How to Keep Your Kids Entertained (and Safe) Over the Summer
By Mary Anne Keegan, CMO Amber Alert GPS
Do you want your children to watch TV all summer?
Of course not. Some television is fine, of course, but your children should also be playing outdoors. They should be exploring, playing games, and having fun. Remember all the fantastic adventures you had as a kid? Imagining pirate ships and dragons while running through the woods in your backyard? Playing tag with your siblings? Building forts? Jumping into the pool while yelling “cannonball!”?
These are the joys of childhood (and summer) that you want your children to experience. But you also want them to stay safe (and you want yourself to enjoy peace-of-mind). How can you encourage your children to stay active this summer? And how can you keep an eye on them in the process?
Here’s your guide to a happy, safe summer:
Fun Summer Activities
“Mom, I’m bored!”
“Mom, there’s nothing to do!”
Even the most creative kids can run out of ideas when a whole summer stretches endlessly in front of them. Before they turn their attention back to Minecraft, engage them in these activities:
Explore – Catch a ball game or other local sporting event. Visit a farmer’s market. Or check out the free events your town or village offers—many have free summer concerts, movies and more.
Make Sundaes – Gather together all the random baking supplies and toppings in your cabinet (chocolate chips, sprinkles, crumbled up graham crackers) and throw a make-your-own sundae party.
Go Retro – Introduce your kits to all the “retro” toys you loved as a kid—jacks, marbles, kites, and soap bubbles. Who says you need to be plugged in to have fun?
Camping – Go on a camping trip (or go camping in your own backyard!). Launch a scavenger hunt for items you can find out in nature.
Silly Sports – Set up wastebasket “hoops” and play indoor basketball with balled-up socks or wads of paper. Throw water balloons at each other. Wear swimsuits and run through the sprinklers.
Craft – Hit up Pinterest and search for “kids’ crafts.” You can whittle away several rainy days with the ideas you’ll find.
While your kids are having fun, you’ll relax knowing that they’re safe and secure. Here are a few tips that can help your children stay protected – and help you enjoy better peace-of-mind.
Prepare – Make sure they know all essential emergency contact info (your address, phone number, hometown, their parents’ email addresses).
List - Keep emergency numbers clearly listed in a central place for all members of the household: poison control, pediatrician, local urgent care center, etc.
Check In – Use Amber Alert GPS to keep an eye on your children’s whereabouts. You’ll receive accurate location information, and your children will be able to call you with the push of a button.
Create Boundaries – Set up a safe zone that’s guarded by a “virtual boundary” through the Amber Alert GPS system. You’ll receive an instant alert when your child enters and exits this boundary. If your child is at summer camp, for example, you can get an alert whenever your child exits the campgrounds.
Teach – Teach them basic safety tips: don't get in the car with strangers; don’t take candy from strangers; if a stranger offers you a ride, report it to the nearest trusted adult. If mom or dad are not around, teach your kids to report it to their caregiver, such as a camp counselor or a soccer coach.
Cross - Instruct them in how to become smart pedestrians. Practice checking traffic both ways before crossing the street, crossing at designated crosswalks, and walking instead of running.
First Aid – Keep a first-aid kit in a convenient location and make sure everyone knows where it.
Sunproof – Make sure kids always wear sunblock when outside, even when the weather is overcast or rainy. Hats and sunglasses are also wise for bright days.
Hydrate – Any time your kids are active or are playing out in the sun, provide them with water bottles (no pop or high-sugar juices!) and remind them to take sips regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty.
It's important to keep your kids safe, but it’s also critical to encourage them to stay active and engaged.
You want to protect your children. We all do. But you can't lock them indoors, especially not during the gorgeous summer months. Encourage their natural curiosity, find smart ways to channel their energy, and (gasp!) even let them skin their knee every once in awhile.
With the Amber Alert GPS smart locator slipped into a child’s pocket, backpack, or clipped onto clothing you can call and find each other anytime – so he or she can discover the world around them.
Your children will be OK. Exploring is a natural part of childhood.