When it comes to keeping our kids occupied over the long, hot summer, sometimes we need a little help with ideas. Never fear! Below are seven activities guaranteed to keep your children busy and entertained during the next few months.
1. Play Lotería
If your child has never played lotería, now is the perfect time to introduce them to the game. But instead of simply buying the game, grab your children’s attention by having them create their own set. Start off by reading them the book, Playing Lotería/El juego de la lotería by René Colato Laínez. Then ask your kids to use the photos as inspiration and create their own lotería boards. They can make them from scratch, or use this template. And the great news is that many Latino grandparents are more than happy to play the game with your kids if they happen to be babysitting!
2. Hieroglyphics to the Rescue!
There is nothing quite so intriguing as writing out mysterious messages in a secret language. Unless it is deciphering them! Most bookstores sell hieroglyphic stamp sets, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Fun with Hieroglyphics is a nice one. You can create a list of words for your child to stamp out, or just allow them to use their imagination and create their own secret codes. I gave my kids some air-dry clay and had them make a cartouche, which is simply a small name tag bearing their name. They can then slip it onto a chain or piece of ribbon and wear it. These also make nice gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
3. Bake Cookies—a la Picasso!
This is a really fun activity to accompany an actual artist study. Picasso is a great artist to learn about because he was able to paint realistically from an early age, but invented his own style as he matured. There are numerous children’s books about his life, but for this particular activity, I would make sure your child has plenty of samples of his cubist work to reference before creating their own edible works of art!
4. Do-It-Yourself Abacus
The best part about making your own abacus is that afterward, you’ll want to use it! If your child is not so fond of math, this is the activity for them. There’s something so rewarding about creating your own tools to help you learn. It empowers you and provides motivation. I have a Pinterest board with several great links to tutorials for making your own abacus. You can choose the one that best suits your child’s age and abilities.
5. Make a Sundial
Many children have never even heard of a sundial, which makes this activity that much more special. The best part is that your child can get creative and make it as simple or complex as they wish. Again, take a look at Pinterest for ideas and instructions. Instead of buying materials though, challenge your child to use what you have available at home and recycle at the same time!
6. Build Your Own Musical Instruments
Who’s got rhythm? Your child does! Here’s another activity that keeps on entertaining even after the craft has been created. And the best part? Your child can create more than one instrument—maybe even an entire band. Maestro Classics has a fantastic Pinterest board on Homemade Musical Instruments with links to making everything from castanets to maracas. Once your son or daughter has finished building their instrument(s), challenge them to create their own original musical score and perform a private concert for the family.
7. Paint a Mural
Let your child channel their inner Diego Rivera and create life-size art. The best part about this activity is that kids can do it inside or outside, depending on the situation. Lowe’s Home Improvement sells big rolls of brown paper, but for smaller areas such as bedrooms or hallways, stop by your local Target and pick up a tube of inexpensive brown packing paper available in the office supply section. Kids can use paint, markers, or even chalk to create their masterpieces. Give them some direction by having them pick a theme for their mural, or ask them to depict a scene in their daily lives.