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Archive for June, 2013

School is out and it won’t be long before you hear that common theme from your children or grandchildren “I’m bored! There isn’t anything to do!” To stop summer brain drain, the research supported fact that most children lose part of their prior learning; it is a good idea to keep your children busy, entertained and educated. By planning ahead you will be ready for them. Ideas for low or no cost activities include:Education
• Check with your local library for a summer book or reading program. It may include special activities like magicians, craft programs, fun fairs, or animal programs.
• Look into free family movies – they may be available from your local movie theater, park system, or library.
• Visit the parks – find out if your community or metro park has a summer program. They often have fitness, craft, or fun days planned with community agencies. Even if they don’t have a program, it can be fun to picnic, hike, or feed the ducks.
• Investigate the MyPlate Kids Place – while we want to limit screen time to no more than 2 hours a day of TV, computers, or video games – MyPlate has games, videos and songs for combined fun and learning on rainy days http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/index.html.
• Go Fishing! – In most states children 15 and under can fish without a license – check to find out the laws in your area and visit that favorite fishing spot.
• Visit your State or National parks – while not everything they offer is free – many of their programs are free or low cost. Options include swimming, historical artifacts, nature trails, Park Ranger programs, even hiking virtual trails. A link to the National Parks is http://www.nps.gov/webrangers/ and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Kids site is http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/kids/kidsintro/tabid/19445/Default.aspx.
• Cook together – let your children decide on a few recipes that you will make together each week. Good ideas might be a healthy snack, a new food they have never tried, or a food that reminds them of a time in history (or a state they want to visit or a theme for the week). For example – blueberries or sea food from Maine or Johnny Cakes if you are studying the Civil War. The Nebraska Department of Education has an A to Z list of vegetables and fruits with a variety of ideas http://www.education.ne.gov/ns/nslp/FFVP/BINDERS/Binder1-Food_Service_Resource/FactsNutritionSection.pdf.
• Check with your local College or University to see if they have a College for Kids program. This will likely not be free, but is guaranteed to be very exciting.
• Encourage your children to volunteer – at the food bank, community garden, library, picking up trash, for your church, or helping an elderly neighbor or family member.
• If you run out of ideas check out this Penn State brochure with over 100 ideas – 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy, Penn State, Better Kid Care, http://www.betterkidcare.psu.edu/PDFs/101KidsBusy.pdf.
Try to have ideas each week that involve science, art, reading, history, and physical activity.

Sources listed above.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

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