1. Health
Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Summer Fun for Kids

By July 9, 2011

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Stickball - Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSchools out for most kids.

Time for some summer fun.

That could mean a little extra work for parents though if you don't live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids that encourage the type of active free play that many parents remember from their own summers.

I can remember that our summers, in addition to an occasional trip to the beach, would include a walk to the store to see who had enough money to buy a Spaldeen rubber ball. We would then fill the day playing stoop ball, off the wall, stickball, etc. Sometimes, we would play skelsies too, which is a game like marbles, but you shoot a bottlecap, half-filled with a melted crayon, on a chalk board made on the sidewalk.

We would also play with our baseball cards - games in which you try to win everyone else's cards. Of course that was before everyone considered baseball cards to be collector's items. Now, if your kids actually open a pack, they wouldn't dream of carrying their cards around or flipping or tossing them in a game.

So how do you get your kids to have some fun this summer with real-life friends and not just friends they are playing with online? One easy way is to set limits on screen time (TV, internet, phone, and video games), so that your kids have to find something else to do.

Turning off the TV and computer is easy though. Finding things to fill up the rest of the day can sometimes be hard, but that can be easier too if you consider:

  • using this as an opportunity to introduce your kids to some of your favorite activities and games from your own childhood
  • going outside and playing with your child, which might prompt other kids in the neighborhood to come outside and play too
  • setting up playdates if you don't have a lot of kids nearby, or arrange meetings at a nearby park and take turns with other parents watching the kids
  • looking for day camps, which are widely available in most areas during the summer, and can include sports camps, music camps, and even camps for kids who like Lego, playing chess, or want to learn more about robotics
  • visiting local museums and other nearby attractions that you may not have visited in a while
  • going to the local library for story time and to borrow books (yes reading can be fun for many kids during the summer, especially if they choose their own books)
  • making a list of fun summer activities to complete before the end of summer

What are you doing to help your kids have fun this summer?

In addition to trying to order some Spaldeens, I think I'm going to look for some bottlecaps, crayons, and chalk, and see if I can scare up a game of skelsies.

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Comments
July 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm
(1) Jill Mays says:

Thanks for reminding parents that good old fashioned play is really important for kids. For more reasons why this actually helps children with cognitive and emotional growth, visit TheMotorStory.com or pre-order Your Child’s Motor Development Story from on-line bookstores. Along with the “why’s of the importance of play” lots of suggested activities are provided!

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