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From Audiobooks to Art Lessons—5 Fun, Digital Activities for Kids

On those overcast days when the surf and sand can’t be part of your summer plan, check out Mighty Mommy’s 5 ways to take advantage of some digital fun. 

By
Cheryl Butler,
June 18, 2017
Episode #433

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When summer vacation finally arrives, our families are ready for a relaxing stretch of fun in the sun, easy-breezy beach days, and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.  There are also plenty of days during the summer break, however, where the weather doesn’t cooperate or we simply need an alternative to being outside, and when that happens our kids are always looking for ways to entertain themselves before they begin to get restless and heaven forbid announce they are bored!

While we as parents continually encourage our children to stay physically active and enjoy plenty of fresh air there are also opportunities where engaging in tech activities are also appropriate and beneficial.  On those overcast days when the surf and sand can’t be part of your summer plan, check out Mighty Mommy’s five ways to take advantage of some digital fun.

#1.  Visit an online camp

Summer camps are plentiful all across the country. Whether it be Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, a swim camp, horseback riding camp, or a cooking or art camp there are hundreds of overnight or day camps for boys and girls to choose from.  Increasing in popularity is also another way to experience camp and that’s by attending one from your very own home—an online camp. 

One innovative and creative pick is Maker Camp.  As described on their website, Maker Camp provides a simple, fun way for kids to get involved in making hundreds of projects. “Our worldwide network of affiliates host Maker Camps in public libraries, community groups, makerspaces, and maker homes. Cool projects are always available here online! More than 1 million kids have participated in Maker Camp since it launched in 2012.”

Some of the projects your child could learn to build are robotics, cell phones, tree houses, and 3-D print works.  Your kids can even invite their friends to join in on a project making this experience fun and interactive.

#2.  Online Space Exploration

Summer is the perfect time to learn more about the moon, stars and the fascinating world of outer space.  National Aeronautics and Space Administration known as NASA has a terrific on-line site for kids ages Pre-Kindergarten thru 4th grade called NASA Kids’ Club.

We discovered this user-friendly site last summer when my daughter was in the 4th grade.  She was able to play a variety of on-line games which support the national education standards in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One of her favorite games was called Windows to Earth which allows you to select various locations throughout the world and see what they look like photographed from space.  The sound effects are very cool and the visuals were really awesome. 

#3.  Audiobooks

When school lets out for summer, many kids want to hang up their backpacks and forget about all the academic requirements they hauled back and forth to the classroom all year long, including library books and other reading material.  Sure, that’s understandable, but even though school’s not in session, staying in the habit of reading, especially during the summer months is super important. 

In Getting Kids to Read Over the Summer, the NEA states that children, especially those from low-income families, can lose up to three months of reading progress over the summer months.  “Rather than a list of required reading or suggested reading that ‘meets academic needs,’ we should offer kids a list of ‘books you won’t be able to put down’ to keep kids engaged in summer reading,” says Missouri educator Kim Broadley. “There are tons of books that students will fall in love with that can be used as hooks to the academically required books.”

One easy and interesting way to engage your child in summer reading is to introduce her to the world of audio books. My kids love audio books because they can listen to them in the car or when they’re doing their chores such as putting their laundry away or unloading the dishwasher.  I recently discovered a wonderful on-line resource called Reading Rockets, a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read.

In their article Listen and Learn with Audiobooks parents can glean some great advice on how to help kids take advantage of the wonderful world of audio books this summer and throughout the school year.  For a wide-variety of interesting audio books for the entire family visit Macmillan Audio.

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