5 Summer Activities to help expand your little one’s mind, body, and imagination!

5 Summer Activities to help expand your little one’s mind, body, and imagination!

Summer is a much anticipated time of year for both kids and parents.  Family vacation, no homework, beautiful weather, and fun memories are just some of the exciting things we all look forward to this time of year.  With the normal structure of the school and work week basically thrown out the window, it can be nice to know your little ones are still growing their mind, body, and imagination! Here are a few of my favorite ways to and engage and entertain you little ones.

Have fun and enjoy!

1. Lemonade stands (and veggies too!) –

Lemonade standThe classic lemonade stand.  These are a great way to get everyone involved – parents, nanny, and kids!  It helps teach so many important life skills – how to work with money, basic economics, it takes some preparation and creativity, allows kids to work as a team, and gets them out in their community – even if it is just the cul de sac neighbors.  In the past, the families I worked with had a garden and we would sell fresh vegetables.  This was a great opportunity to talk about healthy living and got them excited about their veggies, which can sometimes be a challenge!  Another great way to add value to this experience it to donate the money earned to a local charity or go out and purchase goods for a local shelter.  Having a lemonade stand is full of ways to teach kids great life skills while having a fun.

 

2. Grow a garden –

 

Happy mother with her children gardening. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786778][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/family.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786750][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/summer.jpg[/img][/url]

In my house, I leave the gardening up to my husband as he has the green thumb.  However, when it comes to kids and teaching them how to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers, the experience alone can be one of the best memories of the summer!  What is more fun than seeing the tiny little seeds grow into plants, playing in the dirt, and watching your harvest grow?  Having kids choose their favorite plants and grow them themselves helps with instilling a sense of pride and independence.  And teaching your little ones about how plants grow and how to care for them is a great way to get kids excited about eating well, taking care of the planet, and to be more aware of the foods they eat and the environment they live in.  Growing a garden can be as simple as a few pots on the back porch or windowsill, to a larger area in the yard.  No matter the size of your garden, pick a day to get dirty and have fun!

 

3. Clean up your favorite walking trail-

cleaning up the parkWe have an awesome trail by our home and the kids LOVE walking it any chance they can. One day while walking we noticed some trash alongside the path and I got the idea to pick a day to do a “Clean up the trail day”!  The kids loved it.  This is a great way to teach kids about the environment, why it is important to recycle, and best of all – you get to be outside and exercise!  Making this a fun and educational experience is important.  You want kids to understand how awesome it is that what they are doing is making a difference for the environment and the animals that live in the area.  It is also important to make it fun!  Reward the person who picks up the most trash, take everyone out for ice cream afterwards, bring a picnic to enjoy after the clean-up, these are a few of the ways to make this a fun and educational experience.

 

4. Make yummy healthy popsicles –

SummerWho doesn’t love a delicious (and nutritious) snack after playing outside on a hot summer’s day?!  Popsicles are an excellent way to make a healthy snack not seem so healthy.  You can add real fruit and juices to make super simple and great tasking frozen treats.  Helping kids make homemade Popsicles can be a fun activity and can also be a great way to teach some life skills.  Getting kids in the kitchen at a young age is great for exposing them to cooking for themselves, teaching independence, and how recipes can be both healthy and fun. Check out some of my favorite yummy recipes – RECIPES!

 

 

5. Make a scavenger hunt –

Scavenger huntEvery time I think of a scavenger hunt I think of Peter Pan and Captain Hook.  I remember as a kid having a ball making sketches of maps, hiding the “treasure”, and pacing all of my steps to make the little dotted line to meet up the big RED X.  Kids love this kind of thing.  It allows them to use their imagination, be creative, and explore the outdoors.  However, this could be a really fun activity to do in the basement or playroom on a rainy day.  This activity is fairly easy to pull off too.  All you need is some crayons and paper, a small “treasure”, and a few friends.  If you have a large enough group, you could even take turns hiding and creating maps, or have each team make a map for the other to find the buried treasure!

 

 

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