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Sensational Summer Ideas
For Kids of All Ages

Sensational Summer Ideas - For Kids of All Ages

For those who have children, summertime can translate into three straight months of everything from nagging complaints of boredom to sibling clashes of legendary proportions. As a parent, there may be nothing worse than playing the role of referee while attempting to carry out your daily routine. But the solution for a symbiotic summer, for you and your kids, may be easier than you think. How about involving them in specific activities that are not only fun, but challenging and educational as well?

If you're feeling a little nervous about the proposition or hard-pressed for ideas, don't worry. We've created a list that just may get your creative juices flowing. The real key, however, is to think about the degree of your involvement. Summertime bonding can be rewarding for parents and kids, but a little autonomy here and there never hurt anyone.

Feel free to adapt these ideas to fit your child's needs or even your own. Just remember to keep it fun! Your children have just spent the last 9 months in school. Not only do they deserve a good time, but if you make their activities seem too much like "school", they'll be primed for a summertime meltdown.

Have your child keep a journal or create a scrapbook. This could range from a simple picture journal for pre-schoolers to a written journal with an occasional photo for older kids.

Topics can be as simple as the school friends they made last year or even who they're hoping will be in their class next year. Other topics could include a movie they want to see, a vacation they want to take, or what they ate that day.

Because journals require some consistency, it's important to set aside time on a somewhat regular basis. Maybe it's in the afternoon and includes the participation of the stay-at-home parent. Or, perhaps it's at night and involves the working parent. This is a nice way to provide a break to the caregiver who's been at it all day.

Journaling entertains and educates simultaneously. It not only helps children with their writing skills, but also their memory, creativity, and time management as well. Don't forget to have them decorate the cover. Make this an annual summertime ritual, and you'll have a lifetime of transformation to reflect on later!

Pick a day of the week to allow your child to plan and prepare dinner. This may sound scary, but it's actually a lot of fun. Let them plan the meal and shop for the ingredients, with your approval and insight of course. Doing otherwise may result in a dinner of Cheerios® with maple syrup!

When the day arrives, let your children assist you with the cooking, table setting, and cleanup. As you're getting ready to cook, have them decide the order in which the food should be prepared. This promotes the use of sequencing foresight, a skill which will only benefit them as they grow older.

Nature Walks
Find some woods near your home or even a tree-lined park. Bring a camera along, as well as a sack for collecting items of interest. Some children even enjoy bringing a book for bird or flower identification. You may also want to include their journal for recording sounds and scents, as well as potential sketches. This is a great time to bond with your children and make some lasting memories. You may be surprised at how they'll reflect back on the nature walks they took with Mom or Dad. Not only that, think about the exposure to science, social studies, and writing your child is experiencing without realizing it!

Map Making
This is a great activity which you can adapt to your child's level. A simple picture map is best if you have a younger child. Older kids can make their maps more complex, and include items such as mileage, street names, speed limits, and stop signs. The ideas are endless. This activity will help children with math skills, writing, foresight, and memory. It also shows them how to see a project through from beginning to end.

Once again, this is a project that may be pursued at night, with the working parent.

Field Trips
Encourage your child to come up with weekly summertime field trips. If there is more than one child in the house, be sure they take turns choosing.

Some great ideas include a fire house or police station to observe the hardworking men and women who serve and protect us each day. Other ideas may include a recycling plant, radio or TV station, or even a restaurant kitchen to see how food is prepared. Be sure to call ahead to obtain information and permission. Many businesses allow tours as long as you provide them with advance notice.

Museum and Library Classes
Did you know that many museums and libraries hold summertime classes on a variety of fun subjects, including photography, electronics, and model building? Minimally priced, these classes are well worth it in terms of your child's education and fun. In addition, they enable kids to figure out their interests and achieve on their own terms. While offerings vary, the classes usually last a couple hours a day, two to three days a week. Just imagine all of things you can get done while your child is realizing their potential!

In general, today's kids exercise far less than they should. Summertime provides a perfect opportunity to turn this around. The key is to keep it fun. One way to do this is to integrate exercise into their play. Take them to the park or the beach. You could also enroll them in swimming lessons. For older kids, see if they're interested in advanced swimming or diving lessons. Another option is to set up a basketball hoop or a soccer goal in your backyard. The main idea is to show them how fun it is to play outside.

Summertime comes and goes and so does childhood. It's important to realize that the chance to spend summer vacation with your kids will eventually pass you by. Live in the present, and make your child's summer fun for everyone, including you. Besides, creating memories that will last your kids forever is the single best thing about being a parent.

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