Summer fun for kids and families

Published 5:56 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2007

School’s out and children are enjoying the hazy days of summer. It won’t be long before the days become lazy and parents become crazy.

Studies have proven that learning slides in the summer months because a child isn’t practicing what was learned in school. When school begins again, the child must relearn what was forgotten. Learning through the summer stimulates much more than memory.

“Steady improvement throughout the year means that children will meet high education standards and will give them a solid educational foundation needed to succeed in school and life,” says a literacy progress program initiated by Michigan Dept. of Education. “Stimulating children’s brain development all summer brings big benefits in the fall.”

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Activities do not have to be expensive to be fun and educational.

The summer reading program at Crosby Memorial Library kicks off with Get A Clue @ Your Library. Super sleuths and daring detectives are encouraged to join. The 2007 Summer Reading Program opens with a puppet play full of mystery and intrigue, and is produced by Crosby’s Creative Resourceful Teens.

The program includes free books, story hours, a reading club, and more. Activity Days are Tuesdays, from 2 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. for first graders to sixth graders. Story Hours are Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Summer Reading Program is open to young people, preschool through young adults. Activity Days are Tuesdays, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. for children who have finished 1st grade through the 6th grade. Story Hours are Fridays, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. from June 5 through July 13.

“Reading is like learning to play a sport or learning to dance,” says Carol Phares, a librarian at Crosby. “Practice makes perfect. The library is a great place to bring your children to encourage reading. A wide variety of books await your child’s imagination. The library even has board books for the very youngest child. There are picture books for those children just learning about the magic of words. There is also a wide variety of paperback books for those more advanced readers.”

Registration is in progress at the library. You can call 601-798-5081 for more information.

Family fun doesn’t have to be expensive, either. You can take a day trip and have a picnic. Explore the sights, sites, and smells of Pearl River County. Set up a pretend stage and encourage your children to invent a play, then watch how creative they can be. Put a blanket under a tree, a basket of books and spend a breezy afternoon reading with your children.

It isn’t the activity that will be remembered, it is the family being together that creates those fond memories.

Take an hour or two cruising the internet for fun things for children. There is a gold mine of information. In Yahoo or Google search engine, type in this: summer fun + kid activities site:edu. This will give you a huge number of educational sites (universities) that have numerous activities for summer fun.

Of the 800,000+ websites that offer fun things to do, universities offer the most educational and least expensive. Except for some websites that are specifically for “web fun”. Those have trivia games, board games that you can play online for free.

Be careful, though, because these types of sites can have numerous spy-ware cookies that will slow your computer down. Those kinds of sites are for older teens, not for the younger set.

Ohio State University offers the design for a homemade bird feeder (milk or juice carton) and this unique activity:


• Cornstarch

• Water and a Tub or Dishpan

• Food Coloring

• Kitchen Utensils

Imagine the perfect play glop—non-toxic, easy to make, easy to clean, and hours of fun. Look no further than your pantry. All you have to do is mix cornstarch and water in the right proportions. The resulting “oblique” is a unique play material; the surface is hard and crusty, but scoop it up and it’s fluid enough to pass through a strainer. As your kids mush the oblique between their fingers, it continually changes from hard to semi-liquid, almost magically.

To make your own oblique, simply add two parts cornstarch and one part water (example: 2 cups cornstarch and 1 cup of water) in a tub or dishpan. Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.

Check with your local library for books and other resources on summer activities for children. The library may also offer special summer programs for school-age children!

Now let the rumpus begin. Supply your kids with spoons, plastic shovels, funnels or various kitchen utensils (you can clean them with soap and water afterwards). To create unusual effects, let your kids swirl in a teaspoon or two of different food colorings. Whatever variations you try, the oblique will endlessly transform in shape and texture, providing non-stop entertainment.