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Good to Go: Old school fun to conquer summer boredom

Wednesday - 7/10/2013, 8:42am  ET

NatureHike.jpg
Going on a nature hike with the kids is a great activity for the dog days of summer. Look for a trail with plenty of shade on the days that are especially hot. (Getty Images/Tom Merton)

Katie Howard, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - While a break from homework and a more relaxed schedule is a welcomed change of pace, that doesn't mean you won't hear "I'm bored" from the kids this summer.

Since there are still plenty of dog days left this summer, having a few inexpensive, but reliable, games and activities in your back pocket will come in handy.

Next time you hear some complaining from the kids, try one of these activities:

  • Lemonade stand: It can turn sticky, but a lemonade stand is a fun lesson in math and can occupy the kids for at least a couple of hours. Children tend to have fun playing entrepreneurs and creating their own lemonade recipe. They might even want to prepare homemade cookies or brownies to price and sell at their stand, as well as sliced fruit or fresh berries to add to the orders of potential customers.

  • Nature hike: After slathering on the sunscreen and bug spray, take a walk in the great outdoors together on a local area trail. You can add butterfly nets and binoculars for your adventurous little ones.

  • Set up camp in the backyard: If you already have sleeping bags, a tent and a safe backyard, then invite some kids over for a night of camping. Kids old enough for sleepover invitations might want to move their next party from inside to outside during the summer. If you have an outdoor firepit, preparing S'mores will be a hit.

  • Catch fireflies: Kids of all ages -- and adults restless before bedtime -- can open the door for a firefly catching contest. These lanterns from IKEA are a safe and festive way to display summertime's fun bug before setting them free back in to the night.

  • Tug-o-war/potato sack races/obstacle course: If it's not too hot outside, gather a group of neighborhood kids and parents to burn some excess energy with classic outdoor games. Braided ropes can be turned into a battle of the brawn. Potato sacks or old pillowcases you no longer need can turn into a friendly relay race. And you can always get creative with the gear and sports equipment you own (think: hula hoops, cones and a small pool to jump over) for an obstacle course. It will take time to set up, but the kids will request multiple runs, for sure.

  • Water balloon toss: It's hard to find a kid who's not intrigued by water balloons. But if parents are not up for an all-out attack, try a more controlled game. Partner up, fill the balloons and form two lines. Then, face your teammate and start tossing the water balloons and slowing expanding your distance from one another. It doesn't take long, and someone always ends up wet, but at least it's refreshing on a humid Washington summer day or night.
Editor's Note: WTOP's Katie Howard is a mom on the go. With two children under age 5, she's always looking for ways to provide her family fast and healthy snacks, meals and activities. Katie shares her go-to food and family fitness tips every Tuesday on her blog "Good to Go."

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