Activity Tips for Keeping Kids Busy This Summer

It’s summer! The kids are out of school, ready to keep busy and have fun. Fortunately the list of summerÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½activities seems endlessâÂ?¦ or does it?

Don’t despair. Here is a list of 13 summer kid tips that goes beyond taking the typical trip to the park and playing with the hose in the backyard. With a little bit of creativity, you can spark the imagination that runs wild in kids, keep them busy, and make this summer filled with activities they will always remember.

Summer Kid Tip #1- Collection container: Find a special container, preferably something small and see-through. It could be a glass spice jar, a mason jar, a tupperware container, even a small jelly jar. Any small finds can go into the “collection container”. The treasures should be small enough to provide maximum aesthetic interest. Buttons, small pebbles, paper clips and tacks are just a few things hidden around the house waiting to be found. Kids love to move the jar around like a kaleidoscope, examining their every discovery.

Summer Kid Tip #2- Mounds of goo: Forget the rainy-day play dough. Arm yourself with a can of shaving cream and spray globs of it into a shallow cardboard box. Let the kids squish, mash, and spread it as they wish, then hose them down. The soap disintegrates almost instantly, leaving you with little mess and the kids sparkling clean and ready for their next adventure!

Summer Kid Tip #3- Tom Sawyer: Painting the house or the fence is usually a project considered off limits to children. Foster their inner ego by filling buckets with water and let them use paintbrushes to “paint” the fence or house. They’ll feel important when they see their creations on the “forbidden surfaces”, but you won’t bear the burden of having to clean up the mess.

Summer Kid Tip #4- Obstacle course: Find chairs, stools, rope, hula hoopsâÂ?¦ anything that can be used to put together an obstacle course. Be creative. Encourage movement over, under, through and around. When they’ve mastered the course, switch it around and let them go again. Entertaining siblings? Put together two courses side-by-side and let them race.

Summer Kid Tip #5- Little Treasures: Take a walk, but before you leave, give the little ones a small bag, preferably with handles, to hold little “treasures”. Walking through the neighborhood or to the park takes on a new sense of amazement as children find special pebbles, coins or even small toys along the way. The smallest of finds can be transferred to the “collection container” when you come home.

Tip: A nature hunt is just as fun and offers a science lesson as well. Acorns, seed pods and interesting shaped and colored leaves and flowers are fun for kids to find and can double as a craft-making adventure. Have construction paper and glue on hand at home for kids to make collages with their special nature finds.

Summer Kid Tip #6- Flower power: Enlist the help of your troops to find colorful flowers around the yard. Have the kids arrange the flowers on a piece of paper, on top of a sturdy surface. Cover the flowers with wax paper and tape down. Let the kids use a hammer to pound away, crushing the flower petals onto the page. Geraniums work very well for this project, as they transfer a lot of color. Leave the page as is with the transferred color, or use crayons, markers or watercolors to finish off the masterpiece.

Summer Kid Tip #7- Field trip: Aside from the local park, other interesting places for children to visit include: the zoo, the firehouse, the airport, the pet store, the train station, the Fresno State agriculture department (dairy, animal pens, and produce store) and local museums. Pack a picnic lunch to share afterwards and talk about the best part of the visit.

Summer Kid Tip #8- Books are knowledge: Check with your local library and bookstore, or better yet, the C.C. Parents Magazine for summertime storytelling program schedules. Many libraries and bookstores offer weekly readings for children, often accompanied with a craft or snack.

Summer Kid Tip #9- Crafty kids: Local hobby stores, craft stores and hardware stores usually offer weekly craft projects for kids for a nominal fee, sometimes at no charge. Pick up a calendar from the stores to see what fits in with your schedule.

Summer Kid Tip #10- ABC- I see you!: With your child, put together 26 pages of paper, bound with 2 sheets of construction paper. Boldly mark each page with a letter of the alphabet. Look through old magazines for pictures starting with each letter and collage each page with pictures.

Summer Kid Tip #11- Family memories: On a similar note, buy a small photo album. Let the kids root through old unused family photos and create their own album of pictures. This project is especially meaningful to kids both young and older.

Summer Kid Tip #12- Beads, buttons and baubles: Even something as simplistic as stringing beads and buttons on string or through pipe cleaners can entertain children for hours. Focus on colors and patterns. Make necklaces, bracelets and bookmarks.

Summer Kid Tip #13- Postcards from the Edge: Write friends and family from around the country and the world requesting a postcard from their homeland. Enlist help from the internet and the library to write chambers of commerce to obtain postcards from as many states and countries as possible. Put stickers on a map showing where the postcards have come from. Not only do kids love gettting mail, but this serves as an ongoing summer project and a built-in geography lesson as well.

Summer vacation doesn’t have to be a bore. Using these tips and getting a little creative with day to day activities will foster an endless supply of enthusiasm in the kids and make this summer one to remember!

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