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Building & Creating: Summer Camp at Home week 10

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Building & Creating: Summer Camp at Home week 10

Kids' interest in creating things is innate

Here we are at the last week of summer. Wow! My boys and I had a memorable summer, and I hope our ideas for a Summer Camp at Home were as helpful to you as they were to us — no bored, mush-minded creatures here!

For the last week — which I anticipate to be a blitzkrieg of back-to-school to-do-list checking — we are going to take it easy and not put too many expectations on this week. My sons love making and building things, and that was the inspiration for this week. If you are ever stumped for something to do, all you have to do is take out some blocks, Legos, crayons, chalk or molding dough and let kids play at will. (Even I like to color too.) If you consider yourself especially crafty and your kids like to do crafts too, then great! Take this week to make all the things you didn’t get around to yet this summer. You could even make it a challenge of sorts.

Mostly this week, I want my kids to have fun because they will be entering new schools and facing a new routine and having to spend time focusing on school work … mostly my kindergartener … but I want them to enjoy the last week of summer. We have some play dates lined up and hope to go bowling and do other fun things. Here are other ideas we will try:

- Play and learn: My boys like watching Bob the Builder and using their play tools. We can pretend to build a house or anything else they want. (Last weekend, we actually did build something at Home Depot’s Kids Workshops. They have a free project the first Saturday morning of every month. We went to the Kids Workshop for the first time then, and now I want to take them every month from now on.) With Legos, MegaBloks, K’NEX, Lincoln Logs and the like, you can build lots of creations. Or if your kids are more into the art side of creating, let them be artists every day. Put on an art show at the end of the week and invite family, friends and neighbors to come to your art gallery to view what you made this week. Whatever your children are into, let them get really creative.

- Field trip: If there is a construction site where you and your kids can safely watch the workers, go for it. Or, take your children to an art museum. The art museum in our city has a children’s area where they can use the art tools and then hang up their work. The kids loved it! If your children like buildings and you have some interesting structures nearby, how about an architecture tour? The world really can be their classroom.

- Crafts: As I already mentioned, bring on the crafts this week! Whatever your kids enjoy the most, make it a focal point.

- Science: Using toys or household items, show kids how a lever works to move objects that are heavier than we could lift — a simple physics lesson. If you have a level, show kids how you use it to make sure something is straight. Any other tools you have are fair game too!

- Language skills: When we go to the library this week, I know my boys will lean toward books featuring construction trucks. Here are other books to look for: Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio; How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons; First Science Experiments: Mighty Machines by Shar Levine; The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds; Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg; Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty; How to Draw by Barbara Soloff-Levy; and At a Construction Site by Don Kilby.

- Cooking: Build cucumber slice skyscrapers. Make celery or melon-cube walls. Offer kids a plate of cut fruits and vegetables, and see what creations they can come up with.

- More: My three-year-old is happy just pushing toy trucks around in the sand. If that works for your kids, then let them enjoy themselves doing that. Any creative play is great!

I hope you had a great summer! Please tell me about it in the comments, whether or not you participated in Summer Camp at Home.

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