

3. Schedule It- Kids do well with structure and knowing what they can expect. They also do well with knowing that there can be flexibility sometimes. Make a visual schedule they can follow, using pictorial cues if necessary.

· Hold family board game Olympics

· Plant a garden, use as a learning opportunity, have a plant journal

· Clip, paste and write about family adventures

· Have children organize a puppet show or a play

· Do a science experiment

· Visit a craft store and pick out a project

· Find a community service project they can participate in

· Walk dogs at a local animal shelter

· Plan an educational trip to the beach: clean up litter, look for wildlife, observe the tide, comb the beach, experiment with homemade kites, time the waves

· Have your child find ways the family can become more earth conscious

· Assign your child as junior travel agent and let them help plan a trip

· Get a small group together and go on a field trip to a farm, grocery store, or factory.

· Fill an old box with stationary, stickers, stamps, and fun pens, write letters or color pictures for friends and family

· Plan a theme night dinner based on a favorite book

· Build boats out of materials around the house, using a play pool, experiment with what floats, discuss why, hold contests to see whose boat can float the longest.

· Fill up spray bottles for a game of water tag

· Turn on the sprinkler and let kids practice different jumps and dance moves as they run through the water;

· Set up a backyard summer Olympics (water balloon shot put, hula hoops, crab-walking race)

· Participate in a library summer reading program

· Create a reader’s notebook as a way to document favorite lines or words in books, a list of books read, a list of books to read, dreams they ha

· Create a writer’s notebook: document funny things that happen, dreams, pet peeves, story ideas, words you like, memories, favorites lists, inspirations, mind pictures, etc.

· Plan a party inspired by a favorite book

· Chocolate pudding finger painting

· Put in ear plugs and let kids have a Pots and Pans Band

· Fill a bucket with soapy water and sponges and let kids hold a bike-wash

· Make a list and send kids on a nature scavenger hunt

· Have a dinosaur dig, make a sand, mud, water combination, mix in small plastic dinosaurs, and let dry out in the sun for a day, then let kids excavate.

· Send kids on a digital picture camera scavenger hunt

· Use old magazines and let kids make a collage

· Have a home spa (manicures, pedicures, yoga to nature music)

· Give a sewing lesson and make a bean bag, hair tie, or purse.

· Create a daily schedule and put it on paper, so your kids can follow it

· Build an obstacle course

· Have a backyard treasure hunt,

· Create a chore chart

· Help your child plan and develop a business: lemonade stand, bake sale, car wash,

· Start a collection

· Read together

· Homemade play dough

· Give your child a small budget and plan a bedroom renovation

· Create a craft binder (from magazines) kids can flip through to choose from

· Start a postcard collection: write family and friends and ask them to contribute a postcard from their hometown.

· Let your children plan and make dinner

· Make tin can ice cream

· Sleep outside, look at stars and find constellations, tell stories, listen to nighttime noises, talk about the phases of the moon.

· Hold a “manners” tea party

· Let your child plan family home evening

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