Monday, July 30, 2012
ART HOUR- Paint, sketch, color, collage, sculpt, glitter, stickers, chalk, shaving cream, food coloring, oil pastels…. Try to set aside time everyday (if possible) for your child to create something beautiful.
BLOCK PARTY- Invite the neighbors out for an evening (organized or spontaneous) of friends, food, and fun! Have everyone bring something to share.
CARDBOARD BOX CREATIONS- Let your imagination run wild. You would be surprised how much fun you can have!
DRAMATIC PLAY- Join in on the fun! You can pretend anywhere you go and without a single prop. Try it!!
EVENTS- From city-wide garage sales to Austin City Limits, there is ALWAYS something going on in Austin.
FLY KITES- Get a head-start by practicing now for the Kite Festival held annually at Zilker Park (usually in April).
GLOW STICKS IN THE BATHTUB- You can buy 100 glow sticks for $5.89 at Michaels (with a coupon, even cheaper!)
HELP COOK- Let your child be the sous chef. Mixing, pouring, and measuring are all very important (and fun) jobs!
INTERNATIONAL DAY- Pick a different culture to study for a day. Wear clothes and eat the traditional foods from this culture. This is a great opportunity to expose your child to the world around them.
JUMPY PLACE- No better way to let your child run off some of that endless energy than on an inflatable playscape!
KAYAK or CANOE- Get up close and personal with the turtles on Lady Bird Lake. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat!
LIBRARY- Not only will they let you take some of their books home for three weeks, but they also have a couple kid-friendly computers with educational games! Check out story time, music, and movies at one of the Austin Public Library locations. All you need is a picture ID and proof of address such as a bill, etc.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS FROM ‘JUNK’- A cardboard guitar and a tin can drum is all you need to start a family band!
NATURE WALKS- Collect rocks, sticks, leaves and flowers to make nature collages. Don’t forget the bug spray!
ORGANIZE- Clean out your child’s room (or whole house!). Let your child help in the whole process. Make a pile of items you want to give away. Tell them where the donated items are going and why. Turn cleaning into a game!
PICNIC- Have a picnic in the park or in your backyard. Or set up a pretend picnic with teddy bears in the living room.
QUIET TIME- Everyone needs a little R&R every now and then! Set aside time each day for quiet activities like reading. Read to your child and ask open-ended questions such as, “What do you think is going to happen next?”
ROUND ROCK EXPRESS- Head down to the Dell Diamond for a hotdog and a homerun!
SWIM! SPLASH PADS! Springs! Swimming Holes! SPRINKLERS! SLIP-N-SLIDE! SPLASH AND SCORE! SPRAY BOTTLES! SIX FLAGS! SCHLITTERBAHN! SEAWORLD! SOUTH PADRE ISLAND!
TRIKE, BIKE, OR HIKE- Get out and get moving! APA recommends at least 45-60 minutes of activity daily.
UNDER THE STARS- Camp out in your own backyard (or for real if you’re brave)! Make s ‘mores, shadow puppets, tell stories, & gaze at the stars. Learn the constellations’ names or let your child make them up.
VOLUNTEER- The lesson of compassion and giving back is one we must never over-look. Find time to volunteer to help others. For ideas of organizations in the Austin area click here. Involve your child and set an example for them.
WATER BALLOON TOSS- Can’t be afraid to get a little wet! For an interesting twist, try it with an egg or a sponge.
XYLOPHONES (AND ALL OTHER FORMS OF MUSIC)- Have a Dance Party!!! Get moving and grooving! Be silly…
YARD SALE- A fun way to clean out the house and make some money for some of the more costly summer fun trips.
ZOO TRIP- Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary; Capital of Texas Zoo; San Antonio Zoo; Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch; Cameron Park Zoo
A note from the author, Kalie Nasworthy:
"It all started with a cardboard box I turned into a telephone booth at my daughter's school, the ACC Children's Lab School. I led everyone to believe it was part of a project my boss assigned while she was on vacation, but in all honesty, I was just having fun. Surprised by how much fun I had making it and how much fun the children were having playing in it (even though none of them actually knew what a phone booth was...), I decided to continue the project to include a list of fun ideas for parents with young children particularly in the summer months. In the spirit of convenience, I added hyperlinks to each idea that direct you to a website with more information pertaining to the individual topic. My hope is that in the craziness of life and raising children, at the very least, one parent (or grandparent or aunt or uncle) who reads this list will become inspired to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities in which our children grow and learn from. Play is the ultimate learning tool for children and adults alike. I have to constantly remind myself of this and that it doesn't take a million dollars (or any money at all) and all the free time in the world to have a little fun. Just a tiny bit of motivation and an inkling of creativity! Nursing student by day, creative director by night. Trust me if I can do it, so can you!"