Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

This summer (June and July) our blog is all about opportunities for quality time with your children and suggesting boredom busters for kids who have too much time on their hands. We will be posting four lists – Summer Activities List #1 on June 1; Summer Activities List #2 on June 15, Summer Activities List #3 in this post, and Summer Activities List #4 on July 15.  Hope you find many things to enjoy with your kids. Let us know what you like the best (comment section at the end of the blog).

Calling all working moms!

Do you find yourself feeling guilty that your kids have all this extra time on their hands in the summer, and you are at work? Kids are not the best tellers of time. They don’t necessarily focus on whether you have been with them every minute of every day. What they need to know is that they can count on your attention for some part of every day. They need to know that they are so special to you that you are taking part of every day just for them. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.

Calling all stay-at-home moms!

Do you get to your wits end over the summer after you have heard the “b” word (“I’m bored.”) fifty times too many from kids with way too much extra time on their hands? Summer is the best of times for letting your kids know how special they are to you by taking part of every day and making it just about them. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.

Calling all grandparents, daycare providers, and nannies!

You are so important – to the kids and to their parents. Make summertime special for everyone, including yourselves, by planning new and fun things to do with the children you care for. Our lists of summer activities can help you with that.

A word about quality time

Quality time happens when we least expect it, often around the smallest and least expensive events.  You can’t schedule it. It just happens when everyone is fully tuned into each other.

It doesn’t take a lot of time. Instead, it takes a lot of small moments. Be prepared for a “magical” moment when doing any of the things in our lists. As long as you are fully tuned into your child, you and your child may make an amazing connection.  You’ll learn something really important about him.  She will show you how important you are to her.  Your hearts will connect.

Summer Activities List #3 

(Items 1 – 14 can be found at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1. Items 15-30 can be found at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2).

31.  Let’s create “My World.”
 Do a “My World” art project with your child. Use whatever type of art your child likes – drawing, sculpting, painting, dancing, singing, photographing, etc.). 54 Sidebar 1The idea is:

1.  Your child should be at the center of the “world” being created;

2.  The “world” should include who and what is most important in your child’s day-to-day life;

3.  The “world” should show how those important people and things look next to your child – are they close, far away, big, small, bright, faded, etc.?

4.  Be sure to display the finished product.

32.  Let’s read without using words. Go to the library and ask the librarian where to look for books without words. You can ask to see some by Barbara Lehman or David Wiesner as a start. When you tell your child the story represented by the pictures in the books, use words, character names, and details that are familiar to your child. On some pages you can ask your child to tell you what is happening and help tell the story.

33. Let’s wheel away. Plan a “wheels parade.”  Gather neighborhood kids with their bikes, big wheels, scooters, wagons, skates, and anything with wheels.  Let them decorate their wheels (colored paper, ribbons, poster, flowers, balloons, etc.) and then parade around the neighborhood.

54 Sidebar 234.  Let’s celebrate. Celebrate something important related to the country you live in or the culture you are part of. For example, celebrate the Fourth of July (Independence Day) in the U.S. Enjoy your celebration to the fullest, but remember special days are not always “perfect.” But, even when events aren’t prefect, they can still create wonderful memories. At the end of the day, be sure to talk over all that was good about it.

35.  Let’s go past “GO.”  Create a MYopoly board. MYopoly is your very own personal monopoly game. Make up your own monopoly board where all the properties fit a topic your child is interested in. For example, for younger children, all the spaces could be “treat” shops around where you live (ice cream, candy, cupcakes, etc.) or all the parks and types of play equipment (jungle gyms, swings, etc.). For older children, the spaces could be baseball properties – like ballparks around the country and the transportation to get there (trains, planes, or busses) or the properties in your neighborhood (houses where their friends live, stores, parks, etc.) Use your imagination. Draw the board and make (or collect) tokens that fit the theme.

36.  Let’s play “Sound Alikes.” Take turns thinking up words that sound alike but have different meanings. For example, “dear” and “deer.” Or, “see” and “sea.” Once two “sound alikes” are suggested, continue adding more, if you can think of them – like add “C” to “see” and “sea.” By the way, these are called “homonyms.”

37.  Let’s plan a party. Plan to celebrate your pet’s birthday or day of arrival to the family. 36 Sidebar 2If you don’t have a pet right now, make plans for what the day will be like when a pet is added to your family. Consider the needs of the pet when you plan your celebration. Make sure the activities and the food are all good for the pet. Remember that people food is often not good for pets, and certain types of play (for example, fish out of water or birds out of cages) can be bad for a pet.

