Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fun Things for Kids to Do During Summer's Dog Days

Adults may find they don't have enough time to do all the things they wish they could. Commitments to work, family and friends often leave individuals with little time for anything, including themselves.

Kids, however, tend to have all the time in the world, especially during summer vacation. Many a parent has heard their child or children say, "I'm bored" during a summer hiatus from school. Even today, when kids have access to the Internet, Facebook, video games, and the host of other distractions at their constant disposal, kids seemingly complain of boredom. The following ideas can help parents keep kids occupied in constructive ways.

* Teach kids to cook. Summer can be a great time for parents to teach kids lessons they won't learn in school. And few lessons are more practical and potentially more enjoyable than teaching kids to cook. Cooking can help keep kids' minds sharp, as recipes entail math and reading comprehension. Get kids started in the kitchen by giving them some simple tasks around dinnertime, like preparing the salads or helping peel the potatoes. If kids enjoy their time in the kitchen, involve them more when prepping the main course, making sure they read the recipe and help measure the ingredients.

* Encourage a child's inner artist. Nearly every child has some artistic inclination, be it painting, singing, dancing, writing, etc. Encourage the household Picasso to paint summer landscapes, which will get them off the couch and outdoors while cultivating a talent. For the household thespian or singer, visit the local playhouse and see if there are any roles for kids in the summer play. Whatever a child's artistic inclination, the freedom of summer vacation is the perfect opportunity for kids to embrace theirs.

* Play board games, not "bored" games. Kids can only play so many games of Candy LandTM before they grow out of it or get bored. However, parents can ensure their kids spend summer learning and simultaneously having fun by playing games like chess or even ScrabbleTM. Chess employs mathematical and analytical skills while Scrabble can greatly improve a child's vocabulary. What's more, no two games of chess or Scrabble are ever alike, so kids aren't likely to get bored with them like they are other games. Kids with a competitive spirit can find the games very challenging and enjoy the progress they make each time they play.

* Encourage kids to create. Summer is a carefree time for kids and marks the perfect opportunity for them to flex their creative muscles. Encourage kids to build kites, or work with them building a bird house or, for especially ambitious parents, a tree house. Kids often love the process of creating something, and it can be a great bonding experience for parents and kids alike.

CAPTION: Teaching kids to play chess over summer vacation is one way to keep them busy while simultaneously keeping their minds sharp.

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