Warm, sunny days are the perfect setting for making family memories, but they’re also ideal opportunities to encourage kids to get creative and let their imaginations soar.
These ideas for summertime activities encourage family interaction. So remember that the more kids get to help plan and organize the details, the more engaged you can expect them to be.
Visit our great parks
Pack all of the kids’ favorite snacks and beverages so they can keep cool and hydrated. Choose a spot under a big shady tree at any of the outstanding parks in the area and spread out for an impromptu picnic. Be sure to bring along outdoor toys for a game of catch or lighten the load and create a nature scavenger hunt with different types of leaves, rocks and flowers for kids to discover. If they come across an unfamiliar plant or animal, snap a picture with your phone so you can do some research on it when you get home. Encourage the kids to draw or design a piece of art reflecting the things they saw.
The water sponge challenge
Cool off from the Lowcountry heat with a fun and refreshing water fight with a few creative twists. First grab sponges or water sponge balls and a full bucket of water. The sponges are reusable so you can use them all summer long. Then organize teams with kids against adults or everyone fending for themselves. Encourage kids to devise their own blockades and targets or adapt a classic game like baseball or dodgeball using water sponges in place of the usual balls. You could also do a sponge scavenger hunt to load up everyone’s buckets before the dousing begins.
Create watercolor paintings
Away from school, kids sometimes have fewer opportunities to practice expressing their ideas and getting creative. Fun tools can make an artistic session more exciting. For example, blending brush pens with water and a paint brush can create fun, pastel watercolor paintings with minimal mess. These pens are conveniently double-ended with a paint brush-like tip on one end and fine marker tip on the other so you can precisely draw a design then create softer swirls of color using water and a brush.
Go on an animal quest
Spend an afternoon at the S.C. Aquarium in search of animals you don’t see around your home. The visit also may provide a good opportunity to talk about the concept of extinction and why certain animals are on the list. Follow up the visit with an activity that reinforces how everyone has a role in conservation and look for ways to help protect each family member’s favorite animal.
Turning recycling into a home zoo
Combining a creative activity with an important message such as conservation can help kids grasp big concepts about keeping animals and the earth safe and happy. Use recycled materials such as cardstock and “junk” from your recycling bin as well as hot glue and colored pens or pencils to have your kids create an art project featuring a favorite animal or one they’ve seen at a park or zoo. Simply piece items together to look like the animal as well as its habitat like trees, grass or the dessert. Then hot glue the items to the cardboard base and use pens or pencils to add details. Have your budding artists create a whole recycled animal zoo!
Family Features contributed to this story.