School's Out For Summer

The lazy days of summer will be here before we know it. Suddenly, there will be no homework and little to keep your teens and tweens occupied. Encourage them to continue to exercise their bodies and their minds by keeping busy even while they aren’t at school.

Kids still need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily to stay healthy. This can be more of a challenge in the summer without regularly scheduled recesses and gym classes.

1. Family time. Take a walk with the dog after dinner, a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood or play catch in the park. Your children are more likely to be active if you are too.

2. Chore time. Tweens and teens can help with many household chores such as vacuuming, dusting, watering flowers, weeding beds or car washing. Busy or elderly neighbors might appreciate assistance also.

3. Biking, swimming or hiking on vacation. A trip to a museum, zoo or aquarium will not only get their feet moving, they’ll learn something new too.

4. Sign up for a new sport or activity. Try something new - your local community or youth center will have plenty of activities available for all ages.

5. Try summer camp. Your community or church may have opportunities for day camps or sleep away camps where your kids can learn new skills such as rock climbing, archery, canoeing, cooking, baking or crafting.

Easing back to school in the fall should be smooth sailing with these ideas to engage their brains.

1. Limit electronics. Kids shouldn’t spend more than two hours per day on digital devices.

2. Community service projects. Help your teen or tween find something they find interesting or volunteer as a family.

3. Find a summer job. Teens must be at least 14 years old to legally work at most jobs, but younger kids can help with simple yard work, pet sitting or baby sitting duties.

4. After school activities. If your child belongs to an after school activity, find out if the school offers the program over the summer.

5. Encourage reading. Set aside family reading time each week and help your kids select books they will enjoy.

6. Tutor. Find a tutor over the summer to hone your child’s skills or encourage your child to tutor others if they excel in a subject.

7. Brain games. Logic puzzles and brain teaser books are great, especially on rainy days. Try sudoku, crosswords, word search, or trivia books.