Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finding the Fun in July

July has come more quickly than expected – at least for me! Are you making the most of your summer while it lasts? Are you seeking out fun, teachable moments for your children? They’re all around you, and this month, many of them could be historical in nature.

This month’s big holiday is Independence Day. Towns and cities will have outdoor activities such as live music, fair rides, and fireworks. Take the opportunity to explain to your children what the celebration is all about and what the fireworks represent (bombs bursting in air during the Revolutionary War) and then enjoy yourselves! If you live in an area where the purchase and setting off of small fireworks is perfectly legal, you may teach your children about fire and fireworks safety and then enjoy the pops and flashes at home.

The month of July can become a month of patriotic moments. Travel to nearby historical sites and learn what happened there. After all, who doesn’t love a field trip? My son loved anything related to war, so trips to old battlegrounds excited him. One summer we went to see a reenactment of a Civil War battle that included the firing of a cannon! He loved it! History becomes more meaningful for children when they can see it in person rather than when they have to read about it in a textbook.

Parents’ Day is July 25. What is Parents’ Day, I wonder, and how did it get on my calendar? After all, we already have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. However, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Take this day made to celebrate you; run with it! Direct your children to come up with a creative way to celebrate your family. You may be amazed at what they can come up with. Chances are very good that whatever it is, it will be fun. :-)

July is one hot month in the northern hemisphere. There are a number of ways to beat the heat. Public libraries normally have excellent A/C, and they’re full of fun and educational things to do! They have summer reading programs and other activities for children to enjoy, so take advantage of what your library has to offer. Swimming pools offer teachable moments of water safety and common courtesy. No pool? No worries! There are plenty of water options, from balloons to squirt guns to dancing in the sprinklers. Finding a rainbow in the sprinklers can lead to a lesson on the science of rainbows! It can also lead to a discussion of the first rainbow that God placed in the sky.

Lemonade is the drink of summer. Why not lead the kids in a scientific experiment? Can they make a better lemonade? What if they use different kinds of sweeteners? What if they add the juice of different fruits? Have them take notes and keep track of the recipes they create. This is a fun and tasty project that could result in a new family favorite drink.

Summer nights are warm enough for you to lie out on a quilt and study the stars. While light pollution prevents us from seeing the majority of stars in the sky, the brightest stars – those that make up the constellations – can still be seen. This could be the month you teach your children to recognize the constellations. You don’t know them? Take a trip to a planetarium! Or, if that option isn’t handy, search online for information on the constellations you should be able to see in the night sky this month. As you study the stars, tell your children that God created each one of them and not one falls from the sky without His knowing it.

June passed quickly. Don’t let July slip by without doing something special with your children. Once the time has passed, you can’t get it back. Make plans to enjoy some summer fun while making the most of teachable moments. You’re creating memories that last a lifetime.

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