|New Smyrna Beach|
1. Legos: I want to kiss the hand of the genius who created Legos. All the boys need are a few Lego pieces and their imagination and the result is hours of fun. Give them an entire box of Legos and you may have to check to see if they are alive. Make sure that the pieces are age appropriate and don't panic when he asks for help in building a battleship or spy airplane. Don't forget to gush over the resulting masterpiece. Soon you will also be able to take them to Legoland.
|Wekiwa State Park|
3. Bubbles: Bubbles are inexpensive and awesome for younger kids. All my boys love them, even the 6 year old! If you walk through your local mall, you will likely find a vendor selling a bubble gun. I was hesitant to spend the $12 but it has provided hours of fun.
4. Backyard Water Park: If you have a backyard, invest in water toys (water sprayer, sprinkler, water slides). This is one of the most requested activity at my house. I always lament about having to dry them off and change their clothes but the reward is hearing the sounds of laughter and pure joy.
5. The Great Outdoors: Get the kids outside and away from the TV and the DSI. Take them bike riding on a local trail or to the local park. Growing up, I used to love camping but I have grown fearful as an adult; the thought of bears or snakes usually keep me close to home. Since I don’t want to pass on that fear to the boys, I smile as we hike through the local state park. There is nothing that boys enjoy more than open space to run, swimming in a creek and discovering exotic worms and bugs. Use this link to find a National Park close to your home.
6. Games Centers: Venues such as DisneyQuest, Monkey Joe’s, and Chuck E. Cheese are a safe, kid-friendly environment designed just for them. Now I know parents who would rather get a root canal then venture into Chuck E. Cheese but just bring a good book or your laptop and watch them laugh and play for a few hours. We recently spent 5 hours at DisneyQuest and I had to drag them out with a promise that we would return soon.
7. Children’s Museums: Forget about those stuffy museums where kids have to be quiet! While some of those museums are going the way of the dinosour, some children’s museums are thriving! My boys love the Orlando Science Center because they can experiment with hurricanes, build a train and conduct many cool experiments. Here are some helpful links to find an age appropriate museum for your child.
8. Summer Camps: Do you remember your first summer camp? Day camps, weekly camps, and overnight camps are all great fun for the kids. There are so many camps available that it was really hard to select one. The key is to chose a camp that is compatible with the your child’s age and passion. Most of my friends are sending their kids to several over the summer. I was looking for a mix of fun and educational activities so it took a few weeks to find the right camp. The general rule is that if you have boys any camp with sports and/or a water play will be a hit.
9. Grandma’s House: A friend recently told me that she was taking the kids across the country to visit different relatives over the summer. I love that idea! You can reconnect with relatives and the kids will discover a new cousin and get to explore new cities and towns. If you can survive the constant cries of “are we there, yet”, a family road trip is both fun and educational.
10. Theme Parks: Have you made the pilgrimage to Disney? It is a right of passage for every kid, especially if you live in Florida, so even if the idea of standing in long lines in unbearable heat to see Mickey scares you, just check it off the list and move on. There are fantastic theme park all across the country. I still remember driving from Philadelphia to New Jersey every summer to visit the Great Adventure theme park. Here is a list of all the theme parks in the Americas. I would love to try the Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril, Jamaica, so take me with you if you go.
How are you keeping your kids happy and engaged this summer?