If you haven’t learned something new this summer, there’s still time.  Try something different, explore with your kids, and perhaps live life through their eyes.  You may see the world entirely differently.  New can be very good for a kid; new is necessary.  They need to have new experiences, new learning opportunities, meeting new friends and being made aware of new possibilities.

We know this isn’t always easy. Have plenty of new ideas in your holster, lots of possibilities when the previous one gets turned down.  There’s still time this summer to experiment – a new sport or hobby; maybe sing a new song, build a boat or rocket, maybe even, go back to school.

We’ve come up with 10 new ideas you might try for your kids, leading to happy, well-rounded kids. But the possibilities are endless.  These are simple ideas.  Have fun!  And hopefully you’ll learn something new about yourself and your child.

New Sport!  It seems at times all we do is drive them from one sport to another.  But for lots of kids, it’s the same sport as everyone else: soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.  How about introducing them to some new ones?  Like Archery? Fencing? Water Polo?  Volleyball on the Beach? PingPong?  Kayaking?  Or going to a Polo match? 

Try a New Hobby. Something different.  Cameras are cheap these days. Be a photographer for the day. Equip each member of the family with a camera and go on a family adventure.  Everyone takes a hundred photos and at the end of the day, put it on video.  Depending on your computer, it can take minutes to create a movie with sound, color and action (our Mac has all the tools to do it).  Your family can have a photo shoot as well.  You’ll be surprised at how many great shots you’re left with.  Other hobbies?  What about knitting?  Take the tools out and make something. Build a model something…A boat? A rocket? A shoe rack?  

Just Party! It doesn’t have to be the typical hour and a half birthday party, what about a block party, or getting a group of neighbors or friends together and pitch in for a bouncer, play street games, rent some horses or ponies, and have a big BBQ.  Don’t forget the cotton candy stand and popcorn or even a hot dog cart!  Crank up the music and since and dance. Get the kids involved and give them some responsibilities! 

Camp Out! If you haven’t tried it, tents for 4 or 5 can run you only $50.  Pack up the sleeping bags and picnic basket and go for an old fashion family adventure.  Show the kids that it doesn’t always mean a 4 or 5 star hotel resort, you’ll learn a lot out in the woods.  Lots of camps offer family camping opportunities on their property already equipped with cabins, restrooms and a variety of amenities.  Don’t forget the flashlight, pocketknife, bug spray and a bag of marshmallows.  “Roughing it” may not be all that bad.  Remember Mom, you wouldn’t be the only one responsible for cooking and cleaning because the whole family pitches in.  So why not?

Drive-In Movie! Show the kids the experience of watching a movie the old fashion way.  drive-in movies still exist, and they make a great evening excursion.   Top it off with a trip to the ice cream parlor.  

Exercise (the old fashion way)! Take a Walk. Take a Hike. Ride a Bike. Climb a Mountain…together.  You won’t even know that you’re burning off calories.  Instead of driving to the middle of town, hike it.  Park further away and walk.  Go to the park and run up and down the stairs like Rocky.  Relay race with your kids.  And if you dare, put on the rollerblades and skate with them, or let them blade and you run with them.  There are so many combinations.    

Try different cuisine!  There are so many great foods from all over the world, within reach too!  Why not introduce the kids to it.  Tired of chicken fingers and pizza?   Try Spanish, Cuban, all the different regions of Asia such as Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese or what about a Korean BBQ?  Then there’s Greek, Mediterranean or have they had French?   Kids from these countries all dine on their favorite dishes.  Just ask what kids love. 

Play Music! Sing a Song! One of the best things you can not only do for your kid’s brain, but soul, is introduce them early and often to all types of music: singing, playing, singing and playing.  Learn a new song and teach your kids.  Try different songs…rock and roll one day, country on another day, classic another day, and so on.  Even try famous international songs…a great way to hear another language. 

Shopping!  Teach your kids the value of the dollar.  Give your child a budget and venture to the supermarket or the farmer’s market (it’s smaller and simpler).  Ask them to buy something they like for lunch and dinner, but something nutritious and yummy, but remind them to be mindful of not overspending.  Start with a list of categories ie: drinks, appetizer, entrée, dessert and you’ll see how they love the responsibility. You can do this with back to school shopping too!  

Nothing!  Hey, it’s summer.  Why don’t you and your kids try a little something new called nothing?  Sit on the steps and share a popsicle.  Lay on the grass and look up at the clouds. In the midst of our over-scheduled, over-achieving lives, when we all seem to be in a constant state of becoming, wouldn’t it be great for all of us-adults and kids- to just be in a state of being. Just. Be. Happy Summer!   Enjoy each other.  (And again, try to leave the cell phones behind! Yes, I dare you!)

After you’ve opened your mind to new experiences, you may find new options when you start the new semester.  You’ll be surprised that suddenly you’ll find other classes just as appealing.   Check our online calendars and our What To Do sections for more ideas.

Have a great August!