If you’re like me, you’re always looking for some fun things for the kids to do that don’t involve “screens” of any kind. By that I mean computer, TV, iPod, video game, you get the idea…
Here are a couple of books that are loaded with some of the fun things we did as kids and some new ideas that I can’t wait to try with my boys.
Summer Fun! 60 Activities For a Kid-Perfect Summer by Susan Williamson is a great resource full of creative things to do. Here’s a look at some of what you will find inside:
- chapter 1 – stilts, boomerangs, yo-yos, fortune cookies, and bubbles
- chapter 2 – bug hotel, bats, and toads
- chapter 3- strawberry jam, pretzels, and floppy hats
- chapter 4 – rain gauge, sign language, Morse code, and puppets
- chapter 5 – art projects, solar system supper, camping out, and nighttime fun
- chapter 6 – redecorate your bedroom, drawing a floor plan, fun with string and yarn
- chapter 7 – learn a new skill, clouds, and sand painting
- chapter 8 – trees, mud, and beach fun
Also scattered throughout the chapters are sidebars entitled “Making a Difference” suggesting activities that involve doing something nice for someone else. The author also manages to squeeze in segments with summer reading selections that tie in with the activities.
This book is a very practical resource aimed at kids ages 7-12. They will be able to complete most of the activities by themselves but a few will require adult assistance.
Another title I found useful is The Kid’s Summer Games Book by Jane Drake and Ann Love. This is a book jam-packed with the instructions for all those old games we played as kids like Spud and croquet. There are games for groups or just one or two. There are games that you can make, like Pick-Up sticks and Bingo. They have water games and games for indoors on rainy days. There are even instructions for setting up a miniature golf course with things commonly found around most households. The only caution I would have is that the book does contain some card games including poker. If your family has strong feelings about card playing you might want to skip that section of the book.
Finally, if you really want to step back in time and wonder how folks entertained themselves before all the electronic gadgets we have today, you might enjoy looking through a book called Early Pleasures and Pastimes by Bobbie Kalman. This book has some delightful old-fashioned pen-and-ink illustrations and explores activities like hopscotch, marbles, farmyard games and jump rope. There are great discussions of picnics and festivals, family celebrations and holidays. It takes a refreshing look at times gone by when family and friendship were the most important ingredients to having fun.