Summer’s Here– What to Do With the Kids?
It’s the age-old question that parents in Texas face every year: How do we keep the kids occupied this summer?
Well, there are always the biggies, such as theme parks or camping. But, with work and other obligations getting in the way, not to mention your budget, you can’t always get away from home. So, we here at the Ashley Apfel Agency have compiled a list of some activities that are both educational and fun — and that your kids are sure to enjoy!
There are a number of ways you can encourage the young artist in your family, from programs and offerings at local museums to do-it-yourself art projects. Try these ideas from The Artful Parent, a website focused on encouraging art and creativity in children:
- Splatter painting: Spread an old sheet out in the yard, grab some watered-down acrylic paint and a brush or a spoon. Then, have your kids dip the brush or spoon and flick their wrist to splatter the paint! Try different colors and motions to make interesting patterns.
- Body painting: Kids love to paint themselves! Washable, nontoxic tempera paint is just the ticket, and it comes off with soap and water.
- Grape and toothpick sculptures: This is as easy as it sounds. Get a bowl of grapes and a box of toothpicks. The grapes hold their shapes well and are easily pierced by the toothpicks to create towers and other structures. And, when you’re done, you have a healthy snack!
Have a budding scientist around the house? Try these basic projects from PBS:
- Grow something. Having your kids grow flowers, herbs or vegetables creates a long-term learning activity that encourages monitoring and observation.
- Cook something. Working together in the kitchen invites all kinds of questions: What does baking soda do? Why is gelatin such a weird consistency? How do ingredients interact?
- Get outside. The outdoors is full of things for kids to examine — plants, worms, frogs, bugs and more! Even running through the sprinkler can be an educational opportunity, once the rainbow appears.
- Stay up late … and look up. A clear summer night is perfect for checking out stars and pointing out constellations. You can talk to your kids about the various planets, and maybe even catch a firefly or two.
Reading — It’s Not Just for School
Encouraging your kids to read over the summer can help them when school gets back in session, so don’t miss an opportunity. You can share the newspaper in the morning, or simply read the cereal box at breakfast. Even a few minutes a day can have a big impact.
You might also consider the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free online program for children from May 4 to September 4. Last year more than a million kids from 29 countries took part, and this year’s program features free book lists, a sweepstakes and the chance to set a world record.
Of course, there are thousands of things you can do with your kids in Texas over the course of the summer. If these ideas aren’t up your alley, consider summer camp, local music and sports programs or volunteering in the community.
Summer will be over before you know it, so make the most of it!