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Jul 03 2013

8 Activities to Enjoy This Summer With Your Gifted Kid

8 summer activities

Have you been enjoying summer? You realize it’s practically over now, yes?

Summer over, Jen? Are you insane? Summer just started!

Yes friends, I said practically over. Let’s face it. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July here in the States, the Hump Day of the summer. You know it, I know it, it’s the dirty little secret of the season. We’ll BBQ and have parades and shoot off fireworks, but a week later we’ll be gawping at flyers for Back to School sales and information letters from the school. Heck, the aisles at Hobby Lobby overfloweth with Christmas supplies right now. July 3. After Thursday it’s like the summer hits a patch of ice and goes careening out of control towards fall.

Until your gifted kids are bored. Then time stretches like something in a Stephen King novel.

God help the parent of a bored gifted child. If they’re not on top of you whining that they’re bored, it’s frighteningly silent and we all know unexpected silence is the sound of doom. And destruction.

At this point of the summer, my boys have a week left of camp. Four days, actually. After July 11, the summer is like a long straight road in the desert. It fades into the horizon, going on seemingly forever, while heat makes everything wavy and disorienting. I’m looking at six weeks of no camps, no classes, no activities, no…deargodwhatwasIthinking?

So to keep me from running away screaming, and as a public service to the other parents who are in the same boat, here are eight ways we can wrap up the summer with a big ole’ bow.

  1. My friend Susanne has created what I consider to be the awesomest reading game/incentive of the season. She created a 100 Item Book Scavenger Hunt for her kids; she’s the homeschooling mom of five gifted kids, and she has this planned out for kids of all reading ability. Instead of reading a certain number of books, or certain kinds of books, she has it set up for her kids (and ours) to read all sorts of things as part of a hunt. Go check it out. My boys are using Goodreads to keep track of the books they read and get more ideas. Since setting up their accounts in May they are reading a lot more, and not Garfield books this year! Huzzah!
  2. The Museum of Science and Industry (THE best museum ever) has brought back their Summer Brain Games for another year. You don’t need to be a member, you don’t even need to live near Chicago. Every week you get a new STEM activity for your summer enjoyment.
  3. This is mainly for homeschoolers, but I’m including it here anyway. CurrClick is a resource for homeschool classes and curriculum, and has a Lego Club as one of the offerings. You can get the specifics at the site, but A has done the Club a few times and had a ball with it.
  4. If you have a hacker living under your roof, please tell me you know of Make Magazine. And if you don’t know it, just lie to me and say you do. The magazine sponsors the famous Maker Faire, has made the Raspberry Pi a household name (at least in this house), and is overall the best little quarterly around. I highly recommend it, but if you lose your child to the website/magazine, don’t blame me. And pleaseohplease don’t blame me when one of their hacktastic creations blows the doors off your shed.
  5. For the younger hacker set, there is DIY. Their motto is “Get Skills. Be Awesome.” Well, ok, if you insist. There is also a companion iDevice app. It’s a place for kids to share what they do and meet others who love the same things. It’s not just tech; there are badges (oh, did I mention kids earn badges? Way cool!) for Summerologist (summer=maximum relaxation…I want to earn this one), Entrepreneur, Botanist, Chef, Fashion Designer…seriously, the list is insane. We will be doing a LOT from this site the remaining several weeks of the summer.
  6. Go hang at a Farmer’s Market. You can find one near you at Local Harvest. Why, you may ask? Lemme ‘splain. The more I can expose my sons to healthy living, the easier it is for me to enforce that kind of healthy living at home. Oftentimes Farmer’s Markets will let you try a new veggie, just to see what it’s like. You’re around a bunch of other people who are toting big bags of fresh veggies. It’s other people living a healthy lifestyle, and that makes it easier for you when you hear that familiar whine  “But everyone else…” No, not everyone else eats Sugar Coated Chocolate Bombs, sweetie. Plus, these markets tend to be local and organic, two things our gifted kids’ bodies need. Our kids tend to be more sensitive to external…everything…so increasing organics is a good place to start small. Make friends with a farmer, find out if they allow visits, and suddenly you have another activity available.
  7. At some point I’m going to need them to just…be quiet and leave me alone. Entertain themselves for awhile. Enter the Marshmallow Challenge. The description on the site: “The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.” Aaaaand….GO!
  8. Here we are, the eighth idea and frankly I’m surprised I had this many. I thought for sure I’d peter out around around five. So for number eight I’m suggesting something you’ve probably already used. Netflix. The number of documentaries that are available on a moment’s notice never fails to astound me. Plus Mythbusters. And Prototype This. And pretty much anything you could think of. If it’s not there, try Can I Stream It? to see if it’s streaming somewhere else. This is a great backup for a rainy day, or when it’s too bloody hot out to think. Not that we’d know of that here in Chicago so far; it’s been in the 60s all week while the rest of the country is baking.
  9. BONUS NINE! Pinterest has some really great ideas, as long as you don’t 1) obsess over it and 2) think your creations will look as good as the pictures. It’s eye candy with possibilities. I recommend following The Maker Mom and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum for the best ideas.

So there ya go. Enough ideas to get you to the end of August…or the end of the week, depending on the kid. Let me know if you do any of these, or if you have more ideas. I’d love to fill out my summer and then some.

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  1. Kim

    Thanks for the shout-out. MAKE is great, but there’s also their summer program for teens (or anyone who let’s their tween have a gmail/g+ account) Maker Camp! https://plus.google.com/communities/107377046073638428310?gclid=CLqw3KqDlbgCFapcMgodc2cAnw

  2. Carissa Houston

    “…We all know unexpected silence is the sound of doom. And destruction.” So funny and too true! I seriously thought the kids would swim from sun up to sun down every day this summer but no. Thanks for the road map!

  3. Learning Mom

    These are some great ideas

    1. Jen

      Thanks, hope they help!

  4. Learning Mom

    These are some great ideas! My son and I are also learning computer code at codeacademy.com. It’s free and they have several different courses of study if you already have some knowledge. My son is very excited about learning how to design websites.

    1. Jen

      Codecademy is part of the homeschool routine and actually, has just become party of the daily routine around here. 🙂 I should probably learn to code…

  5. Wendy

    GREAT list! I’m part way through it and just got totally absorbed in the DIY.org. So much fun I think I’m going to join.

    1. Jen

      I know! 🙂 I’m afraid to go digging too far in that site, I’d lose hours there. LOL

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