Thursday, August 5, 2010

School's Out for Summer!! But not for long, Parents! Some end of summer fun with the kids...

Being a parent of a toddler, I haven't quite experienced the "Back to School" anticipation that parents have.  But I have many friends that are parents of school-aged children and I can tell that they are aching for school to start.  The complaints I'm hearing and that I'm seeing posted on Facebook and Twitter are that they have run out of things to do with their kids.  So here are a couple of suggestions on things to do outside with your kids for the few remaining weeks of summer:
  • Make a bug terrarium!  A small glass aquarium with a screen lid can be purchased fairly cheaply from pet stores and larger retail stores.  Small butter tubs with holes in the lids can be used to collect bugs found outside.  Place sticks with leaves, some soil and grass in the tank and go on a bug safari.  You can do this at different times of the day to see what different kinds of bugs are out.  An after-breakfast bug hunt will yield very different finds than an after-dinner hunt.  Beetles, worms, lighting bugs, sow bugs (rollie polies), cicadas, grasshoppers, all make great residents for your terrarium.  Just be sure to let them go after a day or so.
  • Take a hike!  There are lots of city, metro and state parks in Ohio that provide great views and new challenges if you want to burn some of your kids' energy off for a day.  Take a backpack with some water, bug spray, sunscreen, and some snacks for a short hike.  You'll find lots to see and do and you'll be amazed at how fast the day passes.  And it's free!
  • Catch a fish!  Kids under 16 fish for free! Larger retail stores have beginner fishing kits that include the rods, reels, line and tackle already geared up and fairly cheap.  For more beginning fishing tips, check out the Ohio Division of Wildlife's "New to Fishing?" page for more information and suggestions.  And take lots of pictures!! You can submit your kid's fishing pictures on the Division of Wildlife's Photo Gallery for everyone to see.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife's Wild Kids page has lots of additional activities, including outside activities, rainy day activities, things for the "Junior Biologist" in the house, and other ideas for your little wildlife lovers.  So don't stress out when you hear "I'm Bored!" for the 100th time.  And take a break from the back to school shopping grind and get outside with your kids! Before you know it, they'll be back in school and you'll be finding that you actually miss them....maybe? ;-)