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16 summer activities for kids -- no screen or mouse required

This summer, turn off the electronics and engage your kids in creative, hands-on play.
Megan Gladwell, FamilyShare Modified: May 12, 2014 at 11:12 pm •  Published: May 14, 2014

As school ends and the summer season arrives, keeping young bodies and brains engaged can be challenging.

If your kids tend to drift from the computer to the iPod to the iPad to the TV, find ways to spend time creatively. Once or twice a week over the summer, set aside an afternoon to do one of the following activities.

1. Write a silly story

Sit down together with some paper and pencil. Ask your child to choose a specific location (a dog park in Australia), a main character (Michael Jackson), a situation or conflict (a kangaroo kidnapped Michael), and let the story unfold.

Draw and color two or three pictures to illustrate your tale.

2. Have a story and craft hour

Invite a small group of your kid’s friends or neighbors to your home and read a story to the kids. Then create a craft that coordinates with the story’s theme. Have your child help plan and teach the craft and serve treats that go with the theme, too.

3. Set up a target practice

Set up a makeshift target in a safe spot in your yard. Use a slingshot, box and arrow or airsoft gun to hit the target. Just make sure you teach and follow safety precautions (wear safety goggles, steer clear of the target area when someone is shooting, etc.).

4. Play “I Spy”

This is our family’s favorite for doctor’s office waiting rooms. Take turns with your child to search for a random item within sight. Describe it: “I spy something that’s round and orange.” Give your little one three chances to find the object.

5. Plant flower seeds in paper cups

Teach your kiddo patience and responsibility as he nourishes a young plant.

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