How do you keep a gifted child stimulated and entertained during the summer months? They are often home all day and don’t have all that annoying homework to complete. It’s not as difficult as some parents think it is. All it takes is a little time and creative thinking. Here are five fun and educational summer activities for kids to get you started.
Each activity encourages children to think, a favorite activity of gifted children!
1. Take a Botanical Nature Walk
Exploring nature is another inexpensive activity that can be fun for gifted children. Going on nature walks is an easy way to explore nature. As you walk with your child, talk about the different flowers you see. Ask questions as you go. For example, why do flowers come in so many different colors? What kinds of petals do flowers have? Why are the petals different? What do all the flowers have in common (you’ll have to look up close). How are they different? Do the same thing with plants, including trees. Compare and contrast the leaves and the bark. If you don’t have all the answers, plan a trip to the library!
2. Examine Backyard Bugs
If your child is not squeamish about bugs, you can go out to your backyard and look for the various insects that make their homes there. You’ll have to look in the air, on the ground, under the ground (or under rocks) and on plants.
Ask you child to compare and contrast the bugs. For example, how are the flying insects alike? How are they different? Ask other questions as well. What are the insects like that live underground? How are they different from the insects that live above the ground? What about insects that live on trees or plants? Why are they different? How is each suited to its niche in nature?
3. Do an Ice Cube Experiment
All you need for this activity is at least two ice cubes. Place one ice cube in the sun and one in the shade. Ask your child to watch for which one melts faster and then ask why one melts faster than the other.
For older children, use more ice cubes, placing them on other surfaces. One ice cube can be in the sun on a sidewalk, while another can be in the sun, but on the grass. Two other ice cubes can be in the shade, one on a sidewalk and one on the grass. You can get more creative and come up with other possibilities, using other surfaces, such as a cookie sheet or a cardboard box, to put an ice cube on.
4. Make Garden Music
For the musical kids, you can set up “instruments” that they can play with a garden hose with a nozzle to control the water flow. Gather a variety of objects that can be sprayed with water, such as (clean) garbage can lids, cookie sheets, plastic or metal bowls, and anything else that won’t break or be damaged by water.
Line the items up against a fence, bushes or wall, preferable secured in some way, with string for example, so that they won’t fly around when they are hit with water. Kids make different “notes” by hitting the different objects and by altering the types of spray from the nozzle.
5. Draw Pictures or Take Photographs
For the artistic kids, get some simple art supplies let them draw or paint what they see in nature. Plain paper and colored pencils or chalk are okay to start with. It depends on your child’s interest level and ability.
Kids with more artistic ability and interest might like watercolor paints and good paper to work with. Simple sets are available at most toy stores, while better quality colored pencils and watercolor paints can be found in hobby shops.
Kids who prefer photography can take use disposable cameras. Children who love taking pictures might like a camera like the Powpro Digital Camera for kids.
Once you get started with these summer activities for kids, you’ll no doubt be able to alter them a little for more fun and find some new ones!