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Summer is a time we all look forward to all year long to let go of all the routine in our daily life. Kids definitely enjoy the summer more than adults. It is the time of the year where they can run free and get messy. The beach is an ideal place to be with any child. The sand, water, seashells, and pebbles are the best tools for a child’s sensory development, creativity, and motor skills. But if you are one of the unfortunate mothers who has to spend a large portion of the summer vacation in the city, keeping your kids busy and entertained can be a challenge!
There are plenty of activities you can do with your child depending on their age, and your time. Try to come-up with a list of activities that suit your kids and put them in a jar or box in 2 categories: Outdoor Activities & Indoor Activities. Whenever there is an opportunity, whether the kids are with you at home or with someone else, let them take a random piece of paper and discover the activity for the day. This is in itself a game. They will be looking forward to do a project or a play a game everyday.
If you have an outdoor area at home, whether it is a garden, a roof, or a balcony, there are plenty you can do with your child. Not only, will they be enjoying the summer sun, but also it will be less messy inside the house. Take a look at these suggestions and add your own to your box.
– Fill a tray with bird seeds or rice and put it outdoors for the birds to eat from it. The kids can watch them from inside or outside the house and make a log of how many birds came to eat that day. You can also let them use binoculars and make a bird-watching game.
– Take your indoor plant pots out in the balcony and let your children do the gardening. Watering the plants with different gardening utensils, picking out the dry leaves, and wiping the surface of the leaves with damp cotton teaches the kids a lot about their environment.
– Get out a small swimming pool for the little ones and put water toys or plastic cups for them to enjoy the water and the sun. Let them pour water to and from different sizes of containers to teach them about sizes, shapes, and colors.
– Bubbles are an old time favorite for kids of all ages. Instead on buying ready made bubbles, let your kids make them. Mix 1/2 cup dish detergent, 2 liters water, and 1tb spoon Glycerin for the solution (keeping it for 24 hours will make the bubbles stay longer). Use old bubble wands, funnels, the outside of old pens and colors, or even big loops (hoola-hoop) can make different size bubbles.
– Fly a kite with your child.
– Make a picnic in your garden, or balcony. Prepare disposable feeding utensils, juice, fruits, and sandwiches in a basket. Take out an old tablecloth or mat in the balcony and sit and eat with your child. You can also bring colors, books and some music. Kids love pretend play.
– Get a plain T-shirt and some paint, and brushes, and let your child create his own designs. Place a mat or old bed-sheets on the balcony floor so you don’t make a mess. Younger kids can finger paint and use their hands and feet to create different designs. They will love the mess and develop their senses.
– Get some shaving cream and spray it on a cardboard and let your child use their fingers and any plastic spoons or straws to make shapes, letters or drawings.
There is no doubt about it, kids at home can be a handful. Engaging your children with structured activities not only keep them entertained, but also improves their skills and confidence. Expect a little mess, so try to keep it under control by letting them do these activities in the kitchen or own room so you don’t stress over valuables.
– Make a mural by placing large cardboard on the wall in their room and let them unleash their artistic skills. Provide stickers, crayons, rulers, and chalk for a variety of textures.
– Build statues and figurines out of cooked pasta, jelly beans, marshmallows, toothpicks, and aluminum foil. Raw pasta can also be colored and used to make frames on paper, and jewelry with threads and strings.
– Make a puzzle by cutting up a picture from old magazines. Each child can cut a different picture and give to someone else to try and complete it. They can make it harder every time by cutting them in larger numbers.
– Create a memory scrapbook using photos of different events that took place this year. The children can color, cut, paste, and write their memories.
– Hide a box with plastic jewelry, play money, candy or anything you find suitable. Put some notes in different parts of the house with clues leading to the "treasure." Kids can go all day trying to collect as many clues for their treasure hunt game. They will be thrilled to finally find it in the end!
– Using simply a tape recorder, a microphone and an empty tape, ask your child to make you a hit album. They can improvise how to come up with the music, lyrics, and they will love to perform. It will keep them busy for hours. You can also ask them to make an album cover.
– Plant a garden of different seed on damp cotton in trays.
– For older children 10+ and teenagers, try to arrange for a summer job. If you have a private business or know of a friend who does, this would be a great opportunity for them to learn a lot. You can also ask the school if they need any volunteers during the summer.
– Cooking is a great activity that kids enjoy. Engage your little ones with simple cooking recipes. Try some of these recipes:
· Mix yoghurt and cooked rice for a light fresh summer lunch.
· Make tiny pizzas using pre-packed dough from the super market. Kids can put the tomato sauce and different toppings of their choice.
· Mix 1 cup yoghurt, 1 cup whipping cream, fruits and cereal for a yummy desert.
· Make fruit popsicles by bending fruit juice, fresh fruit, and yoghurt. Pour them in Popsicle holders and freeze. You can also use ice cube trays and toothpicks for tiny portions, or paper cups and straws if you don’t have Popsicle holders.
There are plenty of other activities to do in the city. Keep an eye on local events whether there are performances, new appropriate movies, activity centers, or summer schools nearby. Learning a new hobby like playing a musical instrument or sport is fun for most children from a young age. Try to arrange play dates for your children in or out of the house, and cooperate with other parents by taking turn driving each others’ kids to and from outings, and watching them. Letting children decide what they want to do is also very important. Ask them to put their thinking hats on and make a list of things they would enjoy doing. Unleash your kid’s creativity!
"Creative and artistic are not the same thing. Creativity is an approach to life. Creative thinkers know that problems have many different solutions."