As summer comes to a close, you may find there are days when you are busy doing a thousand things but your child will saunter over and say, “I’m bored!” Well you might have tell them to clean up if they are so bored or you might offer to them some fun creative activities for kids to keep them busy. Today, I am happy to have Leon Scott Baxter, the author of the newly released parenting book, Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting, and the founder of the website SafetyNetters.com share with us his ideas to keep kids busy. He’s been an elementary school teacher for eighteen years so he has a pretty good grasp on fun ideas for kids! Here what he has to say-
5 Fun Creative Activities For Kids
For me one of the worst things about summer is seeing my eleven-year old daughter, Grace, laying on the couch watching The Disney Channel all day long. Granted, she doesn’t have many of these kinds of days, but when she does, it kills me.
It’s summer for goodness sake! She should be outside riding her bike, manning a lemonade stand, or building a fort. But, to be perfectly honest, I remember the excitement of summer vacation as a kid, then two weeks into it complaining to my mom, “I’m bored. What can I do?”
Of course, today, I wonder how can kids be bored, and to be honest, many aren’t because they are glued to a screen. But, screens really aren’t the best ways for kids to spend their summer breaks. If they aren’t in camp or the family isn’t on a summer trip, and they’re stuck at home, instead of giving them a screen to make it through the day, why not give them something to inspire creativity?
Kids who are creative tend to do better once they return to school. They are problem-solvers. They have high self-esteem and are the ones who end up thinking outside the box. But, how do you inspire creativity with your child over the summer?
When she’s not watching The Disney Channel, Grace loves to invent. She enjoys seeing how things work, then trying to create from what she’s learned. So, when I have an electronic I can’t get to work or no longer need, I put it in a box. When she feels the urge during the summer, she’ll start disassembling, and then repurposing. As, I write this, she has taken some pieces from an old doorbell, wires from a science kit, a motor she bought from a store, a light switch and a toilet paper roll, and is attempting to devise a personal fan she can bring with us on our Palm Springs family trip in a couple of weeks.
So, what can you do for your child this summer to help inspire creativity? It really depends on your child, but here are five creative activities for kids to get you started.
If your kid likes constructing, has an active imagination, is always coming up with new creatures or worlds, get him some Legos. It doesn’t have to be Legos. There are all sorts of connecting blocks, but I believe Legos has the best pieces that are easiest to connect to one another. And, forget buying a new box at the store. Those boxes tell your child what to create and exactly how to do it. Go to a thrift shop, a yard sale or search on Craigslist for a box of Legos from a bunch of different kits. Instead of a step-by-step model, their tub of pieces becomes a container of multi-colored creativity that can be anything in the near future.
- Sketch Pad and Markers
Does your child love drawing? Does she doodle on her homework during the school year, on her notepads, on her binder? Is she the type that talks about colors? Does she have a lot of visual ideas, but prefers representing them two-dimensionally versus three-dimensionally? Depending on her age and preference, it doesn’t have to be markers. You could grab her colored pencils, paints, or even charcoal pencils. A blank page in the eyes of a creative child is a gift yet to be opened.
- Journal and a Funky Pen
You child loves to read. He has ideas for stories. He creates up jokes or makes up scenes for his favorite TV shows or has movie ideas. Get him a bound journal and a cool pen is inspire them to keep a journal. I love to write. I’ve been doing it for many years. I used to write in those binders you get for school with a regular ballpoint pen. But, when I was first given a real journal and a pen that was exclusively for my stories (not for writing phone messages or grocery lists) I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper. My brain was always cranking trying to determine what I could add to my journal.
- New Soccer Ball
Doesn’t have to be a soccer ball. Could be a basketball, scooter, jump rope, pogo stick, roller blades, but something that gets your kid up and moving. Is she the kind of kid that loves PE days at school? Is she competitive, jumping and touching the door jams in the house, have the energy of The Loony Toons’ Tasmanian Devil? She probably would benefit from getting out of the house and moving. Movement and exercise brings blood and endorphins to the brain, and that’s where creativity is borne.
- Go to The Home Depot
Yes, that Home Depot. Home Depot holds a free building workshop for kids on the first Saturday of each month. The store supplies all of the materials as well as the instructors, and the kids get to walk away with their finished products: a door hanger, a planter box, birdhouse, or something else. There’s really not much creative leeway at these classes, but hopefully they will inspire your little one to want to continue building. Grab some wood pieces, nails, glue, a hammer and a saw, and (with some adult supervision) have your child have at it. If he can build a birdhouse at Home Depot, why not a picture frame in the backyard? You can find out more just by Googling “Kid Workshops Home Depot”.
Summer is a great time for our kids to take a break from homework and tests and studying, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to turn off their brains. Instead, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore their creativity and passions. There are so many fun activities to do with kids. Screens are an easy way to fill the day when they are bored, but with a little time and effort, and not very much money, we parents can get those creative juices flowing which will make for a memorable summer break. I hope you enjoy these five creative activities for kids. Which one is your favorite?