school may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean your kids have to stop learning! You’ve probably heard that kids can lose or forget some of their hard-won skills during the summer months if they aren’t given new challenges to tackle. But don’t invest in a blackboard just yet. a field trip to the local park – or your own backyard – is ripe with opportunities for creativity and skill building. Here are a few of our favorite ideas that make the most of the warm weather and sunny skies.
Make some feathered friends
Look, up in the sky! Bird watching is a fun way to build observational skills, and you can do it almost anywhere. staple together a few sheets of blank paper to make an impromptu field guide, and then set off with your crew to document the neighborhood fowl.
When the kids spot a new red-bellied robin or pesky park pigeon, help them draw a picture that captures the bird’s colors, markings and whatever it was up to when you spotted it.
Build a Birdbath
Ready to get crafty? Encourage birds to visit your yard by creating a tempting place for them to grab a drink and get cleaned up. When you think about it, a birdbath is just a rimmed dish on a pedestal – so let the kids be creative when sourcing materials. Many of them can be found at thrift stores and garage sales.
You’ll need these supplies:
- a shallow bowl, saucer or pie plate for the top
- sturdy mugs, candlesticks or vases for the middle
- dawn dish soap for washing off dirt or grime from thrift store or garage sale dishes or pots
- Weatherproof spray paint in a bright color
- ceramic or glass adhesive
- damp and dry bounty paper towels for cleaning up glue and paint drips
Note: an adult should handle the glue and spray paint!
Help your kids stack the items to create a fun shape. Use the adhesive to bond the items together.
Mismatched pieces will create an eclectic look, but a quick coat of paint will unify even the wackiest assortment of thrift store items. Let the birdbath dry for 24 hours before setting it up in the backyard and adding water.
put your kids in charge of a garden safari. Head outside and encourage their natural curiosity to investigate whatever they see, hear, smell and feel. give little ones a zip-top bag to collect interesting specimens from flowerbeds, or give older kids a small notebook to sketch their findings. When the safari is finished, take them to the library to learn more about what they’ve discovered.
grow something tasty
No room for a full-blown garden? show kids how things grow on a smaller scale with an herb garden.
find a sunny windowsill or porch railing and enlist little farmers to help you change the water each day and track the plant’s progress. When green leaves appear, transfer them to a small pot with potting soil. By the end of summer vacation, you should have enough to enjoy in a meal or tasty snack! plus, you’ll give the kids a bit of hands-on gardening experience.
tip: gardening can be messy business! Luckily, tide pOds Ultra OXI can help remove even the toughest dirt stains from your kids’ clothes with 10 times the cleaning power* vs. the next leading OXI detergent – plus built-in pre-treaters.
crafty garden decorations
If you’re looking to beat the heat, head indoors to craft some fun dIY garden mushrooms. and while you’ve got the paints out, grab some smooth stones and let the kids create their very own garden markers to help you keep track of the greenery you’ve planted together. crafts like these make the kids feel more connected to the garden and teach them how to manage one.
What educational or crafty activities keep your kids engaged during the summer? share them with us in the comments below!
*stain removal of one dose vs. 10X doses of the leading liquid bargain brand.