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By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator, Sun Life Family Health Center

Summer break is upon us and in the age of cell phones and video games, it isn’t hard for kids to find something to do on a hot summer day. However, spending too much time with a phone or video game remote control in hand isn’t ideal for anyone, especially when there is plenty of good old-fashioned fun to be had. Here are a few fun and safe activities for children of all ages, to keep them free from boredom and turn a boring day into an amazing fun day.

1. Make a Family Flag — Cut a large rectangle from an old white sheet or pillowcase. Use markers and/or paint to make your own family flag.

2. Make a Puppet Theater — Turn a card table on its side or us a large cardboard box. Make your own paper bag or sock puppets, or simply use dolls and stuffed animals.

3. Paint Rocks — Find rocks and paint funny replicas of your family. Make sure to add googly eyes.

4. Play Tabletop Soccer — Pick teams and have teams sit at opposite ends of a table. Use a ping-pong ball for the soccer ball. Players move the ball by blowing it. To score a goal, a player must blow the ball off the opponent’s edge of the table.

5. Indoor Campout — Hang sheets or blankets over tables or chairs. Let children hangout, snack, and nap in the “tent.”

6. Measure Things — How tall are you? How long is the table? How big around is the tree? How wide is the sidewalk? Give your child a tape measure and work together to find out.

7. Make Paper Airplanes — Look up instructions online on how to make different types. Fold some paper airplanes and hold a contest to see which flies the farthest or stays afloat the longest.

8. Neighborhood Watch — Using old boxes, build a giant robot to protect the neighborhood from “Aliens from Outer Space.”

9. Bowling — Maybe it’s the simple nature of the sport and the obvious lack of tension in the building that puts everyone at ease. Laugh at the gutter balls, and cheer for each other’s strikes.

10. Water Balloon Baseball — My favorite, and even teens will have trouble resisting this silly task of trying to hit a wobbly water balloon with a bat. Your yard will be littered with broken balloon pieces afterward, so entice clean up by offering an ice cream treat to each kid who helps out.

11. Play a Classic Card or Board Game — Playing cards is not only fun, it is a great way to keep kids thinking. A few of my kid’s favorites include; war, slap jack, 21, Rummikub, Monopoly, Catch Phrase, or even pull out the old school domino set.

12. Cook Off or Bake Competition — Anything involving food are always a hit with kids. Putting together a lunch or dinner is also a great way to practice teamwork. Better yet, try a food-tasting contest and have Mom or Dad choose the best tasting dish without knowing whose is whose. Loser does the dishes.

13. Library Story Time — Check with your local library for fun activities, they typically do several for each age group and you can find the ones that are of interest to your child.
14. Movie Marathon — Select a movie series to watch. A few suggestions that my kids love are, the Avengers, Batman, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Get everyone’s favorite ice cream and/or make popcorn. Make it a special event (Tip: check your local library for movie rentals).

15. Volunteer Work — Whether it’s helping at a food bank, or the public library, volunteers are always in need. It is important your children learn that the world really does not revolve around playing video games or silly apps on their phone. There are plenty of fun and rewarding opportunities to volunteer your time. Working side by side with your teen that involves sacrifice for the benefit of another will provide work experience, making new friends, and fun!

Take advantage of summer break and have fun spending quality time with your children. Let your children decide what they would like to do as an activity. You may learn something new about them, and possibly even yourself. Let them take control and participate with enthusiasm! If you can create an experience that includes just one of these activities you will be off and running to fun filled moments and creating memories.

Sun Life Family Health Center wishes you and your family a fun, safe and healthy summer break. To learn more about our office locations and hours, visit www.sunlifefamilyhealth.org.

REFERENCES
1. Lauren Piro. (2017). 40 Boredom-Busting Activities to Do With the Kids. Retrieved from www.goodhousekeeping. com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1389/diy-kids-activities/?slide=24
2. The Myria Editors. (2017). 33 fun summer activities for kids and families. Retrieved from https://myria.com/33-fun-summer-activities-for-kids-and-families
3. Woman’s Day Staff. (2018). Fun Summer Activities That Won’t Break the Bank. Retrieved from www.womansday.com/life/work-money/tips/g1212/summer-activities/?slide=2

TIP OF THE MONTH
Children have a lot of energy to release, be active with them! #OneSmallChange

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