Fun Ways to Keep Kids’ Minds Active This Summer

Live Healthy

No more homework, no more books … School’s out for summer, and for many keiki, that means long days spent lazing in front of the TV, computer or video game console. 

It’s easy for children to slip into unhealthy habits during the months spent out of the classroom. Studies show that kids are likely not only to gain weight over the summer, but they also can lose a lot of brain muscle – about a full semester’s worth of learning, to be exact. 

The key to keeping your kids mentally and physically fit for the start of school is by keeping them engaged in activities that provide a fun challenge. 

Here are a few ideas. 

  • Explore the Great Outdoors. Look up what flowers, plants and animals are found in your neighborhood, then go on a walk with your keiki. Let them take pictures and field notes of what they see. When you get back home, have them put everything together in a binder. Add more data each week by exploring other hiking trails and beaches. They’ll be amazed at how different each area of the island is! 
  • Let Imaginations Run Wild. Set up a scavenger hunt or obstacle course in your backyard. Create a map with fun instructions like, “Take five giant bullfrog jumps forward, then spider crawl 10 steps sideways to the hibiscus bush.” Have a healthy treat at the end, like fresh fruit or homemade trail mix, to reward them for a job well done. 
  • Experiment in the Kitchen. Cooking and baking are really just science experiments where you can eat the results! You’ll need math skills to count, add and measure out ingredients, while good reading skills makes sure you’re following directions properly. 
  • Go on a Field Trip. Head to the zoo or aquarium to find out more about our animal friends. Or, spend the day touring a museum for an up-close history lesson. Even something as simple as a trip to the farmers’ market can be turned into a learning experience. For example, giving children the chance to talk to farmers and ask questions can spark a greater interest in and appreciation for their food. 
  • Start a Book Club. Go to the local library and let your little one pick out a few books. Once your child finishes one, ask him or her to tell you about it. Who was the main character? What was your favorite thing that happened? Give them a few pieces of paper and crayons to draw out a memorable scene. Or, tell them to imagine what happens next and write it down. Publish their stories in an online blog for family and friends to see. 
  • Encourage New Hobbies. Maybe your child is an all-star on the baseball diamond but has expressed interest in playing the piano. Summer is the perfect time for kids to try something new and step out of their comfort zones. Who knows? They might even discover a talent they can pursue for years to come.

Published on: June 8, 2015