When the final school bell rings for summer break this year, many children will plan to come home and spend their three-month vacation in front of the television. However, by providing alternative activities that are still fun and exciting for kids, this summer can be more simulating and beneficial for your children.

Here are some suggestions for exciting activities to get kids away from the television and video games this summer:

• Plan a fun family day each week and let your children be involved in the planning process. Some ideas you might consider are: a trip to a local park, a day at the pool, heading to a roller or ice skating rink, biking along a local trail or even arranging a treasure hunt around your neighborhood. By setting aside just one day every week for a family fun day, you’ll not only be encouraging physical activity, but also family connections.

• Form a local baseball, soccer, swimming or tennis team. If you have a lot of children in your neighborhood of the same age, encourage them to become part of a sports team. They don’t have to be the best team, or the most talented athletes to have fun. It will take a little organization from you to get the team’s practice and competition schedules planned, but the benefits of team playing and outdoor fun will far outweigh the work involved.

• Encourage your children to become active in the community by getting involved in charity projects that you can work on together.

• Organize a talent show. Give the neighborhood children an opportunity to showcase their talents – whether it’s dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument or even acting. Host the show one evening for the community, and then take it on the road to your neighboring community centers or a nursing home where residents will appreciate the young entertainers.

Don’t just encourage your children to get out and be creative with their activities this summer - make sure you join in the fun. It will be a great bonding experience and you’ll create special memories to look back on many years down the road.

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