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Health & Parenting

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?
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Preschoolers

From ants on a log to chalk on a sidewalk, here are ideas that will keep kids 3-5 happy all summer long.

Simple kitchen projects. "Projects with preschoolers in the kitchen are always supervised and simple," says Roth. "Make ants on a log using celery, peanut butter, and raisins, and let the child do most of the work -- they'll love it."

Other simple preschooler projects for the kitchen: trail mix, apples and peanut butter, and for a hot summer day treat, ice cream sandwiched by cookies.

Arts and crafts. "Drawing with lots of different papers is a great activity for preschool kids," says Roth. "Give them different kinds of markers, pens, pencils, finger paint, chalk, and chalk paint."

Let kids paint to their heart's content outside on the grass to make cleanup easy, and let them use paper, cardboard, driveways, and sidewalks as their canvases -- your little Picassos will be busy for hours.

"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."

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