It doesn’t matter if your kids are 2, 5, or 8 years old, eventually they’ll all say these common phrases – “I’m bored, there’s nothing good on TV” or “I’m tired of my old toys, I want new ones”, or my favorite which I’ve actually heard my niece say to her parents, ” How come my friends parents are so much more fun?”. Kids. They’re pretty funny stuff but what are you gonna do, right? They’re full of energy, imagination, and curiosity and sometimes their attention span just don’t last as long. So I’ve come up with a few fun and creative activities for kids to do this summer. These activities are best suited for children ages 3-10 but you can modify it to fit any age.
1- The Ice Race. Similar to the egg and spoon race except you use ice cubes. Take crushed ice and put it in a plastic sandwich bag. If you’re concerned about the impact plastic has on the environment, use a cheesecloth instead: Simply put crushed ice in the middle of a cheesecloth, fold the ends up into a bag and tie it up. Then give a bag of ice to each child and have them line up side by side in a row like a race. Have the kids hold the bag of ice in their palm, hand open and let them race to the finish line. Whoever gets to the finish line without dropping their bag of ice or switching it to the other palm wins. This is pretty fun since it’s really hard to hold onto a bag of ice for any lenth of time. This is also a fun activity when the weather is warmer.
2- Museum Scavenger Hunt. Visit a local museum of your choice. Something that has a specific exhibit will work well with this activity and you might want to go to the museum first to prepare. Make a list of items that your child can find at the museum. And then as he/she goes through the museum, they can check it off the list. To make it interesting, include on your list items that are unusual or funny. You can also include items in the museum’s gift shop. Make sure they get a prize at the end of the scavenger hunt. This activity promotes interest of learning and patience and hopefully they’ll want to return to the museum soon.
3- Park Exploration Day. Visit a local park or a national park and collect anything that’s of interest so that later you and your child can make a scrapbook. Collect leaves of different colors, rocks, feathers, anything you can find (as long as it’s not garbage :)). This activity helps young minds learn the importance of nature and if you really want the education to go further, let them find out which tree each leaf belongs to, what the names of the rocks are, and what kind of birds do those feathers belong to.
4- Build a project. Go to your local arts and craft store with your child and pick up an unfinished wood furniture (preferably a smaller size that’s suitable for a child). Then grab paint, stickers, feathers, etc. to adorn the wood furniture. Once the project is done, your child can proudly keep it in his/her room or anywhere in the house to use and display. This activity teaches children about self-discipline and imagination. It’s always a great accomplishment when children can build or do a project on their own ( or at least with limited help).
5- Jungle Book. Take your child to the local arts and craft store and pick up some miniature plastic animals, craft glue, and either hard construction paper or poster boards to create a book. You’ll need at least 3 pages. To make the jungle book, cut the paper or poster boards into a 5X8″ size. Punch 3 holes using a hole puncher or awl along the edge of each paper. Using a piece of yarn or string, loop the yarn into the holes and tie off at both ends. It should resemble a book. Then, using craft glue, have your child pick out his favorite animals and glue the animals randomly on each page. There should be at least 3-5 animals on each page. Then, if your child wants to write his own story using the animals as part of the story, let his/her imagination go. Or if they’re too young to write on their own, have them help you think up a story and you can write it for them in the book. This activity teaches imagination and creativity. It also helps teach a young mind the process of storytelling and connecting a story.
All of these activities can really be enjoyed any day or season, not just in the summer. But if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a family vacation or end up spending hundreds of dollars at those theme parks, then give these fun and unique activities a try.