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Granite State Rumblings: Ideas To Spend Quality And Fun Time With Kids This Summer

Every Child Matters NHI am just coming back from vacation and can honestly say that during my 10 days off I tuned out all of the work stuff, (if you left me a voicemail or e-mail, I’ll get back to you this week!), and just concentrated on having fun with Spidey. And we had a blast!

Every April we start a list of things we want to do together during the summer. Last year his list was full of places like Story Land, Santa’s Village, Clark’s Trading Post, and Disney World. (All wonderful places but they can be expensive). We always do one or two of the “family vacation” places, but last summer I introduced him to a lot of activities that we could do right in my backyard. He must have enjoyed them and they stuck with him, because this year’s list, while there was still Story Land, included almost all of the activities from last summer.

So we spent last week in the backyard and the living room more than we spent it on the road to those expensive family adventures. And, Spidey added some extra elements to the activities this year to make them more fun.

In case you forgot to write them down last year, or this is your first year receiving the newsletter, I thought I’d share them again, before the summer is gone.

Swing in a Hammock

Snuggle close, and sway the afternoon away. Look for pictures in the clouds and watch them change, or read books to each other.

Do Yard Work Together

Toddlers can help pull weeds and sprinkle the flowers with a tiny watering can. Have a kid-size rake and a bubble-blowing lawn mower on hand.

Play Dress-Up

Collect funny hats, gloves, purses, flowing gowns, and “superhero capes” at a garage sale or thrift store. Slip into your new finery, and have a make-believe garden party, Spider-Man adventure, or masquerade ball.

Build a Secret Fort

Drape old sheets over lower tree limbs and clotheslines. Eat dinner there. Stay up chasing fireflies and listening to “night sounds.”

Hold a Car Wash

Park your car in the driveway and let your child give it a good scrub with a pot of water and sponge or with the garden hose. Get the whole family involved for added fun!

Go on a Bug Safari

Dig for worms, scout for lizards, and hunt for frogs and tadpoles. Marvel at an ant carrying an oversize crumb.

Befriend a Firefighter

Bake cookies (or pick up some ice pops), and deliver them to your local fire station. The firefighters will appreciate the surprise — and your child will meet some heroes, see those awesome trucks up close, and learn a lesson about giving to others.

Chalk it Up

Everyone loves sidewalk chalk. Use the glow-in-the-dark kind so you and your child can glimpse your artwork from the window at bedtime.

Make Beautiful Music

Spread a blanket in the backyard for a stage. Ask preschoolers to create (and collect) “tickets” to the big event. Invite the neighborhood  kids to bring their instruments and perform — even your littlest musicians can join in using pots, wooden spoons, and shakers. Set up lawn chairs for the audience, and cheer your little stars.

Dance in the Rain

Surprise your kids by taking them outside during a gentle summer shower. Dance around in swimsuits, catch raindrops in your mouth, and jump in all the puddles.

Card Board Box Creations

Go to the grocery store and grab a bunch of boxes of all different sizes. Throw in some duct tape, markers, pillows, blankets and flashlights and build a city, a fort, or an apartment building!

Home Movie Time

Let your child make videos or a movie with your iPhone (most apps are $2-$5). Then make some popcorn, pile on the couch and have Family Movie Night starring your kids!

Go on an “Alphabet tour”

Bring a camera(s) and a notebook. Head into town and walk around. Beginning with the letter a, find something that starts with that letter (i.e. Adams Street). Take a picture of that item and write it down in your notebook. Continue with each letter and when you are done, each child has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.

Take a class together!

Baking, crochet, cross-stitch, guitar, painting, bread-making, illustrating, pottery, archery, kickboxing, creative writing, sculpting, acting, braiding, cake decorating, weaving, anything. Tons of local colleges, restaurants, craft stores, trade schools, and culinary institutes offer one-day classes or more. Such a fantastic way to connect with each other over a new skill. Plus you can harness their new skills for your own personal gain. Fresh bread, anyone?

Whatever you decide to do with your children this summer, know that the most important thing is not the place or the cost, but the time spent together.

Have fun!

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About MaryLou Beaver

New Hampshire Campaign Director Every Child Matters Education Fund
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