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Keeping the Kids Busy During Summer

With four or five weeks to go, many of the school age children are anxiously awaiting the day when they officially enter into the glorious months of summer vacation.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Schools all over Garland County are winding to a close.  With four or five weeks to go, many of the school age children are anxiously awaiting the day when they officially enter into the glorious months of summer vacation.  Parents, however, may be anxious about this prospect in a different way.  They are beginning to realize that soon the kids will be at home all day—every day. One of the biggest complaints about summer is that kids don’t have enough to do. Some kids are happy about that, while other kids quickly get bored.    

     When summer begins, many parents cringe at the thought of entertaining their children for the long summer months ahead.  They begin to consider ideas for keeping the kids occupied in a positive way.  Most children would resort to a wasted summer of eating and sleeping if allowed. Parents are faced with trying to find something educational the kids can enjoy and have fun doing.  Parents can help their children choose fun activities to keep them occupied during the summer months.  

     Learning can become a part of every summer day with some of these great ideas on how to keep kids busy and engaged:

  • Outdoor activities.  During most of the summer, children can spend many hours outdoors.  When children are outside, whether actively playing or not, the benefits are immeasurable.  Development of large motor skill, access to fresh air and vitamin D intake, and lots of down time are just a few of the positives of outside activities.  Just because children participate in outdoor group sports, it does not mean they no longer need outdoor play.  
  • Use nature to spark healthy living. Cultivate a garden either in the backyard or in containers on the patio.  Planting and watching plants grow gives children a sense of purpose and something to look forward to every day. Children are more likely to eat vegetables which they help to grow than those on the grocery shelf.
  • Visit museums, art galleries, and historical places. Many of these areas are never seen by children. Take time to visit the town’s history museums, art galleries, and other historical features.  Children are inherently curious and enjoy learning about their history and local art. By exposing children to these wonders, they can learn about their town, their local culture, and how to express themselves visually.
  • Develop a moderately consistent schedule with your child.  Help your child establish a daily schedule that is a compromise between early and late wake times. Be sure that you offer a consistent bedtime and mealtimes too. Set a few expectations for the summer. Talk with your child about what to do during each day or week of the summer—but that doesn’t mean each day needs to be highly structured and scheduled.  Children need time to relax and be themselves.  However, you don’t want you child to default to playing video games or watching TV for 10 hours straight. 
  • Encourage activities.   An endless multitude of ideas are possible for summer activities.  Encourage the kids to engage in creative art and craft activities, read good books, take swimming lessons or sewing lessons, make a digital slide show with family photos, read the newspaper, attend a camp, or even bake. 

     Kids can also pursue long-term projects. Garland County 4-H is a youth organization where kids can begin to consider some long-term project ideas.  Membership is free and there are lots of opportunities to meet new friends and engage in fun activities.  Call the Garland County Extension office today for details.  501-623-6841.

By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841

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