Thinking back to your childhood years, was there ever a time more exciting on the calendar than summer vacation? For weeks, life was all about fun in the sun, hours spent in the pool and all manner of seasonal staples like watermelon, ice cream cones and popsicles raring to be devoured.
Now that you're older with kids of your own, you can live out your childhood through your kids' vacation, but at the same time, you want to make sure they're still learning something. For far too many kids, mindless extracurricular activities can result in losing some of the lessons they were taught in school, according to a 2011 literature review performed by the Rand Corporation.
So, how do you balance learning with fun? These outdoor activity suggestions may just walk that fine line:
1. Make activities age appropriate. What one activity is to an elementary school student will not be the same for your "tween" or teenager. So you'll want to know what interests them before settling on things to do. If they're younger, you can do counting lessons by having them find acorns or pine cones. Middle and high schoolers may prefer a bike trail ride.
2. Use nature as a canvas. If your kids are artistically inclined, they'll have an awful lot to choose from outdoors for drawing or painting, be it the evening sunset or a moonlit forest.
3. Go fishing. The summer can be the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to fishing. Not only will they learn more about aquatic species, but it could become a lifelong passion of theirs.
4. Collect seashells. No summer is complete without a walk along the beach. Pointing out some of the shells that dot the shoreline will no doubt spark curiosity as to how they got there.
5. Keep your eye toward the sky. There are dozens of bird species, many of them just outside your window. Examining and identifying the different types of birds can be a great way to ignite new interests.
6. Play the alphabet game. Traveling will likely be on your itinerary this summer. To pass the time with your kids, see how quickly you can go through the alphabet by having them point out things they see outside while driving that start with letters of the alphabet, such as an airplane, bicycle, car or dog.
7. Perk up those ears. You hear that? That's the sound of Mother Nature. It's amazing how many sounds there are if you stop and listen. See if your kids can name the sounds or perhaps even identify certain bird calls.
8. Identify trees. Someone needs to make an app that can identify what trees or what by snapping a picture with a smartphone. Until then, hearken back to your youth to help your kids identify Birch, Oak or Maple trees.
9. Plant a garden. You may have a "green thumb" on your hands after introducing them to the world of gardening. Whether it's flower- or plant-based, kids will come to understand what a wonder Mother Nature can be.
10. Collect fireflies. What's more nostalgic than collecting fireflies? Introduce your kids to these natural wonders, explaining how they produce flashes of light.
The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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