I had a brief conversation with James Smith on twitter and he agreed to contribute some of his writing to my blog so without further ado:
As the summer kicks off many parents, grandparents and doting aunts and uncles are eagerly looking for activities for the kids in their lives. Children and grown-ups alike anticipate the summer months in order to fill them with memories that last a lifetime, but sometimes filling the endless days of summer with something to do can be a daunting task. Listed below are a few ideas that will make your summer a time to bond with your children while having fun, learning and keeping safe. Enjoy!
Bowling – Particularly if summers where you live can be oppressively hot and humid, bowling is an excellent option. Suitable for children and adults of varying skill levels and ages, there is nothing like bowling for a couple of hours and enjoying a simple meal together at the bowling alley. Many bowling establishments in different cities may offer summer discounts at certain times of the day, or participate in the Kids Bowl Free program, which makes it not only a fun alternative but also a potentially inexpensive one.
Catching some flicks – Summer may be just the right time to catch up with some of the latest movies, or even the classics! The movie-going experience is fun for your children and can be fun for you as well. There is nothing better than watching a favorite film again with a child and reliving it through his or her eyes. Movies such as Back to the Future, the Goonies and even The Little Mermaid suddenly become instant favorites to newer generations when they watch it for the first time. Many movie theaters offer discounted movies throughout the day in the summer, as do sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Be on the lookout for these deals and you can plan a whole move series without breaking the bank.
Visit a local Museum –Most cities have a wonderful offering of museums to choose from. Some have children’s museums, science museums and other local attractions that may be of interest to children. Always make sure to review the current exhibit offerings and take advantage of any educational material pertinent to the current exhibit. Those museums offering hands-on activities are usually the most popular among children. If you are going during a week day try to avoid the early morning hours when summer camps may have scheduled field trips, but rather aim for the early afternoon when the crowds are smaller. Bank of America customers can take advantage of the institution’s Museum Pass program by visiting participating museums for free on the first full weekend of the month. Similarly, some cities and counties choose certain dates in which to discount the admission fees to local attractions.
Visit your local beach or pool – A great swim is always a fun activity for children and adults. If you decide to drive to the beach or visit your local pool always make sure to follow safety rules. If your children are not great swimmers yet make sure to bring appropriate life jackets and stay in the shallow end. If it is a group outing make sure there is a designated adult lifeguard at all times. During the summer it is more important than ever that children apply sunscreen often to protect their skin from harmful effects of the sun. Just as important is to protect against mosquito and other bug bites by using insect repellent. When choosing a repellent make sure to pick one that is suitable for your children’s ages and choose one made with natural ingredients if you suspect any allergies or skin sensitivities. Check the local weather before visiting the beach or pool and try to avoid being out in the sun when it is at its highest (usually between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
Take a Nature Walk – Depending on where you live, there may be many options for hiking or generally taking a nature walk. These times can not only be incredible for bonding with your child, but also quite educational. Equip your backpack with water and snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent and also a magnifying glass, binoculars, notebook and camera for your budding explorer to record what he or she is seeing. If you already have a sense of what you might encounter on your walk, go ahead and do some research online with your little one, and even print out some pictures of what you might see. Make sure to wear light fabrics and comfortable shoes, and always keep safety in mind above anything else.
Be a Chef – The long days of summer represent a great opportunity to have your children join you in the kitchen as you cook and bake. Ask them to identify a dish they want to try and help them find age-appropriate recipes. Take the opportunity to reinforce some basic math concepts (measurements, shapes, etc.) as well as reading and following instructions. This is also a great time to introduce healthier options into their diets and allowing them to own the cooking process. Some adults may also choose to tie helping the community to this activity. After baking cookies or muffins you may want to drive over to your local food pantry and donate them, or take them to an elderly neighbor who may welcome a friendly visit. Always double-check first to make sure the food pantry is able to receive the goodies or if your neighbor has any dietary restrictions. Summer is a perfect time to explore new flavors and recipes and enjoy them together.
Summer is a great time to spend some quality time with the children in your lives and making memories to last a lifetime. Your activities do not have to be pricey and your certainly do not need to plan extravagant vacations to have a good time. A little creativity and a good attitude will certainly go a long way into making the summer months the best time! Always remember to be mindful of safety precautions, wear sunscreen and bug repellent, stay hydrated and most of all be flexible and have fun!
For more summer activities, why not follow our Summer Pinterest board:
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