Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Things to Do With Your Kids

By Christina VanGinkel

As summer winds down, some of you may be running low on ideas for things to do with your kids. As a mother of three, and grandmother of one, I thought I would see if I could make a list of all the different things I have done with my own children and grandson throughout the years to give you inspiration, or to just jumpstart you into action. After all, spending time with our kids is one of the best reasons for why we gave birth to them in the first place.

Read a book together
Visit a museum, even small towns often have local museums dedicated to their area or a past local celebrity. Our small rural area actually has four that come instantly to mind. One is dedicated to the mining history of the area, and one is a personal museum of antiques put together by a local man and his wife over two decades ago, and is continually being added to. The third is similar, but much newer, and the fourth is a town over and is dedicated to the local wood mills that have been a big portion of our local job force for close to a century
Go to the library. Many libraries have programs even for the youngest kids.
Take a walk, pick berries, or bring along binoculars and try your hand at bird watching.
Go swimming at the lake or community pool.
Look for caterpillars to watch hatch into butterflies.
Visit a pumpkin farm together in the fall.
Plant a garden together in the spring. If you live in an apartment, plant a small box garden.
Cook together.
Take a photography class together, or some other type of class that would interest you both.
Teach your older child to knit or crochet.
Do crafts together.
Join a playgroup.
Pull out the coloring books and crayons and create a masterpiece to hang on the refrigerator as a joint project. I still do this with my youngest son who is a strapping twelve-year-old tough guy. I always tell him he will never be too old to color, as I find it to be one of the best ways to relax!
Do some simple science experiments together, such as creating a volcano with baking soda and vinegar. Alternatively, make a tornado by taking two 2-liter soda bottles, filling one of them three quarters full with water, then, minus bottle caps, tape the second bottle to the top of the first and tip upside down and watch as the water forms a tornado as it swirls into the second bottle.
Work on a scrapbook together.
Play a computer or board game together.
Let your older child teach you a Sony or Xbox game.
Go camping or on a trail hike.
Blow bubbles.
Go fishing. If your state has a fish free weekend, take advantage of this if you normally would not be in possession of a license.
Make paper airplanes and see who can fly theirs the furthest.
Have a picnic together. Make it as simple or as elaborate as you want.

No matter what you decide to do, remember as long as you are spending time with your kids, it is time well spent!

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