It’s the time of year that all kids look forward to and almost all parents are nervous about—summer!  While kids have images of days at the pool with their friends, bike rides around the neighborhood and freedom, parents are worried about keeping their kids safe and active while not losing any of the academic progress they made in the past year.  Many parents are also looking for opportunities for their kids to get involved in new things this summer.  Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for parents and their children this summer depending on what the goal is and the age of children involved.  Read on for some great options!


Keep them Active

With childhood obesity on the rise, most parents are concerned with keeping their kids active this summer.  While some kids are involved in sports or are running around with their friends all summer, other kids are more inclined to play on their computers or watch TV. For these kids, providing them with a fun and new activity is a great way to show them that staying active is a great alternative to technology.

“Summer brings many opportunities for kids to have fun and learn at the same time,” states Jeff Dousharm with Tiger Rock Academy. “From athletic fun to enrichment opportunities and camps, both Lincoln and Omaha have a lot to offer for kids and families.  Tiger Rock Academy offers summer programs that provide fantastic workouts, lots of fun, AND the skills to be focused and ready for school when it’s time to go back. University studies have proven the results of Tiger Rock’s curriculum and how it impacts kids’ social initiative, focus, and reduced fear of failure.  Also, Entrepreneur Magazine recently recognized Tiger Rock as #1 in its category of martial arts and fitness.”

Getting kids involved in sports is a great way to keep them active, help them make new friends and maybe even develop some new skills they can use when the school year rolls around again.  Check with your child on what sports they might be most interested in, then ask around to see what summer leagues or casual pick-up games might be available.  Teaching your child to enjoy physical activity from an early age is a good way to instill lifelong habits of health.  Pair that with healthy eating lessons (or even having them help you in the kitchen prepare healthy meals) and your child will have a headstart on leading a health-conscious life.

Keep Them Engaged

It may be tempting for your kids to zone out and ‘turn off their brain’ as soon as school lets out.  Finding activities that require some mental engagement is important so that kids don’t lose ground when the next year comes.  Summer is also the perfect opportunity for them to learn something new or develop an interest in a new hobby or even future career path.

Camps are usually a good summer option to keep kids active and help them make new friends, but if mental engagement is your goal, camps may not spring to the top of your list.  However, the Strategic Air and Space Museum has some excellent summer camps that will spark your child’s interest and provide an experience they won’t soon forget.  Their Super Science Summer Camps, which include a robotics camp, a mad scientist camp, a weekend flight camp and an astronaut academy, will keep any kid entertained and probably teach them something new.

Their new The Sky’s the Limit camp is especially exciting as kids ages 10-14 will get to fly in a private airplane, launch a weather balloon, examine real meteorites from space, fly model rockets and airplanes, explore the night sky through giant telescopes and even ride aboard a hot air balloon!  If your son or daughter is not already interested in science or aeronautics, these camps will very likely spark the interest in them this summer.

If the camp times don’t work for your family or if your kids aren’t in the age range to attend, you can still visit the Museum to view amazing exhibits on aircraft, history and space or attend some of their exciting events like Helicopter Day and the Museum Family Fun Carnival. Summer isn’t the only time to visit the Museum, either.  Consider visiting them for Trick or Treating or for their Holiday Air Affair events.

Keep Them Entertained

Parties and get-togethers are a summer tradition and most adults look forward to barbeques, family reunions and block parties.  These should be events the kids look forward to as well and you can make any event more kid-friendly by getting some fun inflatables from Hoppy Kidz.  With their inflatable bouncy houses, Pony Hops and other inflatable options, you can turn any get-together into a kid-friendly party that will keep the young ones entertained and active for hours on end.  If your kids celebrate birthdays during the summer months, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a blow-out event and invite all their friends.  Rent the new pirate-themed bouncy house for a special treat for all the kids and make sure you include plenty of food, soft drinks and fun!

Make sure you put an emphasis on family fun this summer as well.  It’s good for kids to see that they don’t need to be constantly stimulated by outside activities or their friends to have fun.  Try implementing a family game night or enjoy the back yard after a barbeque with a family game of t-ball or touch football.  Summer weekends can be a good opportunity for family activities like going to the zoo, playing a round of golf together or even just spending the day heading out to the mall, a movie and dinner at a fun restaurant.

Just because you need to keep working while your kids out of school doesn’t mean you can’t also take a break when the work day is over and enjoy the summer just as much as your kids!

Extra Help with School

Is your child struggling with a subject in school?  Summer is the perfect time to get them some tutoring or extra help.  They won’t have to worry about a stigma as their peers won’t even have to know they are getting assistance and they won’t already be overloaded with other homework.  Contact the school if you are looking for tutors, or consider taking them to a business that specializes in helping kids with reading, math or with specific problems such as dyslexia.

Don’t Overload Them

It might be tempting for you to pack your child’s summer schedule with activities.  Soccer on Mondays, T-ball on Tuesdays, acting classes on Wednesdays and so on and so on.  However, when you do this, you are not only stressing yourself out as you’ll need to keep track of everything (and probably drive them back and forth!), but you’re also not allowing them to just enjoy some of their summer being a kid and relaxing or spending time with their friends.  Choose a few activities that you think will interest or be good for them, but allow them the time entertain themselves as well.

Summer should be a highly anticipated time of year—both for you and your children!  Don’t stress about what activities to get your kids involved with this year.  Do some early planning and select a few activities that you know will appeal to your children while still helping them to learn something new or improve on a skill or interest they already possess.