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From Our Readers: Fun, Low-Cost Summer Activities

Page 5 of 5

By GreatSchools Staff

One Grandmother Goes All Out for Her 7-Year-Old Grandson

"We have many fun summertime adventures together," she writes, "all easy and inexpensive or completely free. My grandson lives in another state and visits me for part of the summer. At those times, I let everything else slide while I devote the time he's with me to just having fun and enjoying being together.

"One of our inside activities, for the hottest parts of the day, is also one we enjoy the most. We make treasure hunts for each other, writing about 20 clues and hiding them, most a little tricky, requiring some thought to figure them out, and some that must be solved by breaking a 'code.' I just buy little 'treasures' from a dollar store, or find little 'treasures' around my house - any treasure he finds is fun for him. He makes most of the treasures he lets me find - drawings, word puzzles, little creations he sculpts or designs from bits of art-project supplies. This game can be as short or as long as you like, depending upon the number and complexity of the clues.

"Another thing we love doing is 'Exploring.' We wear high rubber boots, pack a picnic lunch and take plenty of water and a compass in a backpack. My grandson makes fanciful, if not precise, 'maps' for us to use, and we go into state parks or other heavily wooded areas, exploring. He names certain places on the trip, for map-making and so that we can remember our favorite spots. Sometimes we are 'king and queen,' sometimes 'knights' who protect the beautiful places, sometimes Peter Pan and Captain Hook or other story characters, and sometimes we're just ourselves. I find myself energized by his excitement, by being in wild nature, and by the creative magical acts of making up our adventures and quests as we go along. Sometimes, my grandson writes the stories of our adventures and we make them into a book form.

"A more quiet activity, great for before bedtime, is a game we call 'Child-in-the-Woods.' We each make a one-page game for the other. It begins with a child playing in the woods and ends at his/her safe arrival home. On the path from the 'Deep Woods' to home, where a parent waits, the child must work out ingenious ways to overcome a series of obstacles. The child is sometimes given certain 'powers' to use but often is allowed to use only his/her wits to find solutions. This involves a lot of drawing (lately we've started using colored pencils) and writing, to explain the nature of the obstacles and the solution. When we've finished creating our games, we exchange them, for the other to solve.

"Our most exciting activities are absolutely free, such as using a splash pool and 'water-squirters' (we don't call them 'water-guns'), chasing each other around the back yard and finally falling into the cool water for a rest. We cook together, make creative picnics, play hide-and-seek, do many kinds of artwork, make up word games and write stories (sometimes mysteries) together. We devise or just spontaneously act out plays, using 'dress-up clothes' from a big basket I keep of lengths of fabric, old costume jewelry, 'magic wands,' and other props from around the house, as well as stuffed animals, which can be other characters in the plays.

"Imagination is our greatest 'toy,' and allows us to create adventures and fun games from virtually nothing."

Comments from readers

"I'm a Korean middle student. I search this site, It's very fun! Does your school wear uniform? Does your school have a gym?..."
"My 6 and 3 year old love playing 'I spy' it makes a great indoor or out door activity!!!!!!!"