For many kids, the last day of school has come and gone, and summer programs are just getting started. We can get a jump-start on summer with six fun ideas for everyone:
1. Join a summer reading program: Read at least one book every week, and you could win a prize! The Hawaii Public Libraries Summer Reading Programs, June 4 to July 7, are for all ages. Barnes and Noble’s “Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination” (www.bn.com/summerreading) lets kids earn a free book (from a selected book list) by reading eight books and sharing their recommendations. The program runs from May 22 through September 4, 2012. The Old Spaghetti Factory in Honolulu offers a year-round Rewards of Reading program – kids 10 and under can read just five books and get a free kid’s meal (with purchase of an adult entrée).
2. Make a backyard obstacle course: Enjoy the outdoors and keep kids entertained with a backyard obstacle course, using whatever you have around the house: a garden hose for balance, a pop-up tunnel to crawl through, a broomstick for limbo, pool noodles, cardboard boxes, and more. Let’s Explore blogger Amy Anderson has some great ideas to practice different skills for kids of all ages in her post, “Make Your Own Backyard Obstacle Course.”
3. Plan a scavenger hunt: Whether you’re in your backyard, at the beach, or camping – or even at the mall, you can challenge others to a scavenger hunt. All you need is paper, a pen, a list of things to find, a watch to keep track of time, and a bag for your finds (or a camera to snap pictures). The National Wildlife Federation has good tips to teach kids about nature, including a printable scavenger hunt list.
4. Go on a hike: June is Great Outdoors Month and June 9 is National Get Outdoors Day, and many National Parks are offering free admission, including Haleakalā National Park and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. For weekend hikes on Oahu, join the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club or the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter; donations are requested. If you have a friendly dog, show up for a Hawaiian Humane Society’s Paws on the Path hike on the last Saturday of every month on Oahu. Beginning hikers can learn about preparing for hikes at http://aditl.com/hike/basic-hiking.html.
5. Host an ice cream social: July is National Ice Cream Month and July 15 is National Ice Cream Day. Set up an ice cream bar with candy and fruit toppings, cookies and cake, syrups and sauces and whipped cream. Then invite all your friends and neighbors! How Sweet Treats has inspiring photos and free printables to customize your ice cream social. You can even make your own homemade ice cream in a bag with this easy recipe from FamilyFun Magazine.
6. Organize a block party: August 7 is National Night Out, a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). You can help promote neighborhood spirit with block parties, cookouts, parades, flashlight walks, contests, and youth programs. There is even a free organizational kit that can help you get started. Last year, there were four registered events in Hawaii: Honolulu, Kailua, Maui, and Wahiawa.
How will you celebrate summer? What are your favorite summer activities?