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The Great Outdoors with Kids Blog When I was young, I was more of an indoors kid. So much of the summer was brutally hot and I loved to read, so I rarely played outside. I want my kids to have a more balanced experience, so I try to make sure we spend a lot of time out of doors as a family. Here are some fun things we enjoy together: * Remember Red Light Green Light? Or Hopscotch? How about Freeze Tag? Parents can pick out a beloved game from their childhood and teach it to their kids. * On a hot day, get the kids into their bathing suits and turn on the sprinkler, or load them up with water balloons. Water g...

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Keep the Kids Learning All Summer Long Blog Kids can experience learning losses during the summer months away from school. How do I prevent summer learning slide? By letting the kids have funin an educational way. Ive got a few ideas for this summer, and I cant wait to see how much the kids enjoy these activities: Lemonade stand. Well use their allowance to buy supplies, like lemons, sugar, and ice. Then Ill explain to them the most basic of business terms, like income and expenses, and theyll use their math skills to count money and return change. What a sweet way to learn! Secret Trivia Jigsaw puzzles. My kids are old enough...

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Summer Fun for Kids on a Budget Blog Entertaining the kids doesnt have to be pricey, so this summer my goal is to stick to a firm budget. Cutting costs without sacrificing the enjoyment can be tricky, but Im up for the challenge! Heres what Im going to do: Take my kids to the movies. This might seem counterintuitive, but hear me out: a lot of cities have free movie viewings in local parks. We can take a nice, long walk and then relax by watching a classic film. Some theaters also have a summer deals where kids movies are only a dollar to see. Set up a nature scavenger hunt with things that are easily found outdoors, ...

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Make a Summer Creativity Kit Blog In summers past, it wasnt uncommon for my kids to be bored and whining while I was in the middle of doing something and couldnt entertain them. For this summer, Ive made a creativity kit with all kinds of fun arts and crafts supplies inside. The kit is made from an empty Styrofoam cooler, big enough to hold all of the goodies. Kids can decorate the cooler with markers, put their names on it, or to make it look like a pirates treasure chest, or whatever they want. Inside I have markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, sidewalk chalk, crayons, pens, a couple of smocks, watercolors...

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TV-Free Activities for Summer Break Blog Sometimes it seems like my kids would watch TV all day, every day, if I let them. Last summer, to prevent that from happening, I instituted a no-TV policy after 3 p.m. The kids whined and complained when I told them what Id decided, but I promised them they wouldnt be bored--and I was right. Here are five things we did to fill up the long summer afternoons: We played dress-up. I pulled out old Halloween costumes, out-of-style clothing I hadnt worn in ages, and all my hats and scarves and let my kids see what they could come up with. The photos were priceless. I taught my kids how t...

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Trying Out a Staycation With My Kids Blog Staycations are perfect for families on a budget--and for families who find it difficult to travel with young ones. Last summer, my family tried out a week-long staycation. At first, my kids werent particularly excited about it--the idea of spending a week at home with the parents sounded suspiciously like being grounded--but after a couple of days, they saw that it could be a lot of fun. We went letterboxing; checked out a local farm, where the kids got to pick their own strawberries; made a kid-friendly dinner as a family, with strawberry pie for dessert; visited a nearby petti...

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Save It For a Rainy Day Blog Its pouring outside, and the kids are restless. Whats a parent to do? Ive found a few indoor activities that work well for my kids on those summer rainy days. Some were popular enough with the kids that they begged to do them again on sunny days! Here are some of the our old-fashioned favorites: * Imagination: My kids have vivid imaginations, so every once in a while we have a "Pretend Day." Theyll make a fort out of bedsheets and the kitchen table and pretend theyre in a castle, or Ill give them a big cardboard box with a hole cut out of the front and theyll pretend they ar...

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Having Fun While Doing Good Blog When I was young, I always looked forward to the summer for a number of reasons. It was great to have time off from school, of course, but I also looked forward to volunteering with my family through my church. We would all pile into the church bus once a week and head to a retirement community or nursing home, and wed just spend time with the men and women there. I had a lot of fun listening to the elderly folks stories. They, too, were delighted to have someone to talk to. A great way to spend time with the kids this summer is to volunteer together. There are so many different w...

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Starting Summer with Safety in Mind Blog Safety is always a concern for parents. This is especially true during the summer months, when kids are running around outside and generally being more active than normal. Last year, I decided to make a "Summer Safety Kit." The grab-and-go kit was convenient to use, so Ill restock it for this summer. I picked up a cool plastic lunch box to use as a container (its also a good use for one thats been outgrown) and filled it with the following items: * Alcohol swabs * Antibacterial hand cleanser * Cold pack * Cotton swabs and cotton balls * Emergency phone numbers * Insect re...

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