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Summer Fun for Kids

School's out, and your kids want to have some fun in the sun. How can you keep them happy and busy -- and maybe help them learn something -- all the way through August?

Preschoolers continued...

"Popsicle sticks and Legos are also great," says Roth. "Let them experiment with building and creating new things, which will keep them happy and help their development skills."

Green thumbs. "Give your child a small spade, a small piece of earth, and talk to him about the different flowers he can plant," says Roth. "Over the summer, he can watch it grow and it's a great project for your child -- and for you."

Projects like this can unknowingly be turned into a science-math-English project. Help your child look up the scientific name of the plant in the encyclopedia, and when the plant starts to sprout, have your child measure it every day, and keep a journal on how much it grows and changes over the summer.

Day trips. "With kids this age, and older kids, get a feel for what they're interested in at the start of summer," says Haller. "Take them to museums, parks, the zoo, and wander around and gauge what their summer activities might be based on their interests. And over the course of the summer, you can do more day trips that relate to the things they enjoy."

School Kids

Kids 5-12 are more independent, and many of the activities that might keep them amused over the summer months might also fit for younger children if an adult lends a hand.

Journal entries. "One really cool activity is journaling," says Roth. "Older kids can write in their journal, and younger kids can draw. Parents can get an attractive journal, colorful pens and pencils, and give your kids some quiet time when they can journal on a recommended topic."

From their favorite summer vacation to their favorite school subject, kids will write and draw about anything.

"The cool thing is it can be a private thing, or it can be group -- your kids can share what they write, but leave that up to them," says Roth. "This activity helps build self-awareness, as well as writing and reading skills while they're away from school in the summer."

Scavenger hunt. "Go on a scavenger hunt," says Roth. "Get a book out of the library with different trees pictured in it and see how many you can find in your neighborhood, keeping safety first. Give small prizes with everyone winning something."

Rainy summer days. "For the rainy afternoon when it's not thundering, there are lots of outdoor activities that kids love," says Roth.

For instance, propose a science project, Roth tells WebMD: Have them predict how much rain is going to come down during the day. In the morning, put a measuring cup outside and have them track rainfall amounts -- once at noon, once at 3 p.m., and once at 5 p.m. With several kids, award prizes for who comes the closest, who has the highest guess, the lowest, and the farthest away, so everyone wins.

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