Friday, July 11, 2008

Rain or shine, Internet keeps kids busy

A few of my co-workers suffered from cabin fever over the rainy weekend. There's always the question of how to keep the kids occupied when they can't go outside to play. Down here in the sunny Rio Grande Valley, we have to haul in the kids when the afternoon heat gets fierce.

You don't have to spend a fortune buying toys and games for the kids. Internet sites have lots of ideas for inexpensive projects.

Disney's site FamilyFun is packed with arts and crafts, themes for parties and games. You can choose activities based on age or interest. There are so many activities, you could run your own little summer camp in the backyard. The fun doesn’t stop at night. What kid doesn’t love a flashlight? He can play games and send Morse code messages to his buddies. Star gazing is fun and costs nothing.

There’s a recipe for homemade finger paints. Use them to paint on a white sheet. After displaying it for a while, rinse it off and make a new one. One family painted an American flag, using the children's hands dipped in white paint for the stars.

There are also how-to directions for decorating the children’s rooms. This could be a big summer project for older children.

The children's store Kid Source hosts a Website with lots of advice for parents. Especially helpful are the reading lists provided by Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) and the American Library Association. The titles of books are listed by recommended age. Reading is such a fun activity for children. Younger children could read with their parents then act out what they have just read.

Parents who are looking for free educational Internet games should check out Sears' Website for kids, FunBrain. The graphics and sound effects of the games are outstanding. The games teach math, reading and other learning skills.

These are just three sites available on the Internet. Do a search for a particular subject or interest of your child’s. I would recommend that parents do the online search since the children might stumble onto something that is not family friendly.

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