The dog days of summer are in full swing, and with that so are the imaginations of children. Whether your kids are enrolled in our summer program, or they are at home, one thing is for sure, they are non-stop. Their sponge-like brains and personalities are experimenting, brainstorming, conceptualizing, and fantasizing, and creating. These years are so vital to emotional, physical, and mental development, with research confirming that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child’s brain.
Early experiences provide the base for the brain’s organizational development and functioning throughout life. – Factsforlife.org
Because children learn more in their early years than in any other years of their lives, it is vital to keep their minds sharp. We have compiled a list of fun, easy summer activities for kids that will encourage kids to learn, explore, use their hands, and explore their worlds. From learning about how water by engineering a water slide table using your favorite night-time, feet-injuring enemies, Legos; to creating a beautiful nook to encourage reading or puppet playing; to exploring a fun tie-dye world with colored foam bubbles, these activities are sure to bring smiles to their faces while helping them to learn about the world around them.
1. Lego-based water wheel
We all know about LEGOS, we all played with them at one point or another as a child, and as a parent we most likely have stepped on one of them, inciting an Earth-shattering pain that runs deep within the soul. As much as those little plastic toys can be a nuisance, they are a great way for children to develop critical thinking, hand-eye coordination, and self-esteem: there is a magical experience when a child sees the final product that they put together of a project that only before existed in their imagination. Sarah, over at Frugalfun4boys.com, put together a great how-to involving a hose, LEGOS, and learning about water flow. This is a must-do for any child that has a natural interest in engineering and building, but it is fun for all kids, and a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.
Visit Frugalfun4boys.com to read more.
2. Reading/Playing Fort
While this one, as pictured, is geared towards little princesses, it can easily be adapted into a superhero themed fort, or anything else that you and your child can imagine. Children need to have a designated area for their things and activities, and even though they have their own room, they often times take over the entire house. This is a great project that you can do with your child that will invoke their imagination, encourage thinking outside of the box, and encourage teamwork as they will need your help for a lot of it. Fill it with a fluffy, comfy blanket, and toss soft, comfortable pillows or cushions, and in a matter of an hour, your child has a fun, safe, engaging environment to read, play with puppets, draw, or anything else that they can come up with. The only downside: your child probably won’t let you lay in there and sneak away for a little nap.
For full instructions, visit Mamapapabubba.com.
3. Milk container bird houses
This one is great because it incorporates so many great things that kids love: creativity, painting, outdoors, and animals. Instead of just trashing those old just/orange juice containers you can recycle them with your children, teaching them about doing their part to help the environment by recycling as well as providing food and shelter for birds. Kids can go crazy and get super creative with bright colors, shapes, and patterns on the containers, branches, and popsicle sticks, and then enjoy watching birds fly over to it, eat and seek shelter from the elements outside. Put it on your porch and monitor the seed levels every day to see if the birds are using it, and before you know it, your child will develop an interest and fascination with birds that they otherwise don’t have much interaction with.
Tutorial on Artbarblog.com.
4. My Little Pony magical small world
My Little Pony has taken over World, or at least the World of Little Girls. The amount of My Little Pony toys is endless, and they quickly add up to a lot of money. One way to ease the pain on your wallet while encouraging creativity is to make your own My Little Pony toy for the pony figurines. This brilliant toy DIY involves cardboard, paint, cotton balls, and hot glue. You can work side-by-side with your child and show them how to safely use scissors and hot glue while they have fun painting, creating and putting together their own toy. Once they start to see the finished product, their face will light up with delight and pride as they learn how with a little bit of imagination and some hands-on skills, they can create anything they want to. This is a project that they are sure to be proud of and enjoy for a long time.
Get the complete set of directions over at The Imagination Tree.
5. Tie-dye Rainbow soap foam
Two things are certain about kids: they love colors, and they love getting messy. With this super simple recipe for colored soap foam, children can make a mess, get hands on, and stimulate some of the sensory senses that they have. They will love to build mountains and smash them, explore shapes, letters, and numbers, as well as have fun cleaning their toys with the brightly colored soap foam. This is a great sensory activity which has been proven to help children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively. This is definitely an activity to keep up your sleeve for those days when your child is complaining of being bored.
Learn more about rainbow color soap foam over at funathomewithkids.com.
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