I’m Bored! Five Fun Activities to Help Kids Thrive this Summer
Summer break is an ideal time to stimulate the development of valuable skills that help kids excel at school, on the playground, in college and eventually on the job. This year, before your kids have a chance to even think about being bored, you can pave the way for creative learning opportunities that give them hands-on experiences. Choose from these five fun and easy ideas that are especially suited to summer:
• Bring Out Your Budding Entrepreneur – While most kids think they are too young to land a “real” job, you can still help them learn valuable job skills. There are plenty of age-appropriate tasks to explore, whether working as a parent’s helper, creating a curbside lemonade stand, or helping with office or yard work. The goal is to allow kids to try their hands at a job, while you teach them some basic business principles and expose them to all-important behavioral skills like leadership, collaboration and organization. At age 10, my daughter and her girlfriend collaborated on a “Cookies on a Stick” business that had them absorbed in preparing marketing plans and budgets, creating recipes, packaging, writing copy and designing flyers. To this day, it remains a fun summer memory, and an experience she drew on to help her land her first high school job.
• Join the Club – Create the Club – Talk to your child about things that excite her...space, science, gardening, singing. While it’s great to get her involved in a community organization that shares her special interest, consider helping her create her own club of friends who have similar interests. There are plenty of online resources to help you get started. Two of my favorites:
• Read all about it – Expose your child to daily news about a variety of career fields by messaging her articles about interesting people or careers. Or clip an article the old-fashioned way and post it on the fridge. Next time she has her eyes glued to her phone or iPad, you can reference the article and start a conversation that may just plant a seed that grows.
• Write all about it! – Let your child’s imagination run wild by challenging him to write a story. This activity can fill an afternoon or evolve into a week- or month-long event. Talk about the characters, the plot, how the characters will change, and encourage illustrations and a clever title. Depending on your child’s age, bump it up a notch and venture online together to help her start a blog. I’m inspired by these kids and parents who blog together:
You might also encourage the cub reporter in your daughter by suggesting she and her friends create and distribute a paper or electronic neighborhood newsletter, complete with local news, interviews, items for sale and more!
• Volunteer – If you are already involved in a volunteer activity, invite your child to participate. Volunteering not only builds character and provides valuable service to others, it teaches the teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills that are critical on the job.
Not only will you and your kids enjoy these activities as they unfold, children will be exposed to a wide variety of skills and attitudes that can only be gained through hands-on experience. And as far as boredom goes...not a chance! Have a fun and happy summer break!
Ellen Langas is a youth career education advocate who is founder of Kids Know How® and author of the popular Girls Know How® book series that inspires children to explore careers and follow their dreams. The mother of two grown daughters, Ellen is President of NouSoma Communications, Inc.
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