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Fun Activity Ideas for Kids this Summer

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Now that summer’s in full swing, what are your kids doing to make the most of it?

There’s plenty of time for fun and play, and to take a much needed break from a busy school year. Summertime is also a great opportunity to learn things they would never have time for otherwise. By getting involved in a variety of activities geared toward team-building and community service, you’re helping them build self confidence and compassion while keeping their minds stimulated.

So, let’s stow away the gadgets and tune into what’s going on in the world around us! Here are some fun summer activities for kids of all ages:

Interact With Older Adults

Many kids are lucky enough to have grandparents who are aging in place, but there’s also a population of elderly adults in nursing homes or assisted living who don’t necessarily have family to visit them. This makes seniors feel cut off from the rest of world.

In turn, kids who aren’t exposed to older generations may fear aging or have negative thoughts about old people, according to an advice column from Benchmark Senior Living.

“By helping kids connect with seniors, we make it easier for them to have a healthy attitude about aging,” the article states.

Contact a local nursing home and ask them how your kids can become involved with their residents. Some simple activities include:

  • Looking through photo albums and scrapbooking
  • Asking them questions about their life. Remember they’ve already lived full lives.
  • Playing games like Scrabble, Candyland, Monopoly, Yahtzee and checkers. Print out games like word searches Sudoku, mazes and puzzles.
  • Going for a walk, or birding.
  • Having them teach a new skill like knitting or piano.
  • Watching a movie everyone would enjoy like Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz and Frozen.

There’s a lot to be taught and learned on both sides. It’s pretty cool to see generations unite and build strong bonds. Everyone has the opportunity to interact with elders whether it’s in the neighborhood, at senior living facilities or at the grocery store.

Join a Sports Team

Kids need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity to stay healthy. They also need social interactions with their peers. Summer is a great time to sign up for local sports and recreation programs.

Remember how much fun it was when you were a little kid to play on a softball team? Even if you didn’t feel athletic and only stood around in the outfield looking at daisies, you still felt like you were part of team. Softball is a sport for all kids to gets involved in. There are many other sports out there, too, that can be done in your neighborhood park or community center. It’s just a matter of finding one suitable for your child.

“Any coach or parent knows that in order for a team to succeed (measured by satisfaction, fulfillment and skill learning for kids), it is important to attain chemistry,” according to an article on Unicef Kid Power.  “Kids need to learn how to play with each other, how to help each other, how to have fun together, and how to learn skills together. That is why team building activities for kids is an important aspect for kids’ development.”

What’s more is that kids’ participation in high school athletics carries over into a child’s future in academics. Student athletes tend to do better in school and go on to graduate from college. Extracurricular activities offer the opportunity to grow independence and at the same time learn how to be a team player, which will pay off down the road when they grow up and need to interact with others in a professional and social settings.

Donate Time, Money or Goods

What if your child created the best lemonade stand around? It can be done one cup of lemonade at a time. There’s a 10-year-old in Kentucky who’s raised $4,000 in the last four years with his lemonade stand. He’s saved some of his earnings for his college fund, but he’s also donated some of it to his local police department. His mom posted his hours of operation on a free neighborhood app called Nextdoor. This caught the attention of the app’s owners. They matched $500 to money he raised for the police department. Now that’s young entrepreneurship at its finest.

You don’t need special skills or experience to volunteer your time to a cause. There are a lot of organizations that want to work with kids and there’s plenty of reasons for a child to do so. What is your child passionate about? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Keeping cages clean, walking dogs and petting cats are all things a young person can do to help out.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. They have specific youth programs that provide a variety of opportunities. Children as young as 5 can participate. Understanding the needs of others builds empathy.
  • Volunteer at your local library by reading to other children, tidying up the children’s play area, starting a book club, or sorting books.
  • Gather nonperishable goods, purge old clothing and toys to a local women’s or homeless shelter.
  • Organize a trash day in your neighborhood. You’re not only helping the environment, you’re building pride in where you live.

To preserve your family’s memories throughout the summer, a cool project would be to journal about all of your volunteering efforts. That way, a collection of memories and milestones are recorded and won’t easily fade over time. You could make collages with photos, drawings and stories.

Chronicling the lessons everyone learned is also a good reminder that helping others just feels good. Our society depends on giving each other a helping hand. Just think of all the fun learning experiences to be had this summer and the many stories you can share.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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