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Old Fashion Summer Fun

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Ok, I was going to post this in the forum but my poor tired brain couldn't figure out how to do it! so I'll post here in my blog:

So many today book their kids summer with all kinds of activities or part them in front of a TV, computer of video game. Found this article at Meridian Magazine : : The Place Where Latter-day Saints Gather and wanted to share it:

I’ve just learned that if I want my children to enjoy summers that are rich with real-time memories and fun, I have to make careful choices about how much technology I allow into their lives. I find that when I assign technology to just a small corner of our summer days, the door opens on a number of possibilities for some old fashioned summer fun.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started – some they can do on their own, and others they can do with you:
Build a Fort or Hide under a Parachute. Few things spark a child’s imagination like having a special place to play. My older sister and I turned our bunk beds into our special place. We hung blankets from the top bed to enclose the lower bunk and in a matter of a minute or two our bunk beds were transformed from an ordinary sleeping space into a ship on the high seas. Just give them the okay to gather up any available blankets and sheets, a table or maybe some chairs, and they’ll create their special place in no time at all.

Play Dress-up and Pretend. Few things invite creative play like dress-up clothes and a few supporting props. Old Halloween costumes work as well as hand-me downs from Mom and Dad or an older sibling. You might also consider keeping an eye out for great dress-up clothes or props at the thrift store or garage sales. Of course, if you sew, you’re set.

Don’t underestimate the use of props. One of my children’s favorites is an old leather suitcase. They love to fill it with “survival items” like bottled water, saltines, walkie-talkies, and a flashlight and then they’re off as orphan children on some grand adventure.

Outdoor Time. As a child, I spent many hours playing in the out-of-doors. I can recall vividly swimming, fishing for guppies, games of flag football, and climbing trees. Nowadays, it seems like children don’t spend nearly as much time in the out-of-doors as most of us did when we were young. What a loss this is. After all, less time outdoors means less exercise, less fresh air, and less time away from the attention vacuum of the Internet and other technologies.

Art Activities. Just as we buy school supplies for our children at the beginning of each school year, maybe we should purchase some summertime supplies when school gets out. Or, if you prefer, sort through and organize what you already have on hand. Once set on supplies, let the painting, cutting, gluing, sketching and drawing begin. Maybe you can designate a certain time each day as the art hour. To add to the fun, consider displaying your children’s work in a family art gallery. You can do this easily with magnets on the fridge or by framing some of their work.
Another great method for displaying your children’s artwork is to take a 5-foot long piece of 1x4 wooden board, rout the edges if possible, paint it, and then paint some clothes pins and glue them onto the board (spacing the clothes pins about a foot apart). You can then hang this on the wall and easily clip your children’s artwork up for display, rotating the art over time.

Encourage Independent Reading Time. Keep your home stocked with books (whether from a bookstore or the library) your children are sure to love. Display them around the house – on the mantle, the coffee table, in front of the television, anywhere they’re likely to catch your children’s attention. Establish a period of time each day where everyone drops everything and reads, even you. Research shows that children who see their parents reading for pleasure and learning are more likely to become strong readers themselves.
Make reading time comfortable and inviting with pillows and maybe a small snack or an apple juice. Be sure to make picture books available for those who are too young to read on their own. If your child isn’t interested in reading, at least to some extent, consider the possibility that they just haven’t met the right book yet.
Things to Do Together:
When it comes to Shared Reading Time read books aloud that will inspire your children’s imaginations, perhaps some books like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, or Little House on the Prairie. Open your children to the possibilities of the places they can go through books. For example, it may be sweltering in your part of the world this time of year, but who’s to say you can’t (through the books you read with your children) explore the cooler islands of the North Sea or celebrate Christmas in July.

Travel the World in 75 Days or Less. If you love to travel and your family budget allows for some amazing travel this summer, terrific. But if it doesn’t, and you’d like to see more of the world than you can afford to right now, pick one or two places that interest you and your family, and along with your children, research them and make a plan for experiencing them as much as possible from the comfort of your own home. Does Italy interest you? Learn together about the people, the history, the art, and the architecture of Italy. Check out some books and DVDs about Italy from the library. And do some research online.
Together with your children, ask questions and seek answers – when did the Roman Empire begin and end? What seas surround Italy? Did anyone in Pompeii survive the Mt. Vesuvius eruption? And after you’ve spent some real time learning about the country, have “A Night in Italy” right at home where you eat Italian food and share what you’ve learned. With a little bit of creativity and research, you can travel to Italy or another country on a dime.

Encourage a Lifelong Love of Learning. I think our best shot at raising children who love to learn is found in creating positive learning experiences in the home while they are young. With school out and less scheduled activities, summer can be the perfect time of year to engage in joint learning projects. Choose a few subjects your children are interested in and go for it.
My son, seven now, loves learning about animals. Last summer, through our local library, we discovered the New Nature Series (about animals) published by The Child’s World publishing company and set a goal to read all 34 books in the series. While reading, we learned about everything from bats to koalas and komodo dragons. If you too want to foster a love of learning in your children, pick a few subjects to explore together this summer, say astronomy, science experiments or pioneer life, and let the learning begin.

Soak in Nature as a Family: We do not need to go somewhere exotic or far away to appreciate natural beauty (although I’m not opposed to such places). Rather, we just need to step into the out-of-doors with our children with our eyes open to the natural wonders around us.
One of my family’s favorite summertime activities is to take a walk through our wooded greenbelt late in the evening, around dusk. The fireflies are out en masse and as we make our way along the path, the individual lights of the thousands of fireflies makes us feel as if we have been transported into a world of tiny fairies. Other possibilities for soaking in nature include collecting insects or leaves, lying on a blanket looking up at all the clouds in the sky or gazing at the stars at night. A little time spent in nature soothes the spirit and serves as a compelling invitation for more time in the out-of-doors.

Entertain Each Other – One of my dear friends Louise grew up in the Deep South and recalls fondly participating in what her family and friends called “play parties.” At such gatherings, usually performed on the porch while her grandmother watched from the sidewalk, various family members sang, danced, told stories, performed skits, recited poetry and other such activities. Louise says that their play parties were, in essence, a family variety show. When I listen to my friend tell about those long-ago parties in the South, I cannot help but think “Who needs technology-driven entertainment when you can possibly have much more fun without?”
What are some of the ways you’d like for your family to entertain each other when you’re together? How about a board game that encourages storytelling? Or performing a one-act play together? Why not host a sing-along night and invite your children’s friends to join in? Or consider having a mid-summer sugar-cookie decorating night or a family game of hide and seek? All of those sound good to me.

Finally, Create a Customized Boredom Buster’s Guide. When your children say, “I’m bored” and you feel the impulse to respond, “Well, then stop being boring,” try this instead: Invite them to create their own customized boredom buster’s guide. Give them a few suggestions, say, a homemade water park or a day of camping in the backyard, but overall just express your confidence in them to come up with their own activities to fill their guide. Supply them with markers, magazines, scissors, glue, etc. to help them create their own boredom buster’s guide and once they’re done, post their guide on the fridge or make copies and give each of them a copy to keep in their rooms for inspiration when needed.
Summer will be over before we know it, so however your family’s summer is shaping up, be sure to keep the door open on the possibilities for some old fashioned fun.

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