Counselor's Corner Newsletter
Fun in the Sun in 2021
Summer is Here: Guilt Free Ways to Keep Kids Busy
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, it’s likely that summertime gets tough. When kids are home all day, or at least out of the routine of school, they get bored easily. Step One in surviving summer as a parent is to let your kids be bored. As kids these days experience ever more scheduled lives, they’re left less and less often to their own devices. So, of course, as soon as you let them be, they’re bored because they need to learn to play on their own and be creative. In fact, experts say boredom is essential for learning creativity!
So number one on your list is also the easiest option: give your kids down time. Provide them with space and time to come up with things to do, and don’t immediately fill up their schedules when boredom inevitably strikes. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that!
Boredom often leads to whining or other forms of mischief. So what if you’re looking to keep your kids busy, but don’t want to spend loads of money? Here are some cheap options to maintain your sanity, and keep your kids occupied for the summer.
- Walk a neighbor's dog
- Make a blanket fort
- Do a puzzle (Here are a few ways to make puzzles more fun for kids!)
- Make paper bag puppets
- Get creative with duct tape arts and crafts
- Watch a how-to YouTube video
- Visit a friend
- Sidewalk chalk art (Try my 3-ingredient homemade chalk recipe!)
- Water activities in the backyard
- Play a card game
- YouTube karaoke
- Write letters to family
- Jump rope games
- Dance party
- Play an instrument
- Make fruity popsicles (Shelf Cooking has a deliciously easy popsicle recipe!)
What's Happening in Your Community
- Check out your local parks & recreation department
- Get to know free activities in your area - Run a quick Google search for your area, and get familiar with what’s out there. Often times, these blogs will keep calendars of family-friendly activities, often free or cheap ones, throughout the summer.
- Explore new local parks
SUMMER ACTIVITES FOR THE FAMILY
If you're looking for ideas that you can schedule on the calendar and plan out in advance, these are some of our favorite summer activities that everyone in the family can enjoy together.
- Try out geocaching
- Enjoy a beach or lake day
- Plan a day trip
- Visit the zoo
- Go fishing or camping
- Check out a state or county fair
- Have a movie night
- Play some Minute to Win It games (These prizes on Pinterest would make an awesome ending to your games!)
- Volunteer in the community
- Go to a sports event
- Host a talent show
- Bake cookies (May I suggest the $400 Cookies recipe?)
- Make a lemonade stand
- Practice origami (Need a few ideas? Pinterest has lots of great ideas!)
- Take apart an old appliance to see how it works
- Go stargazing
- Plant a flower or vegetable garden
- Hit the park to play a little frisbee golf
- Serve someone
- Window shopping at the mall
- Visit Mom or Dad at work
- Flag football at night
- Water sports (Do giant slip and slides count?)
- Wash the car
- Check out a free museum
- Nickel arcade
- Go bowling
- Eat snow cones (We have a machine… and it gets LOTS of love!)
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled. Today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Give your child a healthy start by promoting healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Libraries are home to resources for kids, teens and adults on nutrition, diet, sports, dance and exercise. Go outside! Experts recommend kids get at least 60 minutes of active play each day. Beyond riding bikes, baseball and basketball, try something new together, like Tai Chi or hacky sack. Hit the trails. Check your library to see what guides might be available on local parks and nature areas.
Make a run for the library. Literally! If your library is close enough to home, jog, bike or walk to your local library.
Unplug ,Unwind and get Crafty
Technology can help us be more productive, assist in learning, entertain and connect us to friends and family. But when we’re always plugged in, we can become disconnected from other people and activities. Arts and crafts provide alternative ways to help unplug, unwind and connect.
Ask a librarian at Edison Library for arts and crafts classes, like painting, sewing, knitting and even classes on art projects made from recycled materials.
Some libraries offer storytime followed by creative activities inspired by the book that was read.
Use media from the library on crafting or crafting classes as inspiration for kids to make their own cards for a special birthday, Mother’s/Father’s Day or other special occasion.
Best Free Online Virtual Summer Camps for 2021
With summer 2021 quickly approaching there is a great opportunity for families who want to keep their children’s education growing. Virtual summer camps provide a way for children to socialize with others and prevent summer learning loss. Here is a list of completely free online summer camps to keep your child's mind active and continuously expanding their knowledge.
Camp Wonderopolis is one of the most highly regarded digital summer camps on the planet that is entirely free. Parents and children will find a wide variety of fun and engaging summer camp activities to take part in when they dive headfirst into Camp Wonderopolis. Some of these activities revolve around STEM field careers. Other activities are designed to boost literacy and comprehension, and others help foster critical thinking and creativity in young minds.
Camp Youtube hosts video camps on various topics that involve STEM topics like coding, arts, adventure, and much more. Campers can choose any of them and learn new skills at their own pace. It's an excellent choice for kids and families that want to learn new things together from the safety of their own homes. All the videos are entirely free to watch and taught by expert instructors in the subject. Kids can also find videos on making the traditional summer camp recipes and the art and craft projects to pass the time.
Supernow is one of the top virtual summer adventure camps for kids ages 4-10. Kids interact live with their magical counselors and peers from around the world during immersive classes in arts & crafts, theater, STEM, movement, music, mindfulness, and beyond. The program is designed by experts to draw kids out of the screen and use their imaginations to interact with the world around them.
Supernow's summer program runs from June 1 through September 3.
Classes are hosted all day starting at 9 AM EST - so kids can drop in on their schedule. Families can enjoy a 7-day free trial.
Virtual 4-H Camp helps families experience the typical summer camp experience indoors. You can find all sorts of the usual camp activities like arts & crafts, cooking projects, STEM learning programs, and much more. They even include camp songs on the site to play in the background to get into the camp spirit. Each camp activity has multiple projects to attempt. The arts & crafts section has cool projects like how to paint a rainforest, making journals, and how to duct tape a wallet. The STEM section has programs on how to code, astronomy learning, and archaeology projects.
Makers Summer Camp focuses on hands-on learning for children. It's a project focused camp where your child builds things based on their interests. With a focus on art, science, and technology it brings multiple disciplines together. Your child receives daily activities they may like ranging from creating slime to building unique art portraits. The camp has a very large community of enthusiastic campers and teachers, so chances are someone in your local community might also be participating in it. They routinely hosts live shows from instructors doing cool things like magic tricks, Minecraft coding and paper planes.
With the pandemic going on and traditional summer camps for children closing down, these free summer camp options are an excellent way for your child to continue their learning at no cost to you and in a safe manner. It also helps them prepare for more digital school learning if things don't get better by the end of the summer. Are you looking to start your own summer camp? Read our guide on how to start a summer camp. Find more helpful summer camp guides on our homepage. For more interactive educational camps, see our list of the best coding summer camps.