How to Entertain your Children for the Summer
As schools begin to let out for the summer months, many parents worry about endless hours their children will spend in front of the television, sleeping in, and too much junk food their children may consume for the next two months. Another worry is the amount of reading skills lost over the summer. Many sources say children can lose up to 60% of their reading skills during the summer months. So, in order to entertain your children, keep them active, and keep the education train moving, here are a few tips you can follow. Just remember, summer is a time to relax and have fun, so don’t take the pleasure out of learning, just make it extra fun for the summer! Don’t forget to take a camera everywhere you go to capture all of the fun activities you do with your children. At the end of the summer you can create a memory book with your child to reflect on the wonderful summer you had together.
How to Join a Pool
Joining a pool is a great way to increase activity during the day and cool off from the summer heat. Many local pools have reduced rates for those in the community who pay the city tax, while other pools are private and cost a little more. Search around and you may be surprised how affordable a pool membership can be. Other sources include the YMCA, Universities/Colleges, and recreational centers. If you cannot afford a membership, find out how much a one day pass cost and you may still be able to enjoy the pool. Here are a few steps on how to join a pool:
Step 1: Find a local pool. Ask friends, search the Internet, or call the school/daycares in your area to find out if they can recommend a location.
Step 2: Call the club to ask for rates. Once you find the pool you will need to know how much it will cost and if it fits in your budget. Also ask about daily rates, discounts such as military, AARP, etc.
Step 3: Take lessons. If your children don’t know how to swim, a few quick lessons at the pool could really save you some hassle over the summer. Check for certifications through the pool and make sure a lifeguard is always on duty.
Step 4: Make time each week to go to the pool. Even if it is just one day a week, your kids will enjoy the time you spend with them–and you’ll appreciate the tired, quiet, little children after a long day of swimming.
How to Find a Summer Reading Program
Most summer reading programs are free through the public library system. Prizes and awards are usually a great motivator for children to read. So, to keep those reading skills high for the upcoming school year (it will be here before you know it) sign your children up for the reading program. Here are a few tips on how to sign up:
Step 1: Locate a program. Look up your local library on the internet, call, or visit to find out if a program exist.
Step 2: Find out how long. Take note of the length of the program and what requirements each age level must complete to become eligible for any prizes.
Step 3: Sign up. Typically, the programs require the children to be present to sign up. Take your children with you to the library and have them sign the forms. This will place the responsibility on your child to fulfill the reading requirements.
Step 4: Read! Reading can by fun when you take the time to get the right books, set the example by reading with your children, and add in hands on activities associated with the books they are reading. Life Sciences are a great way to read and apply the knowledge the children gain through reading.
Step 5: The final step is to report what you have read. Keep a log at home then take the log to the library to earn your prizes. This is really fun for children and it keeps the motivation to read throughout the summer.
NOTE: If you cannot find a reading program in your area, simply create your own. You can set up the rules based on the age of your children and their respective reading levels. The goal is to help them to enjoy reading.
How to Grow a Garden
Children often love to get their hands dirty and growing a garden provides a learning through application experience. It doesn’t take much land to grow a few plants and this process can help children learn responsibility, self-sufficiency, and encourages healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Here are the basics on how to start a garden with your child:
Step 1: Prepare the area for the garden or purchase a few large pots for a patio garden along with potting soil.
Step 2: Check out books from the library on gardening (aim for books at your child’s reading level) or purchase a few at Barnes and Noble.
Step 4: Assist your child, but try to let him or her take responsibility for watering and caring for the plants.
Step 5: Harvest the vegetables (or enjoy the flowers). Express to your child how proud and impressed you are with their green thumbs!
How to Have Fun
Staying active doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply doing activities that are different than your typical routine can make lasting memories, learning fun, and a summer filled with excitement. Here are a few other basic ideas to get your mind thinking about what to do this summer:
1. Plan a scavenger hunt (find specific trees, or rocks, or just locations in your neighborhood).
2. Picnic in the park.
3. Attend a free concert in the park.
4. Water Balloon or Water Gun Fights (don’t be afraid to get in on the action with your kids!).
5. Find out if local zoos, museums, or theaters have discounts or free events–plan ahead and begin looking around now.
6. Summer fun camps. Check with local daycare centers, YMCAs, or churches to see about low-cost weekly programs. This can break up the summer for your children and provide you with a little “me” time to catch up on everything.
7. Amusement Parks often have discount coupons available at local grocery stores or if you go later in the evening the cost is reduced (and it is much cooler).
8. Paint. Purchase a few basic supplies and set your kids free. Take them to the park to paint scenic views or simply local street scenes. Get them out side and let their imaginations take control.
9. Go on a canoe trip. Local companies offer great summer rates and if you get a large group together there may be greater discounts.
10. Take a bike ride. If you don’t own bikes, research where to rent bikes for a day trip.
Enjoy the summer with your children. Step out and find new and fun things to help your children learn and grow this summer. Who knows, you might just have fun and learn something too!
Do you have any summer fun tips? We would love to know how you plan to beat the heat, entertain your children, or how to keep the education train moving. Please feel free to comment.