Keeping little ones busy throughout summer is easy

Now that schools all over the Upper Peninsula are either out for summer, or about to be out for summer, what in the world are parents going to do in order to keep their younger kids occupied?

While we think it’s important to allow children to enjoy their summer – nothing’s wrong with a little television, video game or computer time – it’s also imperative to keep the children’s minds in shape. That means coming up with creative ways to entertain kids while letting them exercise their brains as well.

Here are some quick, cheap and easy things to do with children this summer that are fun – sometimes messy – and engaging.

– Use tape or sidewalk chalk on a floor, sidewalk or driveway to create games. Hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, highways for Matchbox cars and other patters can keep kids busy. Use numbers and create games about math or let the children create their own board game. Draw a bulls-eye and assign each circle a number and have them throw a bean bag to try to reach a target number.

– Use school glue and food coloring to allow children to express their artistic side. When wet the glue will allow a toothpick of food coloring to create dazzling masterpieces.

– The summer is a great time to get preschoolers prepared for their first year of school. Fill the top half of a board game box with salt or sugar and have your child copy letters, numbers and words. Have them draw pictures of favorite things. It will get them ahead of the game for the fall.

– Turn a room into a camping site. Allow the children to set up a tent and stock it with all the necessities of camping. Send them on “missions” to find, examine and identify bugs or plants or trees in the yard. Give them binoculars and a magnifying glass and have them report their finds each day.

-?Make an indoor bowling alley using erasers and a marble. Have them keep score and practice addition.

– Create a scavenger hunt around the house and yard with riddles or clues. Give the children a prize when they complete it.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are plenty of safe, fun and easy activities out there that younger children will love. And they won’t even know they’re still learning.