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Category: Improve Your World

Eight Great Things to Do with Kids This Summer

Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer

Whether you live in a city, a small town or the country, there are always fun things to do with kids if you just put your mind to it. There are places to explore and activities to take part in that are ideal during the summer holidays. It just takes a little thought and some planning to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather.

Here are eight great things to do with your kids this summer no matter where you live. We’re talking about simple inexpensive and mostly free things families with kids can enjoy while staying safe.

1. Interact with nature

The summer months have the best weather to explore the outdoors with kids. Why not go on a bird hike with a bird watching book or wander in the wetland to see what is hiding in the vegetation. Go on a geocaching pirate treasure hunt and collect plant species. Kids also enjoy forest walks and nature play with their parents. Teach your kids how to press flowers, find a pet rock to decorate or create a nature collage from their explorations.

2. A star gazing party

Have you ever heard of a scavenger hunt in the sky? Download a star finder app and have a star party. The best thing about these apps is that you can find the locations of stars even during the day. Point it to the ground and you will see the exact location of stars you’ve never seen on the other side of the world. Of course, going out at night is even more exciting when kids can see the names highlighted of visible stars in the night sky. A star locator also helps you to find and follow the directions of constellations in the sky.

3. Camping in the backyard

Camping is what you make of it. You don’t have to go to a campground to have fun. Gather up some sleeping bags, a tent, and some flashlights. Bring out blankets and pillows from your bedroom. The kids will enjoy sleeping outside with you and there will be no complaints that there is nothing fun to do at home. It can also be inexpensive to buy a portable backyard fire pit and purchase a small bundle of firewood at a local store. If you don’t have a backyard, you can pitch a tent in your living room or basement.

4. Go for a walk

How far can you walk as a family within an hour? If you have a toddler, how far can he/she walk before getting tired? Challenge your kids to experiment on that. Kids love it when you take ordinary activities and give them a fun twist. Make a loop while you’re at it, or take a new route home just to spice things up. Go for a self-guided walking tour around your neighborhood.

If you are close to where you grew up, drive to the town or neighborhood and take the kids on a walking tour. This is your chance to talk about your children with real memories connected to where you used to play.

5. Teach them how to swim

Whether you go to a local pool or a local or faraway beach, teaching kids how to swim is also a great way to cool off while learning something new. If you cannot make it to a beach or a pool it may be worth looking into buying a small above ground backyard pool. It doesn’t take much water to teach kids the basics, including how to tread water, which is a basic survival skill all kids are taught while taking swimming lessons. Swimming is also a chance to bond as a family on more personal level while having fun.

6. Hold a dance party

Teach your kids how to find a rhythm when dancing to a song. Share with them some fun dance moves that you learned when you were young. They will love experiencing your earlier life. Take turns as a family choosing each person’s favorite song to dance to. Or just sit in your living room and discover the music while each family member shares why each song is one of their favorites.

7. Teach them to cook

Cooking is an essential life skill that your young ones should possess. Download cooking tutorials or watch YouTube videos to learn recipes for different meals. If you have traveled outside the country and learned to cook a foreign meal, teach that to the kids. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kitchen safety. Who knows, maybe it will develop a routine of everyone taking turns helping with weekly meals.

8.   Plant a flower

Kids generally think that working in the yard is hard and boring. So why not start with teaching them how to plant a flower or plant. It can be an enjoyable positive experience learning how to dig a hole, fertilize the ground and plant a flower they can take care of. They will be able to watch it grow throughout the summer. It can also be a good segue into teaching your child how to pick weeds to keep all the plants healthy.

Conclusion

May this be a fun and creative summer that will build lasting memories for both your and your kids. Who knows, maybe it will inspired everyone in the family to come up with new ideas for great summer fun.

Whether you live in a city, a small town or the country, there are always fun things to do with kids if you just put your mind to it. There are places to explore and activities to take part in that are ideal during the summer holidays. It just takes a little thought and some planning to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather.

Here are eight great things to do with your kids this summer no matter where you live. We’re talking about simple inexpensive and mostly free things families with kids can enjoy while staying safe.

1. Interact with nature

The summer months have the best weather to explore the outdoors with kids. Why not go on a bird hike with a bird watching book or wander in the wetland to see what is hiding in the vegetation. Go on a geocaching pirate treasure hunt and collect plant species. Kids also enjoy forest walks and nature play with their parents. Teach your kids how to press flowers, find a pet rock to decorate or create a nature collage from their explorations.

2. A star gazing party

Have you ever heard of a scavenger hunt in the sky? Download a star finder app and have a star party. The best thing about these apps is that you can find the locations of stars even during the day. Point it to the ground and you will see the exact location of stars you’ve never seen on the other side of the world. Of course, going out at night is even more exciting when kids can see the names highlighted of visible stars in the night sky. A star locator also helps you to find and follow the directions of constellations in the sky.

3. Camping in the backyard

Camping is what you make of it. You don’t have to go to a campground to have fun. Gather up some sleeping bags, a tent, and some flashlights. Bring out blankets and pillows from your bedroom. The kids will enjoy sleeping outside with you and there will be no complaints that there is nothing fun to do at home. It can also be inexpensive to buy a portable backyard fire pit and purchase a small bundle of firewood at a local store. If you don’t have a backyard, you can pitch a tent in your living room or basement.

4. Go for a walk

How far can you walk as a family within an hour? If you have a toddler, how far can he/she walk before getting tired? Challenge your kids to experiment on that. Kids love it when you take ordinary activities and give them a fun twist. Make a loop while you’re at it, or take a new route home just to spice things up. Go for a self-guided walking tour around your neighborhood.

