Summer Projects for Kids

While it is hard to believe, summer is around the corner. Before you know it, spring will be over, school will be out, and your children will be home with free time on their (and your) hands. Are you ready? If you want to be prepared for the phrase, “Mom/Dad, I’m bored,” then here are a few summer projects for kids.

Create Book Worms.
Sure, summer is known to be the season of “no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks,” but maybe you can still sneak the books part in. Consider having a set time each day, 30 minutes or so, devoted to reading. Make an event out of going to the store to choose the first book to tackle. To keep the momentum easier to maintain, think about having your children start a series of books, that way the next one is always “on deck.” There are classic series like The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Did you know L. Frank Baum wrote a series of Oz books, not just The Wizard of Oz? Ever heard of another wizard named Harry Potter? When growing up, I read The Three Investigators. It’s awesome to introduce your children to a series that lights their fire to reach for the next installment.

Love Bugs.
Speaking of creating worms, why not make a few bugs as well? With plastic bottle caps, paint, transparency paper, scissors, sharpies, hot glue gun and, of course, googly eyes, you can bring to life some colorful bugs that you’ll actually want in your home. Add some fuzzy pipe cleaners if you prefer the crawling variety. Be sure to name them. Throughout the summer, make them colorful and creative friends. No bottle caps around the house? Do all the same with rocks.

Bowl/Glow in the Dark.
Do the kids still have a little energy later in the day? A great night activity is glow in the dark bowling. Pull a few water bottles from the recycling bin (with their lids) and place glow sticks in them. Take the hamster out of his ball (or swing by a pet store to pick up a clear ball intended to help hamsters roam), and fill it with more glow sticks. Use the driveway for the alley or if that’s not available, lay out flat cardboard boxes in the backyard for the surface you need. For extra fun, maybe attribute different points to the various color of the pins. Now glowing enough? Add glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets inside the pin and ball. Are you playing in teams? Add glow in the dark face paint to share team spirit.

Pool Art.
Here’s another use for the kiddie pool. Tape a large piece of paper at the bottom. Have paper plates with different color paints poured on them. One at a time, have your kids dip filled water balloons into the various colors. Place each different paint-dripping balloon on the paper and have you’re the children pick up the pool. Put on some music and have them do a little dance, tilting and spinning with the pool. By the end of the song, the painting is done. You can remove the paper and let it dry. The name of the piece of art can be the name of the song that help inspire its creation.

Squirt Gun Painting.
Want to take aim at a different project? Set up easels in your backyard and equip your kids with squirt guns filled with liquid watercolors. With large pieces of watercolor paper set on the easels (or in lieu of an easel, tacked to a tree), have your artists squirt various colors to their hearts’ content. Set different distances from the easel for different colors to add different degrees of depth. As an alternative to guns, use plastic spray bottles.

Start Your Memoir.
My memory is horrible. I wish I remembered each summer specifically. Help your kids keep track of their summer adventures by providing them the material to journal and scrapbook. Craft stores offer great options to do both, either in separate pieces or in the same book. For the journal portion, prepare questions in advance for them to respond to such as:

Who’s your best friend?
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite book you read this summer?
What is your favorite toy?
What is your favorite movie from this summer?
What would you like your job to be when you get older?
What was your best memory from the grade you just finished?
What are you most looking forward to when you return to school?
Instead of posting all the pictures from the summer immediately to Instagram or Facebook, send them to a store that prints photographs (Walgreens, Duane Reade, Walmart, CVS…) and place them in the scrapbook. It’ll be a wonderful memento from the summer and something they can look cherish for years to come. It’s like social media, but the old fashion way and with a longer shelf life.

Planning some of these activities will have you ready for the cries of boredom. In fact, with some of these projects, summer will be over before you know it and it’ll be back to school time. Be sure to enjoy every moment!

Chad Peterson
chad.peterson@fcloans.com
Senior Vice President, Communications

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