5 Summer Activities: Look, Listen and Learn

  • 01 of 06

    Look, Listen and Learn


    Summer is a time for kids to have fun, but there's nothing wrong with slipping in a little learning too. Keeping kids busy in the summer is the way to keep them happy. And for the parent who works at home, it is essential that kids can entertain themselves. These 5 summer activities for kids prevent them from simply switching their brains to "off" this summer.

    Next: Let the (Treasure) Hunt Begin

    This is Week 2 in a slideshow series of kids' activities for summer weekdays. Each...MORE slideshow has 5 ideas. To start at Week 1, click here.

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  • 02 of 06

    "Look" Summer Activity: Treasure Hunt

    treasure hunt
    Getty/Peter Muller

    Every kid is a treasure hunter at heart. They love to find stuff, no matter how mundane. Treasure or scavenger hunts are a great way to keep kids having fun while you work.

    A treasure hunt is when a series of clues leads kids to a "treasure," while a scavenger hunt is a search for a list of items. Either way, a parent will likely have to do some advance work  to set this up, but while the hunt is on, he or she she can retire to her office. And if you need some ideas, try one of these 8...MORE Treasure or Scavenger Hunts for Kids.

     Next Activity: Your Child's 15 Minutes of Fame

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  • 03 of 06

    "Look" Summer Activity: Watch Family Movies

    Kids having fun
    Getty/Jupiter Images

    While I'm not a big fan of using the TV as a babysitter while parents work at home (or anytime), I never object to breaking out the home movies. There is nothing kids like more than to watch themselves in action. (At least half of our home movies from when my daughter was a toddler end with her making a grab for the camera saying "Can I see?")

    If you have hours of unedited video, you might want to show the kids how to work the remote (or if they are teens maybe get them going on...MORE editing it). Pull out the photo books, too. Break out the popcorn and let them stroll down memory lane for an afternoon.

     Next Activity: Listen, My Children, and You Shall Hear...

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  • 04 of 06

    "Listen" Summer Activity: Audio Books

    Listening kid
    Getty/Ciaran Griffin

    Kids love stories but for a variety of reasons, they are not always interested in reading those stories themselves. That's where audio books come in. So often parents only think of audio books as entertainment for long car trips, but audiobooks have so much more potential. They can inspire a love of books in kids too young to read. They can encourage establish readers to explore different genres of literature. They can be listened while the child reads the printed book to improve...MORE understanding. (We've done this with summer reading assignments a bit too difficult for my child.)

    And just as they are good for car trips, audio books are good for filling long summer days at home when there is nothing in particular going on. Because they span for hours and are probably listen to over several days, they help kids build their attention spans. Many local libraries carry CD (and even sometimes cassette tape) audio books, but also many have them available for download. Or, you could purchase books from a service like Audible.

    Next Activity: "Audiobooks" For the Next Generation

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  • 05 of 06

    "Listen" Summer Activity: Podcasts

    Girl with headphones

    Audio books are a bit of a commitment for older kids; they can take days or even weeks to listen through until the end. And that is a good thing. But also, kids can develop their listening skills with smaller chunks of audio by subscribing to their favorite podcasts. The great thing about podcasts is that they cover so many subjects in which a child may have a deep interest. Also for younger kids who don't have the attention span for a novel, many kids' podcasts are devoted to short...MORE stories. To find podcasts that your child wants to listen to see these: Podcasts for Kids.

    Next Activity: Just Don't Blow Up The House With This One!

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  • 06 of 06

    "Learn" Summer Activity: Science Fun

    science fun
    Getty/Rebecca Nelson

    So far all the "look" and "listen" activities in this series have provided learning, but science takes both looking and listening to make that learning stick.

    Unless you have teens, or possibly, tweens, these fun science experiments for kids are going to take some adult supervision. But kids love this stuff. And it's educational!

    So carve a little time out of your workday for some science fun. Depending on the activity and the age of your kids, you may be able to bring your...MORE laptop in the kitchen and just watch over the experiments. Just keep your office equipment clear of the Mentos volcano!

    Ready for more things to do this summer? See Week 3 Summer Activities: Take it Outside.

    This concluded Week 2 in a series slideshows of kids' activities for summer weekdays. Each slideshow has 5 ideas. To start at Week 1, click here.