Make summer fun for your children

Vickie Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension
May. 25, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

Spring is upon us and it won’t be long before school doors close for the summer. Parents will soon scramble for ideas to keep their children busy and hopefully learning while school is out. Some families will make out-of-town visits with other family members. Other families will take off on adventurous vacations that have been planned and are just waiting to happen. Others, because of tough economic situations, will spend their summers at home. Whatever you do, try to make summer fun for your little ones and yourself.

Regardless of your economic situation, you can still plan outings and activities around your budget.  Resist the urge to do activities that will cause a financial burden.  There are many free and low-cost activities available.

First, consider the age and developmental stage of your children.  Along with those considerations, you should actively listen to and observe what types of activities your child likes to be involved in.  What we may consider dull and boring may be just the thing your child is interested in. For example, young children enjoy repetition. As adults, we may get bored from doing the same activity many times; however, young children thrive on reading the same book, or playing with the same toy over and over again.  Also, remember to plan some quiet time to help over-stimulated children control their behavior.

Here are some suggestions that can provide fun, while fostering opportunities to learn academic and social skills:           

• Go to the library — participate in story time and check out books that you can read to and with your child or that they can “read” to you.

• Go to the park — play with your child instead of just watching

• Explore community resources — visit fire stations, post offices, museums, etc.  Just remember to call ahead to schedule a time to visit.

• Gardening — let your child help with gardening. Children love to dig in dirt and water the plants.

• Color, paint or draw pictures.

• Have water fun in the backyard. While playing with water, make sure you supervise young children at all times.

• Allow children to have play dates at your home and have play dates with other families at their homes.

• Go on scavenger hunts in the yard or around the neighborhood, and bring back items to research on the computer together. If you don’t have a computer, use one at your local library.

• If you have children 5 to 19 years old, sign them up for 4-H Summer Fun at Vance County Cooperative Extension. There is a schedule of summer fun activities that range from free or low cost to summer camp, which is a bit pricier (financial assistance may be available).

Remember, the most important thing to your child is spending time with you. If you, the parent or caregiver, participate enthusiastically with your children, this summer will be a fun one indeed.

For more information on interacting positively with your children or 4-H Summer Fun, please call Vance County Cooperative Extension at (252) 438-8188. Ask for Vickie Jones, parent educator (funded by F-G-V Smart Start), or 4-H Agent Turner Pride (North Carolina Cooperative Extension).

Tips were provided by the Hoke County Cooperative Extension.