June 8, 2013 7:57:35 PM
Summer may not yet have officially begun, but many parents are already looking for ways to keep their children busy. April Barlow, coordinator of professional learning at Mississippi University for Women's Center for Creative Learning, said with imagination, there are plenty of fun activities to keep youth busy the next hot few months.
"Don't let summer vacation scare you," she advised. "There are so many things parents can do to ease the boredom."
To start with, Barlow suggested getting kids involved by asking them to make a list of five things they want to do over the summer.
"Activities for kids can be summer camps, swim or art lessons, riding bikes or even picnics," she said. "The most important thing is the child is engaged and enjoying the activity."
She also encourages children to take part in some of the household management. "Make it fun by letting them be in charge."
As examples, Barlow said they could choose the menus each week and learn the ingredients that go into each of their favorite meals. Another idea is teaching them about nutrition and budgeting when going to the grocery store.
The W, as well as local communities, hosts various summer offerings including swim lessons, culinary and science enrichment camps, art camps and library programs. There are also local parks and facilities to visit, including Lee Park, Propst Park, Dewayne Hayes, the Columbus Riverwalk, the Stennis Lock and Dam and Plymouth Bluff. The best part is that these locations are free.
And don't let a rainy day spoil the fun, Barlow said. "Try at-home activities -- make a family recipe book, camp inside, bake some cookies, have a movie marathon." Locally, some movie theaters have summer programs. Check the local newspaper for details.
"Most people associate learning with school and fun with summer; however, learning can be fun," Barlow said. "Children need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills even during the summer."
For more ideas and information, contact the Center for Creative Learning at 662-241-6101.