Encourage kids to have gadget-free fun this summer

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(StatePoint) You may remember your parents telling you to turn off the television and go outside or read a book. But these days, it’s harder than ever to separate kids from media devices, especially as their options become more mobile.

But parents can help their children spend their time differently, in ways that not only increase personal interaction, but help keep minds fresh during the long summer vacation.

“If you make it a game – particularly one you’re playing with them – kids will be more than happy to turn away from those screens. And if they’re learning something along the way, all the better,” says Susan Bolotin at Brain Quest, maker of educational quiz games for kids.

Visit the Library

Each week, make a point of visiting the library with your children to get them a new stash of books to read throughout the week. You can motivate them to dig right in by posting a chart somewhere handy like the fridge, tracking the books they have enjoyed so far.

Play a Game

Whether you’re at home, on a road trip, or running errands, there’s no need to stick a gadget in your kids’ hands to keep them occupied. Engage your children with on-the-go games that are both fun and educational.

For example, Brain Quest question and answer decks are easy to pack in a small bag and offer age-appropriate, curriculum-based challenges on themes like presidents and American history. The interactive question and answer sessions are sure to keep everyone entertained. More information along with free downloadable projects and resources can be found at www.BrainQuest.com.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts not only offer children an opportunity to use their creativity to make something useful, beautiful or both, but can also help hone hand-eye coordination. At home, you can opt for involved projects like bird feeders, necklaces and watercolors.

On the go, bring along crayons and construction paper so kids can draw whenever the artistic spirit moves them. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out project books and kits like Recycled Robots and My First Bird Feeder and Bird Book.

Cook

Don’t make cooking a boring chore. Get your kids off the couch and into the kitchen. By preparing meals together, you will give your children an opportunity to learn about nutrition and help them develop a practical skill.  And there are tasks in the kitchen that are just right for any age.

Outdoor Fun

Help your kids organize outdoor games with other neighborhood children or get outside and play alongside them. Nature walks exploring local parks and streams can also be a great way to get the entire family to have fun while learning about the great outdoors.

School may be out, but learning is in. In honor of summer, make it fun.

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