Get out and Active with your Kids this Summer (Safely)



Clinical Psychologist, Health Service Psychologist, a Board Certified Music Therapist, Dr. Bethany Cook shares her tips on summer activities with the kiddos:

  1. Around the World in Your Own Backyard- As a family decide several areas of the world you’d like to explore and travel to one day.  Go online (with or without kids) and Google information about the location, finding out things like what activities do kids in that area do for fun, what snacks and foods are eaten by locals and what types of music do they listen to?  Then plan an afternoon around a few objects/foods/feels you might get if you were actually there.  An example would be if you wanted to go to China.  Here are some great game ideas for the kids!  Here is a recipe for a delicious snack version of chinese fried bread.  Of course buying a box of pre packed snacks from your area of choice is always a sure win.  Toys! Who doesn’t enjoy getting a new toy that is unique and novel?  And finding the right music is always a must for the “travel” day.  Chinese music is filled with history and beautiful, haunting melodies. Of course letting your kids hear what’s “hip” today is also fun as you can compare “pop sounds”.  
  2. Epic S'mores- If this past year has taught me anything, it’s learning how to look at the mundane and give it an upbeat make-over.  Summertime is usually filled with bbq’s and campfires which are perfect for my next idea.  Get your kids involved in creating the most extreme, epic  S’more ever!!  Begin a fun brainstorming activity of all the items that one could make a S’more from and then narrow down the ingredients to a manageable list and let the creation begin!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.  
    1. Chocolate Graham crackers, strawberry marshmallows and white chocolate.
    2. Vanilla wafer, medium sized marshmallow, Reeses Pieces cup.
    3. Thin mint/Tag-a-long cookies, large marshmallow.
    4. Cinnamon Graham cracker, caramel marshmallow, dark chocolate.
  3. Pass Along A Smile-  Did you know smiles are contagious?  When you see a smile it’s hard to not smile back.  So why not brighten up your neighborhood?  Grab the kids and go find some good painting rocks (or buy a bag).  You can use acrylic paint or paint pens which work well on rocks!  If you’re feeling extra creative why not add some eyes and nose to your smile.  Then go on a walk with the kids and place the rocks in places for neighbors to see.  
  4. Master a Recipe-  Ask your child what recipe they would like to learn/master over the summer.  Depending on the age and skill level of your little chef you want to pick a recipe that will taste good and NOT be overly complicated.  Below are a few recipes my kids and I enjoy making over and over and over again.
    1. Pretzel balls- These can be savory OR sweet!  And if you wanna get really fancy make a cheese dip to go with it or wrap your favorite hotdog bite  inside the ball!
    2. Chocolate Pavlova- This stunning showstopper is actually quite simple to put together AND it’s gluten free!  The kids will love learning how to separate eggs (let them do it in their hands!) and you can use the extra yolks to whip up a delicious ice cream!
    3. Mix and Leave Pizza Dough-  What family doesn’t love pizza!  How about a crispy pan pizza you can make at home? And how about a recipe that you can leave in the fridge for up to a week!?! This is it! I always double the recipe cause we are a “two pizza a week” household.  Don’t forget to add some garlic salt and onion powder to the dough for an even more flavorful pizza experience!
  5. Have a Dance Party-  Dance and music are essential to maintaining a healthy mindset.  Whether you dance with just your family, or invite neighbors to the yard, starting a nightly routine of dancing to one to two songs is a great way to bond with each other and create happy summertime memories.  Also, it’s a great way to shift the mood of the entire family if needed.  More importantly, when you ask your children to pick which songs to dance to it empowers them and increases the likelihood for positive participation.  This can be every day, once a week or “random times”.  

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