We have all likely reached that stir crazy point of the global pandemic where we just need to get some excitement in our lives. Now that the school year (however different it was) has come to an end – it is officially summertime! While this summer may not bring all of the adventurous, fun opportunities that kids and parents both crave, there are still things that you can do to have fun. Even better if these fun things can also keep young minds active and sharp right!?
Today let’s talk about 4 things that parents can plan to keep our young one’s bodies and minds active this summer.
#1 – Tide Pools/Nature Learning
Have you taken your children to tide pools recently? Not only is it a fun adventure, but there are numerous learning opportunities that can take place with a trip to the tide pool.
Tide pools not your thing? Try taking your children on a hike or a nature walk. Of course, go early in the morning to avoid the harsh California sun! You can do things during your walk such as “I Spy,” a nature scavenger hunt, or simply writing a journal entry based on the sights and sounds of the walk.
Concentrate on one of the senses for the walk and have your child journal about it. “What did you see,” “what kinds of things did you hear,” and “what were some of the different textures you were able to feel?” are good questions to have them answer.
#2 – Home Science Camp
If your favorite summer camp is closed, try bringing the camp to your home to keep young minds active! Pinterest is flooded with lots of kid-friendly science activities, many only requiring simple ingredients. You can even have your children browse the internet with you and find science experiments that interest them.
If you are looking for a little more instruction and guidance, the site Home Science Tools has both curriculum workbooks as well as any supplies needed to carry out your science learning at home!
#3 – LEGO Challenge
If your kids are into LEGO like mine are, summer time is a great time for sparking creativity and problem-solving skills by giving your children a daily or weekly challenge with LEGO building. Multiple children can work together as a team, or children can create individually and having a judging competition at the end of the day/week (all in good fun of course)!
Ideas for LEGO challenges include prompts to design a: house/building, animal, robot, vehicle, bridge, boat, catapult…the ideas are endless! The important thing is to keep young minds active and inspire them to use their creative thinking to solve a specific task.
#4 – Book Of The Week
At our house we love to read, and summertime allows us a little extra time to add some fun twists to reading time. To start this summer, I have selected 8 different books, one for each week, to read and center our weeks around.
Begin each day by reading the book to your children or, if age appropriate, having them read it to you. Using the book as a theme, come up with outings, craft projects, movies/TV shows/documentaries, recipes, and physical activities that center around the characters/setting/idea of the book.
For example, using the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, you could make a paper plate or toilet paper roll mouse as a craft project. You could watch the movie STUART LITTLE and possibly seek out some YouTube videos on learning about mice and rodents. You could work on sequencing activities since the central theme of the book regards the sequence of activities the mouse goes through. You could bake cookies together…and of course eat them too! You could also set up a STEM activity of creating a mouse trap out of a certain set of given items.
The possibilities really are endless with this, but if you need some help getting started check out Pinterest or Google and search for terms such as “book of the week” and “book related activities.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that parents and kids both need a break during the summertime (and even more so this year after the last few months)! But the above ideas are all about combining fun and intellectual engagement. If any of the ideas seem stressful to you as a parent, I highly encourage you to find something that is not.
The summer should be fun and stress free so remember to do what is best for you and your family! HAPPY SUMMER!