Summer Ideas for Interesting Kids

(pdf available below)

Summer is great for relaxing, playing, and being with friends.   But it is also a great time to explore and keep the brain active.

Do 4 of these each week – report to your favorite adult.

 

Go:

Bike to Grass Lake or Diamond Lake.   Can you find frogs?  A garter snake?  

Walk or bike to the Washburn Water Tower.   What's the story behind the architecture?

Walk or bike to the Lake Harriet Rose Garden.   Have lunch by one of the fountains.

Go fishing at Lake Nokomis. 

Visit:   Minneapolis Institute of Art (I especially like the jade carvings);  Science Museum, Walker Art Center,  Foshay Tower,  Landmark Center,   Minnehaha Falls,  James J. Hill House,  Hennepin County History Museum,  Bakken Museum,  Weisman Art Museum,  Como Zoo,    . . .

Wood Lake Nature Center,  Hyland Park Nature Reserve,  Minnesota Arboretum,  Peace Garden at Lake Harriet,   . . .

Minnehaha Falls,  Ard Godfrey House,  Hidden Falls

 

Read:

Re-read a favorite book.

Pick a non-fiction book to read  (about a famous composer, or sports hero, or historical event, or disaster, or inventor, or animal).

Re-read  a Dr. Seuss or Frog and Toad book.  

Read a book that an older sibling or parent has already read.   Discuss it with them.

Pick a new book from the library each week.

 

Imagine:

Make a spiderweb from string.   Build a spider to go with it.

Go on a safari in your yard.    What dangers must you overcome?

Write a newspaper.

 

Research:

Plan a trip to a state park.   What counties do you go through?   What roads do you take to get there?   What might you see on the way and when you get there?  How long will it take?

Find out more about Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, Kamehameha, Shaka Zulu, Confucius, Little Crow, Aristotle, Isaac Newton,  the Wright Brothers . . .

Identify a bird in your neighborhood.  Look it up.   Find out 5 things about it.   Does it spend all year here or does it migrate?   What does it sound like?   What does it eat?  

Identify a plant in your yard or around the neightborhood.  Look it up.  Find out 5 things about it.   What is its Latin name?   What does the name mean?   What family is it in?   How can you tell it apart from similar plants?   Can it be used for food or ???

Pick a country.   Read about it, become an expert, prepare a poster or Powerpoint presentation about it.

Find out how to oil and maintain your bike.  

Learn how to sew a button on a shirt.  

Learn a new solitaire game.  

Learn the alphabet in American Sign Language.   (Or find out how to say “Thank you,” “Excuse me,”  or 3 other phrases in another language.)

 

Explore:

What’s in the basement closet?  Are you allowed to look? 

Look at every plant, every bug, every speck in a 30 cm by 30 cm (1 ft x 1 ft) square of yard, woods, or field.  Patterns?  Details? Suprises?

Play with a calculator to find patterns with large or small numbers, or decimals and fractions. 

Figure out what each of the buttons on a calculator does.

Spend an hour looking under a rock, up at the sky, or in shallow water.   What do you find?

Where could you hide if zombies were after you?    Find 5 places around home, yard, and neighborhood.

 

Practice:

Pick any 5 numbers (choose yourself or find in a newspaper or magazine).   Can you arrange them (using any signs (- + x / ) to end up = 100? 

Create and solve a long division problem, a tax or % problem,  and a similarity problem, every day for 5 days.

Look up 3 new words every day for a week.    Give yourself a vocabulary test at the end of the week.   

Pick a physical skill you’d like to improve  (shooting baskets, running faster, etc.)   Can you improve by next week?

 

Create:

Write a song.  

Write a brief history of your life,  or your dog’s life.   Add illustrations.

Write a short play.  

Try a technique you learned in art class.

Build a kite.   Fly it.

Build a rocket.   Launch it.

Build a birdhouse or other useful item.

Learn a duet with a friend.  

 

Do:

Practice making and throwing paper airplanes – for both distance and accuracy.

Create a budget for your own expenses and income.

Organize all your old toys, school projects, clothes, or books.

Start a secret club in the garage or basement.

Plan a picnic.

Make a map of your house, including all the rooms.   (Extend:  make cutouts of each piece of furniture.   Rearrange the furniture on the map.)

 

Try:

Sing a song.    1.  Make up new words.  2.   Can you make the words from a different song fit into this song?

Ask an adult about a current news story (or environmental issue, or political issue).

            What do they think?   Then on your own, try to figure out why someone

            might disagree.  What would their arguments be? 

Grow a plant from seeds you find.

Bake something, using a recipe.   (Extend:  Figure out how much of everything you would need if you doubled or tripled the recipe.) 

What is something you are too shy or too scared to try?  Break it down into small steps.     Make a plan to try one small step at a time.     Then do it.   (Examples: swimming under water,  asking a friend over,  singing in front of others,  dancing,  diving,  going to a sleepover)

 

Help and Serve:

Invite the neighbor kids to run through your sprinkler or spray them with a hose on a hot day.

Take a plastic bag and a friend, and pick up 100 pieces of trash in a park.  How fast?

Plan a birthday party for a friend or family member.   What would you LIKE to do?  What CAN you do?

Write a card for a family member, just because.

Plan and cook a meal for your family (or your friends).