If you are close to where you grew up, drive to the town or neighborhood and take the kids on a walking tour. This is your chance to talk about your children with real memories connected to where you used to play.

5. Teach them how to swim

Whether you go to a local pool or a local or faraway beach, teaching kids how to swim is also a great way to cool off while learning something new. If you cannot make it to a beach or a pool it may be worth looking into buying a small above ground backyard pool. It doesn’t take much water to teach kids the basics, including how to tread water, which is a basic survival skill all kids are taught while taking swimming lessons. Swimming is also a chance to bond as a family on more personal level while having fun.

6. Hold a dance party

Teach your kids how to find a rhythm when dancing to a song. Share with them some fun dance moves that you learned when you were young. They will love experiencing your earlier life. Take turns as a family choosing each person’s favorite song to dance to. Or just sit in your living room and discover the music while each family member shares why each song is one of their favorites.

7. Teach them to cook

Cooking is an essential life skill that your young ones should possess. Download cooking tutorials or watch YouTube videos to learn recipes for different meals. If you have traveled outside the country and learned to cook a foreign meal, teach that to the kids. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kitchen safety. Who knows, maybe it will develop a routine of everyone taking turns helping with weekly meals.

8.   Plant a flower

Kids generally think that working in the yard is hard and boring. So why not start with teaching them how to plant a flower or plant. It can be an enjoyable positive experience learning how to dig a hole, fertilize the ground and plant a flower they can take care of. They will be able to watch it grow throughout the summer. It can also be a good segue into teaching your child how to pick weeds to keep all the plants healthy.

Conclusion

May this be a fun and creative summer that will build lasting memories for both your and your kids. Who knows, maybe it will inspired everyone in the family to come up with new ideas for great summer fun.

What Did You See? Checking Facts before you Judge

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

5 Little Things That Make the World Better

Every morning you wake up to a new day. You have a fresh day to have fun, get into trouble, be lazy, eat something tasty—and make the world better. Here are 5 LITTLE THINGS that take only seconds, and you can do them! When you do one every day, you make the world a better place.

1. Pick up a piece of garbage.

That’s all. You see a gum wrapper in a parking lot—pick it up and put it in the trash bin. It may seem small, but this one little act makes your world a little better every time you do it! And if you pick up a piece of garbage every day of your life, imagine the pile. That is the difference you can make.

2. Give someone a compliment.

“Hey, good job on that paint job.” “I like how you got that program to work.” “Cool moves!” No matter who you hang with, no matter what you are doing, you will have a chance to say something positive to someone in your life. That kind act can make a huge difference to the person you compliment. That person will feel better and think better about the world—and you. And it’s so easy. Practice on your parents.

3. Learn one thing every day.

We’re not talking about the learning you do at school or that stuff your parents keep reminding you about. You have eyes and ears and a brain that takes in the world. Ask yourself one thing about what you see or hear and find the answer.

You only need to do this once a day to get into the habit of thinking. You could be riding your bike and think: When did humans first discover the wheel? You could see a weird looking bird and wonder what kind of bird it is. Why do you have those two sharper teeth on the sides of your mouth?

By asking questions and looking for answers, you will make the world a better place, because the world needs more people who think and look for knowledge.

4. Say thank you.

Like giving people compliments, when you thank someone, you are connecting with that person. The more people connect—even when it’s just thanking a clerk who hands you a napkin—the world become a little better.

5. Smile! 🙂

Every morning you wake up to a new day. You have a fresh day to have fun, get into trouble, be lazy, eat something tasty—and make the world better. Here are 5 LITTLE THINGS that take only seconds, and you can do them! When you do one every day, you make the world a better place.

1. Pick up a piece of garbage.

That’s all. You see a gum wrapper in a parking lot—pick it up and put it in the trash bin. It may seem small, but this one little act makes your world a little better every time you do it! And if you pick up a piece of garbage every day of your life, imagine the pile. That is the difference you can make.

2. Give someone a compliment.

“Hey, good job on that paint job.” “I like how you got that program to work.” “Cool moves!” No matter who you hang with, no matter what you are doing, you will have a chance to say something positive to someone in your life. That kind act can make a huge difference to the person you compliment. That person will feel better and think better about the world—and you. And it’s so easy. Practice on your parents.

3. Learn one thing every day.

We’re not talking about the learning you do at school or that stuff your parents keep reminding you about. You have eyes and ears and a brain that takes in the world. Ask yourself one thing about what you see or hear and find the answer.

You only need to do this once a day to get into the habit of thinking. You could be riding your bike and think: When did humans first discover the wheel? You could see a weird looking bird and wonder what kind of bird it is. Why do you have those two sharper teeth on the sides of your mouth?

By asking questions and looking for answers, you will make the world a better place, because the world needs more people who think and look for knowledge.

4. Say thank you.

Like giving people compliments, when you thank someone, you are connecting with that person. The more people connect—even when it’s just thanking a clerk who hands you a napkin—the world become a little better.

5. Smile! 🙂

Nature vs Tech: Why Outdoors Activities Are Essential

Safe Teens and Techonology

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

Here is an easy to follow infographic from My Open Country that explores the mental and physical benefits of spending time outside.

The Benefits of Being Outside

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

Here is an easy to follow infographic from My Open Country that explores the mental and physical benefits of spending time outside.

The Benefits of Being Outside