By Vicki Little
Summer is here, which means you have approximately five minutes before you begin hearing the dreaded, “I’m so bored, Mom!” While it seems easier to just let our children veg in front of video games, we know this is the first step down the summer slide of learning loss. Every day doesn’t need to be filled with lesson plans and reading. There are plenty of fun things you can do that will keep your child happy, boredom-free, and most importantly, engaged in learning. These 6 activities to enrich your children’s summer are easy and inexpensive, and they add the bonus of family bonding time as well.
- Earn Scout badges. You don’t have to be a Scout to get the majority of the badges… and you don’t really need them anyway. But the Scouts have enough ideas to keep your children engaged and learning for many summers. There are a ton of great Boy Scout ideas at boyscouttrail.com, and each activity is grouped into one of more than 120 areas of interest. The Girl Scout journeys are a bit harder to find online, but a quick Pinterest search yields a few activities Girl Scouts enjoy for a given area of interest.
- Take advantage of programs. Most people tend to just visit the zoo or museum and wander around looking at whatever interests them. But these places have many activities that will engage your family for a longer time period as well, and they are full of information to teach new facts and ideas. Simply visit the visitor center when you first arrive and ask about what programs they offer for the day or if they have any self-guided (or guided) tours available. If you want to add an extra level of learning, you can have your kids make a book about the fun things they learned.
- Learn something new. My son loves to take pictures, and I have always thought it would be so much fun to take a photography course together. Not only would we both learn something new, but we would also bond and enjoy time together in the process. Find something that you can learn with your children, maybe how to swim or ice skate or even cook. Many local recreation centers and libraries have inexpensive classes for both adults and children.
- Create a comic book together. Get creative with your kids and make your own small book together. You can either both write and illustrate or one person can write while the other does the drawing — whatever works for you! This would be great as a long-term project that you can pull out when things get a bit boring or everyone is too tired to go on another adventure.
- Play games. Good old-fashioned games like Payday and Monopoly, Life or even CandyLand. These games are filled with learning opportunities. Let your child try their hand at being the banker or counting the spaces for you. Play outside under a tree and enjoy the fresh air. Try to steer clear from the video games, though.
- Geocaching. It is called the world’s largest scavenger hunt and that is just what it is! Sign up on geocaching.com and download the app for your phone and then begin searching for millions of little trinklets worldwide. This is something you can do even when you are on vacation, which is a great way to find hidden spots that the locals enjoy visiting.
Do you have any fun enrichment activities you do with your children during the summer?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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