What two words make parents cringe the most? “I’m bored!” It usually comes with a whine and pleading, desperate eyes. Parents know they want to get kids up and active as much as possible in the summer, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. If your idea bucket is empty, these five activities are sure to capture kids’ imaginations and possibly set you up for some much-needed hammock time.
1. Make a movie
Most kids are technologically adept, so turn yours into a junior Scorcese with the Kidizoom® Action Cam by VTech®. Kids can take regular video as well as stop motion or time lapse photos. It comes with a mount for users to videotape themselves on the go—biking, skateboarding or even swimming (it’s good to six foot depth in its waterproof case— perfect for snorkelling). The rechargeable battery lasts 2.5 hours—long enough to get some great action footage, but it’s not limited to sports. Shoot and narrate a nature walk or a stroll through the neighbourhood. The camera has a 1.4” screen on the back making it extra easy to see what you’ve taped. The Kidizoom Action Cam comes with all the cables you need to download the video into your home computer, as well as the mount and attachments for only $70. Memory card additional. Available in gold or purple.
2. Go on a scavenger hunt
All you need is a list of items to get started, but think outside the box. Have your kids look for “something green” or “something round” instead of “leaf” or “ball”. The longer the list, the longer the hunt! TIP: try making it a virtual scavenger hunt and get your kids to take photos of all the items on the list. They still get up and moving, but it allows you to include on your list things that aren’t easily carried or removed (such as a license plate with the letter B). Encourage kids to work together. Award prizes for the most creative, unique or rare finds.
3. Host a backyard triathlon
With the Pan Am Games in Ontario this summer, your family might be tuned to the TV and rooting for Canada. You can bring the games to life in your backyard by creating a swimming/biking/running race. Modify it for your property and your kids’ ages. For instance, no swimming pool? No problem! Try a run through a sprinkler or hop through a couple of kiddie pools. Then get rolling on a bike, trike, blades or skateboard – whatever wheels your kids love. Finish with a running race. To even the playing field, get older kids to run a three-legged race together, or add obstacles like a hopscotch or playground equipment. Be sure to include a finish line for extra drama, and award “medals”. Invite the whole neighbourhood!
4. Sleep in a tent
If you can’t get to a camp ground this summer, a night in a tent might be just the ticket to banish boredom. Roast hotdogs and cook s’mores over the barbecue, then watch the stars come out. Get out the flashlights and make hand shadow puppets on the tent walls. A perfect recipe for a night without TV and tech.
5. Make a bike parade
Start with a bucket of soapy water and a couple of sponges and wash the bikes. Then soup them up with decorations. Snip coloured straws into one-inch pieces, then cut them up the middle to create unique spoke ornaments. Just slide them on in whatever pattern you like. Tape streamers to the handlebars. Don’t forget the helmets, too. Add crepe paper flowers, streamers and stickers to make them special. Then set out on your route. Make it at least a block and choose a time of day when people are outside so they can admire everyone’s handiwork. The more parade participants the better.