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Posts Tagged ‘children’s activities’

Most schools have either finished up in the last week, or will be wrapping up in the next week or so. Initially everyone in the family is excited and there are lots of ideas of what to do – but it doesn’t take long and we hear those famous words “I’m bored! I can’t find anything to do!” As adults it isn’t our job to plan their days to the extent that schools do, with a new activity every 45 minutes, but we do need to keep them engaged so they don’t watch TV or play video games all day – everyday. Some parenting experts even suggest that a little boredom  isn’t a bad thing for children; it is a way for them to learn how to fill their own time and learn what makes them happy. Several of these experts suggest developing a family list of things to do whenever you say “I’m bored”. When children say “I’m bored” they need to pick something off the list to do. Depending on the age of the child this might include:

  • Playing cards or other games
  • Puzzles
  • Coloring or other crafts like playdough
  • Reading
  • Bubbles
  • Science experiments like making your own slime (Click here for recipes from Penn State).
  • Hula hoops
  • Playing dress up – chef, teacher, police officer, farmer, etc
  • Building sets or blocks
  • Music or dancing
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Riding bikes
  • Sandbox time
  • Writing their own play to act out a book they read
  • Playing or caring for the family pet

If parents or grandparents work with children to do a little research, you can typically find a variety of activities that are offered in your area (with many at low or no cost) to include one or two days a week as well. You may want to select a day of the week that you will do one of these “away” activities, or develop a calendar that they can see to know which day you will do something next. Look for these activities from:

  • City parks or recreation – pools, craft sessions, fishing, free lunches, or lessons.
  • Museums or State/National Parks – Junior park ranger programs, historical reenactments, volunteer opportunities.
  • Free movie programs – at local cinemas, libraries, or parks.
  • YMCA or Boys/Girls Clubs – Day Camps, events or lessons (like swim, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, etc).
  • Summer Reading Programs and Events at Libraries – typically include reading programs for all ages, volunteer opportunities for teens, carnivals, crafts, and author events.
  • School or University Programs – many offer a week of special camps, often at a very low cost. In my area they include technology camp, art programs, Chinese camp, space camp, and summer sports camps.
  • Bowling – The Kids Bowl Free Program is offered at hundreds of bowling lanes around the country. This program allows children to bowl 2 free games per day and adults of families who participate can pay a reduced price as well. My family took advantage of this program for several years.
  • Extension or 4-H Programs – Check with your local university Extension or 4-H Office for summer camps or programs that are available. Some may require a membership, but others are open enrollment. Possibilities are Space Camps, STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math Programs, Cooking Camp, Babysitter Trainings, or traditional 4-H Camp.

Try these ideas for the “I’m bored!” crew and don’t forget it is OK for them to be a little bored. Children should use that time to develop their own hobbies and interests. Remember to limit TV and internet time to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day. Excessive TV viewing can contribute to sleep problems, obesity, behavior problems, and risky behavior.

Sources:

Penn State Extension, http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare/early-care/our-resources/tip-pages/tips/make-your-own-mixtures.

University of Michigan, Medicine, http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm.

 

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

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Many people are experimenting with coloring or dyeing eggs with natural dyes – have you been thinking about trying it? My family has a tradition to dye eggs with onion skins that we always called “Bunny Eggs”. These beautiful brown/golden eggs have a marbled look that adults especially love. If you are interested in trying to dye eggs naturally here are a few tips:

  • Start by making hard boiled eggs – use un-cracked eggs that have been boiled in a covered pot for 4 minutes, then left in the covered pot (removed from the stove) for 15 to 17 minutes. At that point place pot in sink and cover with cold water, let eggs sit in cool water until completely cool. Dry eggs. If you can’t color eggs right away, refrigerate them.
  • To make your natural dye – place a small amount of your natural material in a pot of 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil, and simmer for up to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove materials and cool in the refrigerator.
  • Once dye is cool – add hard cooked egg and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Soak to desired color.
  • If you want to be able to eat the eggs, they must be kept refrigerated and only at room-temperature for 2 hours or less. These would not be eggs you would hide in the grass for example or someplace that animals could get to them.

Ideas for natural dyes:

Blue or purple – grape juice, red grapes, blue or blackberries, or red cabbage.

Brown – coffee grounds, black tea, or walnut shells.

Orange – ground cumin.

Yellow – orange or lemon peels, curry powder, or dandelions.

Pink – red beets.

Green – fresh cranberries.

Yellowish green – spinach.

Dark yellow/brown/rust – onion skins.

If you want a marbled effect to the dye, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the water before adding your egg in the dyeing process.

My family makes our eggs with onion skins wrapped around the raw eggs, with a piece of cheese cloth tied around it. Then the eggs are boiled. It takes a fair amount of skins, so you may need to buy a bag of onions. (Cheese cloth is usually found with canning materials or at the hardware to be used with staining of furniture.)

Hard boiled eggs that have been properly stored by refrigeration can be eaten for up to one week. Eggs are best not stored in the refrigerator door.

What natural egg dyes do you plan to try this year? I froze some cranberries and can’t wait to see what happens when using them to make a natural egg dye.

Sources:

Penn State Extension, http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/adams/news/2015/dare-to-dye-differently-natural-dying-of-easter-eggs.

University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/03/dyeing-eggs-the-natural-way/.

University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/youth/printer-friendly/coloringeggs.pdf.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

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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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