After months at home relying on virtual learning, video conversations with friends and many online summer programs, it is crucial that parents are aware of how much time their children spend in front of a screen and actively encourage offline activities to supplement digital endeavors. The team at British American Household Staffing has put together some suggestions for kid-friendly breaks from the screen this summer.
Plant a Garden
Whether you have space outside or choose an indoor garden, gardening with children has multiple benefits. From seeing firsthand where their food comes from to cultivating patience and responsibility, a garden is a fun, educational project for kids. For indoor options, we like this vegetable growing kit that allows children to see the roots of their growing plants. Another fun option is AeroGarden’s Pizza Party Herb Garden for Kids – the package includes everything to plant and care for an herb garden and in 12 weeks, your child will be able to pick the herbs needed for an at-home pizza party (pizza recipe and instructions included)! For an even simpler introduction to growing vegetables, try one of these easy projects regrowing plants from food scraps, such as celery, garlic or scallions.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Summer is an ideal time to invite children to help make some of their favorite warm weather treats. If your family hasn’t yet tried the ice cream ball, we highly recommend you do this summer. The concept is simple: fill the rubber ball with sugar, heavy cream and any flavors you like and then play ball! After about twenty minutes of active play, open the ball to reveal a pint of homemade ice cream.
Another fun idea is homemade popsicles – just grab some molds or even an ice cube tray or small washed yogurt containers and get to work! We love this list of fifty popsicle recipes – all without any artificial sugars or colorings! We also adore this Edible Chemistry Kit; everything is included to create over sixteen tasty experiments including funny fizzy drinks and color-changing foaming jelly.
Spend the Afternoon Making Lunch and Help Children in Need
According to the USDA, more than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes; this means that those households don’t have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life. That number is pre-pandemic and is likely much higher now. Organizations like Feeding America and No Kid Hungry offer ways to donate or fundraise to help fight the problem; however, if you’d like to get your children involved, many local organizations offer programs where families can pack lunches that are picked up in the morning and delivered to children in need that same day. Inquire with your child’s school to find out if they have any recommendations for schools, libraries or food banks that may offer this. Spend an afternoon together making sandwiches and packing lunches and talk to your children about hunger and the importance of helping others.
S.T.E.M. Away from the Screen
Science, technology, engineering and math don’t have to just take place on your child’s device. There are plenty of unplugged ways to reap the educational benefits of S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. learning without adding to daily screen time. The If/Then game is one great example of this that requires no special equipment. This article offers several options for at-home, device-free activities that help build the skills needed for computer coding. Another option is to incorporate an educational board game into family game night; the MIND Research Institute published this comprehensive list of S.T.E.M. board games for various ages. Our favorites are Evolution, Wingspan and Planet.
We mentioned Swimply in our last newsletter but we are including it again this week as it is a great option for an easy, safe summer day with children. The service offers by the hour private pool rentals across the U.S. and in select international cities. Most rentals offer completely contactless entry and exit so your family can enjoy an afternoon poolside without any risk. Many offer amenities, such as barbecues and waterslides.
As always, we’re here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.