Thursday, June 24, 2010

11 Ideas to Keep Young Minds Active During Summer Months - Enriching Children Guestpost 
Text by Dr. Mary Zurn, Primrose Schools
Photos by Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert

1. Boredom Buster Jar  At the beginning of summer, sit down with your family and brainstorm a list of activities that can be done alone or together.  Encourage children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar  Next, write everyone's ideas down on paper and as a group decide which ones go in the jar.  Then, when the summertime blues appear, kids can pull an idea out of this Boredom Buster Jar.

2. Stories Alive  It sounds too simple, but reading is one of the most important ways to keep young minds engaged during the summer.  Make reading more fun by finding ways to bring the stories to life.  For example, in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, children create a make-believe town in the desert out of rocks, boxes, and their imaginations.  Read the book with your children and then challenge
them to create their own town with materials they find in the yard.

3. Art Start Box  Gather basic art supplies-child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty oatmeal boxes and paper towel rolls, colorful magazines and bits of aluminum foil. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there's always something new for the children to discover. 

4. Family Performances  Break out old clothes, costumes, and unwanted fashion accessories, as well as pots and pans and other household objects to use as musical instruments, and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out or have a parade.  Record or video the performances, and enjoy the replay together.  You'll also be capturing a bit of family history everyone will enjoy for years to come.

5. Family Dance Party  Crank up the music and encourage your entire family to boogie down.  Dancing not only expends pent-up energy, it  gives children a great outlet for self-expression through their own motion and helps build self-esteem. It also enhances motor and coordination by incorporating skills like jumping, landing and leaping.  Best of all, dancing is a great activity that can involve the whole family and doesn't take very much
6. Fort Building  Children love to build all kinds of structures--from small towns to large towers.  Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours.  All the items you need can be found around the house -- some chairs, cushions, blankets, and of course adult supervision.

7. Cookbook Fun  Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children?  Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try.  Measuring can be a
fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.  Remember, to include adult supervision whenever kids are in the kitchen.

8. Summer Scrapbook  All you need for this project is a spiral notebook.  Encourage
everyone in the family to draw pictures of favorite activities and collect mementos from special events all summer. Children love to go back through scrapbooks to recall their memories.  They will also be building their storytelling skills at the same time.

9. Listening Game  Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen.  What do you hear?  Do you hear what I hear?  Can you imitate the sound?  This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening.
10. Camping Out  Pretend to camp out in the backyard. Plan a meal, pack a backpack and set up a campsite. You might even decide to spend the night!

11. Scavenger Hunt  Make a list or picture cards of common household items and have your children find the items on the list.  Invite friends or neighbors to join in the fun to make it a competition.

For more info on Dr. Zurn visit 
and Primrose Schools

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, for sure. Engaging kids minds during summer really is so, so important.