Keeping kids busy during summer break
· Science day – Find some easy age appropriate science experiments to do with .the kids. Use one day each week for experimentation that is fun! You can make alien bubbles with some dry ice and bubble solution or extract DNA from strawberries for starters. Choose experiments that use common household items. Websites like TheHomeSchoolScientist, DiscoverExploreLearn and FunCraftsKidshave lots of creative ideas.
· Craft day – 1) Make your own tie-dye t-shirts. You can also use heat transfer paper to create your own special design for a t-shirt apron. 2) Go on a rock hunting expedition, find unusual shapes with a flat face and paint fun designs on one side and use as a paperweight. 3) Make homemade birdseed ornaments. Take a package of unflavored gelatin and prepare as usual in a saucepan, add birdseed to the mixture, leave the mixture a bit sticky. Pat out on wax paper use a cookie cutter to make the desired shape. Poke a hole through the dried ornament and string with twine.
· Learn a foreign language – Kids learn language so much easier when they are young. Make use of summer vacation to learn the basics of a new language. There are many CDs and DVDs that can be checked out from the library. Make a game out of it and plan a trip to a local restaurant to learn more about the foods that go along with the language you are learning.
· Keep a reading library – Leaders are readers. Cultivate the habit of reading while kids are young will make them more successful in school. Using their imagination when reading is more rewarding than watching TV. Get kids involved in reading biographies and autobiographies to learn more about historical figures and inspiring athletes.
· Go geocaching – Plan a day to learn about outdoor survival skills. Organize a treasure hunt and teach kids how to navigate in the wilderness or neighborhood using a compass. Provide clues and list coordinates to direct them to find their Pirate’s booty. Many city and state parks have geocaching programs you can participate in. Check out geocaching.com to find one near you.
· Don’t be a couch potato – Kids need to be up and moving around over summer break. Use a pedometer or odometer to track how many steps are taken on a hike or on a bike ride. Create a contest to see who can rack up the most miles each week. Provide a special treat for each week’s winner.
· Summer theater – Write a play or a puppet show. Utilize your children’s friends and kids from the neighborhood to create the set and make simple costumes. Work with other parents to find rehearsal times that fit everyone’s schedule. Check out plays from the library to use as a reference tool. Schedule a date to put on the performance in your backyard. Invite friends and family and your neighbors.
· Master chef – Kids love to experiment in the kitchen. Make time to try new recipes together. Get kids involved in menu planning, creating a shopping list, and actually cooking a meal. Try something that has several stages like making pasta noodles or ravioli, rolling sushi, or making tamales.
· Water fight – Summer is the perfect time to host a water fight. Organize the time with your kids and their friends to go to a local park. Use water guns or water balloons as your weapons of choice. Finish off the fight with a make your own sundae bar.
How are you keeping kids busy during summer break? Let me know in the comments!
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at https://kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@