All winter long (and there’s no doubt it was long), it seemed like CoMo’s hot summer days might never return. Now that school’s out and we’re soaking up the sun’s rays once again, it’s time to capitalize on Mother Nature’s temporary mercy. Summer schedules, while open-ended and exciting, often become monotonous in just a few short weeks. Here are some activities to keep the kids busy and out of that dreaded rut, rain or shine.
1. Go for an afternoon at the ARC. Kids tend to go stir crazy if they spend too much time inside. Reading books and watching movies can be great for lazy days, but Columbia’s Activity & Recreation Center is perfect for an afternoon out of the house. Drop your kids off at the ARC’s Kid Zone for up to two hours, and check out the rest of the facilities in the meantime. The Water Zone boasts a 12,988-square-foot aquatic area, and offers swimming lessons, a lazy river and a triple-loop water slide.
2. Plan an at-home scavenger hunt. There are many ways to get creative with a scavenger hunt, but the most important part is that it keeps the kids busy and entertained. Create a list of items around the house for your kids to find, or hide just one special item and set up a list of clues. Include both everyday items and more obscure ones, just to keep it interesting. Split the kids into teams and hand out treats when the hunt is finished.
3. Take a walk in the park. Another way to get your kids some great exercise (or just out of the house) is to take them on a walk through one of Columbia’s parks or trails. Stephens Lake Park is a perfect spot for a family picnic, and there’s plenty of room for Frisbees and balls of any variety. There are short and long trails, ranging from less than 1 mile to nearly 10 miles.
4. Make lemonade, popsicles or other cold treats. Here’s the deal: Summer will inevitably have some days filled with sweltering heat, thick humidity or pouring rain. Even when you’ve read all of the books and watched all of the DVDs, there are still plenty of great indoor activities. To counteract the heat, make cold beverages and refreshments for the whole family. Follow a familiar recipe, or make up one of your own. Let the kids help and watch them enjoy their own concoctions.
5. Rock out with a family karaoke session. Almost everyone enjoys music, and years of lessons and prodigious talent aren’t required to join in on the fun. Simply find karaoke videos of your favorite songs online and sing along to your heart’s content. Make sure the lyrics are clear and reader-friendly so that nobody is left out. Not only is singing a blast, but it’s also great for a child’s mental development and tends to reduce stress.