38.  Let’s play “What If.” Play “What If” about “not so good” situations. You can play it anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. It takes no equipment other than brains and willingness to use them. Ask a “What If” question and take turns answering it. For example, “What if you and your brother were really, really mad at each other? Or, “What if it rained almost everyday on our vacation at the beach?” By listening to your child’s answers you can learn how well prepared he is for difficult situations. By offering your own answers you can make sure your child has heard some good ways to handle those situations. It is important that you do not “correct” your child’s answers. Instead, set some rules ahead of time. For example, “Your answers cannot include anything that would hurt another person or thing.”

31 Sidebar 1b39  Let’s have a 4:00 party. Have a tea party. Try to follow the old-fashioned “rules.” You can find them on the Internet or at the library. Be sure to talk about “manners” for tea parties – for example, how to set the table, serve the food, and use “please” and “thank you.” You can invite other kids and adults or just dolls and stuffed animals. Don’t forget to include the boys. No reason they and their superheroes can’t attend. By the way, the “proper” time for tea is 4:00 pm. But, if you can’t arrange your party for that time, have fun with the fact that it is 4:00 somewhere else in the world. For example, it is 4:00 pm in Rome, Italy at 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.

40.  Let’s go-a hunting. Plan a scavenger hunt. 54 Sidebar 3The younger children may need it to be in their house or yard. Older children could have it be throughout the neighborhood. Also for older kids, you can have them use their camera to take a picture of what is on the scavenger hunt. This makes it possible to use more interesting things even though they can’t be disturbed or moved – like a green car, an oak tree, a blooming rose, sleeping cat, or a for sale sign.

41.  Let’s do “Doing” art.  Make a list of things your child can do by himself. Come to an agreement about the things he thinks he can do and things you think he can do. Let your child draw a picture for each thing on the list. A picture can be as detailed or as simple as your child wants (and is able) to make it. He can use pencils, crayons, paints, cut out pieces of paper, pictures from magazines – whatever type of art your child likes. For example, a shoe can represent him being able to tie his shoes or a big smile that he can brush his teeth. For younger children, you can be a helper. Have your child tell you what he wants to have on the page, and you can do the drawing. Attach the pictures together to make a “book.” Make each drawing be a separate page. Have fun giving the book a name. Be sure to share it with friends and family. You can also keep it and add to it over time.

42.  Let’s show off. Blog9 Sidebar1Help your child organize and perform a “kids show” with kids from the neighborhood. Younger kids may need you to be the director, come up with the plan, and help them rehearse. Older kids can develop their own plans and get ready. If they need help, you can offer to set up a place for the show and notify an audience (other parents and neighbors). The show can be as simple or involved as you want. If you want to make it very real, the kids can even make tickets and snacks. Clap and celebrate at the end. Tell each kid why you are clapping – you loved his song … her dance made you feel happy … he made you laugh … she had such a great smile.

43.  Let’s get prepared. Help your child make his own Boo-Boo kit. This is a collection of things he can use to help himself when he gets hurt. It is not to replace the family first-aid kit. It is something extra to encourage your child to be responsible and confident about  taking care of himself as he grows older.

1.  Pick out a container. It could be plastic, cardboard, cloth, or even a paper bag. Let your child decorate it with crayons, markers, or paint. Make sure he can open and close it easily.

2.  Work together to find things to put in the Boo-Boo kit. Make sure they are safe things that he will be able to use himself if he gets hurt – special band aids, muscle wraps, stuffed animal, a small toy, a book. Don’t put in anything (for example, medicines or creams) that could be dangerous, if he were to get in the kit without you there.

3.  Decide where to put the kit. Make sure he can easily get to it.

While working on this kit together explain what things you think he can do for himself when he is hurt. Remind him that if he were hurt, two people would be ready and glad to take care of him – you and him.

44.  Let’s shoot it. Have a photo shoot. Gather lots of fun things for the kids to wear and stand beside to have their photos taken. Dress-ups will work great for this, but even if the kids have grown out of their own dress-up clothes, you can find some things in your closets for them to use. You can also use places to create fun pictures like under a chair or table in the family room or in a tree in the yard. Be sure to display the pictures afterwards. It can be either a paper display or a digital display.

Items 45 – 62 will be posted on July 15.

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