Granite State Rumblings: Keeping Busy Over the Summer

Did you know…From exploring the hills and meadows in national park land, to climbing on the jungle gym in the local playground – engaging and talking to your child as you spend time outdoors can have enormous benefits for his or her brain development.

School will be ending soon and I have received several requests for my annual list of fun and mostly free things to do with the kids. So here they are. Through the years Spidey and I have enjoyed every one of these activities. Be sure to let me know how they go over with your favorite little people.

Go on an “Alphabet tour” –  Bring a camera(s) and a notebook. Head into town and walk around. Beginning with the letter a, find something that starts with that letter (i.e. Adams Street). Take a picture of that item and write it down in your notebook. Continue with each letter and when you are done, each child has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.

Supplies: Camera, Notebook, Pen

Bake Cookies – Find a recipe that uses any of the baking goods you have around home or purchase a log of dough from your local super market. Let your child help with the measuring and mixing.

Supplies: cookie dough (homemade or store bought), oven, cookie cutters, icing, etc.

Befriend a Firefighter – Take those cookies you baked (or pick up some ice pops), and deliver them to your local fire station. The firefighters will appreciate the surprise — and your child will meet some heroes, see those awesome trucks up close, and learn a lesson about giving to others.

Build a Fort – Every child loves to pretend to be in the wild west or camping out. Capture that creativity drape old sheets over lower tree limbs and clotheslines. Eat dinner there. Stay up chasing fireflies and listening to “night sounds.”

Supplies: sheets, pillows, blankets, tables, etc.

Camp at Home – Pitch a tent your living room or yard and allow the kids to enjoy the fun of camping without the hassle of a vacation.

Supplies: tent, sleeping bags, blankets/pillows, flashlight

Card Board Box Creations – Go to the grocery store and grab a bunch of boxes of all different sizes. Throw in some duct tape, markers, pillows, blankets and flashlights and build a city, a fort, or an apartment building!

Chalk it Up – Everyone loves sidewalk chalk. Use the glow-in-the-dark kind so you and your child can glimpse your artwork from the window at bedtime.

Create a Play or Musical – Have your kids come up with an original play or musical and act it out for you at the end of a day’s practice. Spread a blanket in the backyard for a stage. Ask preschoolers to create (and collect) “tickets” to the big event. Invite the neighborhood kids to bring their instruments and perform — even your littlest musicians can join in using pots, wooden spoons, and shakers. Set up lawn chairs for the audience, and cheer your little stars.

Supplies: imagination, props or costumes from household items.

Create Salad Spinner Art – Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away!

Dance in the Rain – Surprise your kids by taking them outside during a gentle summer shower or use a lawn sprinkler. Dance around in swimsuits, catch raindrops in your mouth, and jump in all the puddles.

Do Yard Work Together – Toddlers can help pull weeds and sprinkle the flowers with a tiny watering can. Have a kid-size rake and a bubble-blowing lawn mower on hand.

Dress-Up – Collect funny hats, gloves, purses, flowing gowns, and “superhero capes” at a garage sale or thrift store. Slip into your new finery, and have a make-believe garden party, Spider-Man adventure, or masquerade ball.

Finger Painting – Allow your kids to go wild with paint. I recommend doing this craft outdoors. Or paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.

Supplies: kid friendly paint, trash bags (to layout under where the little one will be painting), large pieces of paper

Go on a Bug Safari – Dig for worms, scout for lizards, and hunt for frogs and tadpoles. Marvel at an ant carrying an oversize crumb.

Home Movie Time – Let your child make videos or a movie with your iPhone (most apps are $2-$5). Then make some popcorn, pile on the couch and have Family Movie Night starring your kids!

Origami – This ancient art form is fun for kids of all ages.

Supplies: origami paper or really thin paper (easy to make small folds)

Paper Planes – Look up great new layouts or teach your child the classic folds of   paper planes.

Supplies: 8×11 paper, ruler, flat surface

Picnic – Load up a basket or backpack with all the fixings for your lunch or dinner and a blanket. Head out to your local park or even your front lawn and have a fun meal.

Supplies: lunch or dinner food, blanket, flashlight (if at night), bug spray/sunscreen

Pillow Fight – No explanation necessary here.

Supplies: big fluffy pillows (make sure they do not have buttons on them)

Scrapbook – Give your child some old photographs they love to make special scrapbook pages you can add to your own scrapbooks.

Supplies: old pictures, craft paper, glue, sparkles, etc.

Swing in a Hammock – Snuggle close, and sway the afternoon away. Look for pictures in the clouds and watch them change, or read books to each other.

Take a class together! – Baking, crochet, cross-stitch, guitar, painting, bread-making, illustrating, pottery, archery, kickboxing, creative writing, sculpting, acting, braiding, cake decorating, weaving, anything. Tons of local colleges, restaurants, craft stores, trade schools, and culinary institutes offer one-day classes or more. Such a fantastic way to connect with each other over a new skill. Plus you can harness their new skills for your own personal gain. Fresh bread, anyone?

