- Family and Parenting
For Parents and Teachers - Fun and Educational Activities for Kids
As parents, it’s important to teach and encourage kids to get involved in a variety of activities, especially in the summer months, or anytime that school’s out. Here’s a list of suggested activities to keep kids busy. There’s an abridged, printable version at the end of the article. It comes in handy when kids are bored and need some suggestions for things to do, other than TV and video games.
Read, read, read!
Start reading to kids at a young age. My favorites are the pop-up style books for younger kids. There are book clubs that you can join like Baby’s First Book Club. This used to be my favorite way to pick out age-appropriate books. I still have some of my favorites like The Sandman, which came with a beautiful music box in the shape of a half moon. My other favorites for younger kids include the Angelina Ballerina series, the Froggy series, and the old favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
For older kids, consider taking trips to the library or bookstores to let them pick out their books to read. Instead of gift cards for video games, encourage relatives to give Borders gift cards for birthdays and holidays.
Play Board games
This was a favorite pastime when I was growing up. Even though a lot of board games have electronic versions, it’s still so much fun (especially with the younger kids) to play a fun board game together. My favorite board game when I will little was a board game called Which Witch. I was happily surprised when I saw it online recently when I searched for it.
Other favorites: Battleship, Monopoly, Boggle and Operation.
Take a walk with kids, go bike riding, take the kids to a local park and enjoy the outdoors. In the warm weather, remember the water bottles and snacks.
Shoot some baskets outside, with friends and family, or visit a park with basketball courts. Encourage kids to join a basketball team at school, or through your neighborhood or township.
Encourage kids to participate in any type of outdoor exercise, or as an indoor alternative, play Wii Sports games and Wii Fit Plus. See my related hubpage on motivating kids to exercise and a review on Wii Fit.
Play an educational game on the computer
These days, it’s important for parents of kids of all ages, to monitor what their kids are doing on the computer, especially on the internet. There are lots of online game websites for kids, some better than others. Some suggestions: funbrain.com, pbskids.org, primarygames.com.
All kids love to draw, so be sure to have lots of art supplies on-hand, including construction paper, kid-safe scissors, stencils, markers, crayons and water paint. Consider buying an easel to encourage drawing.
Go to Library
The least expensive way to entertain young kids is to visit your local library, where they can explore a wide range of books, tapes, and videos, as well as educational computer games, all for free.
Go to Beach
A day trip to the beach can be lots of fun. Remember to bring a large blanket, beach chairs, beach buckets and shovels, drinks and snacks, and especially a beach umbrella.
Volunteer For Community Service
For older kids, encourage them to volunteer for community service at your local, church, school or township. This is especially important for kids who may be a little too young for their first job. It’s a great way to gain experience for future jobs.
Play an Instrument
Encourage kids to take music lessons, which may be offered at their school. For younger kids, smaller guitars are fun. Although there are video game like Guitar Hero which expose kids to music, real instruments were offer them a lot of more.
Get Together with Friends
The best way to get to know the kids that your kids are friends with is by inviting them over. Setup play dates for your kids so you can meet other parents too. Kids these days are communicating with other kids online via facebook and other websites, so it’s important to know who they are communicating with.
When visiting a park, going on vacation, or getting together with family and friends, let your kids use the video camera and teach them the basics of photography.
Build Something with Legos
Buy an assortment of legos and encourage kids to build, build, build.
This was a favorite pastime when I was young. Fish and Old Maid card games with colorful pictures are favorites for younger kids. For older kids, teach them Solitaire, Rummy and other fun card games. When I was growing up, I remember we had a book of card games that we learned from. Another way to use playing cards: buy several decks of cards and help your children build a house of cards.
Write a story
Some kids are future writers, so have lots of paper and notebooks around and give them confidence to write stories, whether it be a story created with pictures or a short story. For young learners, help them create their first story book, by creating a title page, a few pages of the story and an ending. Then staple the pages together and let them color it (for young kids). For older kids, have them type their story on the computer and print it.
Listen to Music
Nowadays, even younger kids have ipods and mp3 players. Monitor the songs that old kids listen too, and for younger kids, don’t eliminate funs songs, including nursery rhymes and children’s bible songs.
What can we do as parents and teachers to get kids more involved in educational activities? The best thing we can do is set a good example, expose them to books, museums and nature at a young age. If they are bored, kids will turn to TV and video games. Try to limit this to a few hours a week.