Keeping the kids entertained and engaged during the long summer months can be a tough job for parents, but children face enormous challenges, too. With school out schedules so radically altered due to the Coronavirus pandemic, learning can slow to a crawl.
Lack of learning can put kids at a disadvantage when school starts in the fall, but there are ways to keep the learning going all year long. Your kids are probably not anxious to pick up their school books, but there are other ways to learn and stay engaged. Here are some deceptively fun family projects that will encourage learning, curiosity and engagement for kids and their parents.
Build a Birdhouse
Bird watching is a fun and educational family activity, and building a birdhouse is the perfect way to attract some feathered visitors. Your birdhouse doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate; a simple and functional design is all you need!
You can purchase birdhouse kits complete with everything you need, from the wood panels to the finishing touches, making the project easy and fun. If you want to go the extra mile, you can teach your child woodworking skills by building the birdhouse from the ground up.
Open a Bug Zoo
The insect world is a fascinating place, filled with strange & beautiful creatures (including some that that look truly alien!). If your kids love space and long to study alien life forms, a bug zoo could satisfy their curiosity right here on earth.
All you need to start a family bug zoo are a few clean empty jars (with air holes in the lid of course). Once you have those jars, you can fill them with grass and a bit of dirt, then go hunting for the insects that live in your own back yard. You will not want to make your bug zoo permanent, of course. Take some pictures, make some observations, then let your insect friends go free to live their best lives!
Hold a Paper Boat Race
If the kids love the water, a paper boat race is the perfect project for those long summer days. Building and racing paper boats will teach your kits about engineering, science and design, all subjects that will serve them well later in life. And since racing paper boats is also a lot of fun, they'll never know they're learning.
There are countless paper boat designs available online, and they are all good places to start. But if you truly want to challenge your child, encourage them to build their paper boats on their own, using trial and error (and lots of sheets of paper) until they find the design that works best.
Once those paper boats are ready, the race is on! Any body of water will do, from a swimming pool in the backyard to the bathtub in the house.
Enjoy a Nature Hike
There is nothing like a hike to showcase the beauty of nature and the diversity of the natural world. If there is a park with hiking trails in your area, you owe it to your kids to get out and explore.
A nature hike doesn't have to be long to be fun and informative. Even a short jaunt through the woods can be exciting, especially if you and your kids head off trail to explore. If you still have your bug zoo going, you can bring a jar or two and pick up some exotic species to check out at home.