Treasure Hunts – This is an easy way to occupy your child long enough to get some chores done around the house (maybe even a way to get them involved in the chores).

Supplies: hidden treasure (something like a favorite toy), a piece of paper with a “treasure map”

Visit the Library – Look for new books to read, print out a list of children’s books that have won Caldecott Medals, or create a scavenger hunt for different books on animals (picture lists for the little ones).

Supplies: library card, car (unless you live within walking distance)

Write a Book – Have your child(ren) write and illustrate a story and then have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.

Whatever you decide to do with your children this summer, know that the most important thing is not the place or the cost, but the time spent together.

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 7, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Positive Solutions for Families, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua, One Positive Place, Nashua, NH

Click here to see more events in New Hampshire!

Here’s a list of some of my grandkid tested Granite State attractions. They do have admission fees. Listed in no particular order of preference.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

2 Institute Drive, Concord, NH 03301 Phone: 603-271-7827
The planetarium serves as a living memorial to Christa McAuliffe. The shows blend computer generated effects, video, slides and music into an awe-inspiring experience. Take a trip to the stars and beyond at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. In March 2009, the name of this educational center changed to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, in memory of Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut in space, who was from Derry, NH.

Story Land

850 Route 16, Glen, NH 03838 Phone: 603-383-4293
Story Land is the children’s theme park where fantasy lives! With wonderfully themed rides, lively shows, friendly storybook characters, unique play areas, and so much more, there’s a smile and adventure around every corner. Whether it’s a family tradition or a family first, a visit to Story Land creates memories to last a lifetime.

Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park

570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye, NH 03870 Phone: 603-436-8043
The Seacoast Science Center is located on the last undeveloped stretch of New Hampshire coastline. Cultural and natural history exhibits for the entire family. Visitors can touch and learn about tide pool animals in the indoor tide pool touch tank and learn about the seven habitats found on the 350-acre park.

Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

6 Washington Street, Dover, NH 03820 Phone: 603-436-3853
This hands-on arts and sciences museum offers many engaging exhibits, including a dinosaur dig, a throne room, a kaleidoscope exhibit, a yellow submarine, a post office, a music matrix and more. It’s an interactive delight for all the senses!

Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum

2936 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH 03860 Phone: 603-356-2992
Come for hours of fun and entertainment in our educational safe environment where parents and children 0-9 can explore our wide variety of exhibitions where we encourage children and parents to interact and learn thru play! The Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum nurtures the natural curiosity of all children and the adults in their lives and encourages shared discovery through exhibits and programs that inspire exploration.

The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center

2779 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH 03860 Phone: 603-356-2137
The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is an
interactive science museum that brings the wonder of the atmosphere right to your fingertips! Explore the science of climate and weather through fun, interactive exhibits like our air cannon, flow tank and wind room. With hands-on exhibits and lessons for all levels of experience, the Weather Discovery Center is appropriate for all ages.

Polar Caves

705 New Hampshire Rte. 25, Rumney, NH 03266 Phone: 603-536-1888
An amazing series of caves and passages formed by the falling of massive boulders nearly 50,000 years ago as the third continental glacier moved southward over New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Explore the Rock Garden, a jumble of glacially deposited granite boulders, and take a self-guided tour of the caves. Also, pan for stones. Buy a bag of Mining or Fossils rough and use our Sluice to wash away the dirt to uncover gems and minerals. Also, The Klondike Mine: Klondike Mine is designed for younger ages but can be fun for the whole family. Enter one of our three mines, once inside use your light and start our family scavenger hunt for minerals and other hidden gems.

Charmingfare Farm

774 High Street, Candia, NH 03034 Phone: 603-483-5623
Visit the largest collection of agricultural animals and North American wildlife in New Hampshire. A visit to this 180-acre farm is affordable, educational, and exciting for children and adults. The farm is home to more than 200 animals consisting of 30 different species. Encounter wolves, lynx, fishers, reindeer, river otters and more. The barnyard offers traditional farm animals, hands-on petting, pony rides, and horse-drawn hayrides.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats Baseball

Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, 169 S. Commercial Street, Manchester 603-641-2005

Be sure to join us on Sunday, July 10th at the Fisher Cats game, as Every Child Matters in New Hampshire and MomsRising team up for some special fun with Fungo and Slider. We’re giving away sunglasses for the kids, priceless information and a Grand Prize, which will include all the tools you need for an awesome Family Game Night at home.

We’ve got our hands on a limited number of tickets to this game and we’re giving them away for FREE! The first 10 New Hampshire families who sign up on our website to receive our emails will be given tickets to the game*.

The best part is that any kids who come to the game with Every Child Matters or MomsRising tickets will be invited to go onto the field with the Fisher Cats during the National Anthem for a fun high-five tunnel PLUS we’ll draw the name of one lucky kiddo who will be able to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the start of the game!

*The email that you use to sign up for our emails will be used to contact you about the tickets for the Fisher Cats game.

Please send me some of your favorite places to include in the list next year!