WASHINGTON (July 2, 2004)—A recent National Geographic Kids magazine survey on the best and worst parts of summer vacation found that getting bored was kids’ least favorite part of the long summer break, followed by bug bites and missing friends from school. Topping the “best” list was going on family trips, having extra time to spend with friends and relaxing with no responsibilities.
To help kids (and parents) beat the boredom blues, the editors at National Geographic Kids magazine have identified six low-cost boredom busters that will make the summer memorable for the whole family and keep kids active, both physically and mentally.
Enjoy a family excursion — The National Geographic Kids vacation survey found family trips headed the list of kids’ favorite part about summer, and going to a “big city” was the top pick. Not everyone can visit New York or Los Angeles, but an excursion to a nearby city with museums, ethnic restaurants, zoos and other sightseeing opportunities can have a big impact on kids without costing too much. Water and theme parks are also high on everyone’s fun list, as are beaches and national parks.
Go beyond the movies — Summer movies can have even more impact with a little creative thinking. See “Spiderman-2,” then investigate some facts about real spiders and compare their traits with those of the super hero. Check out Disney’s new movie “America’s Heart and Soul,” celebrating ordinary people with extraordinary stories, and seek out local heroes in your community or within your family. Talk to your parents and grandparents and find out more about their lives. If you’re a “Harry Potter” fan, see if you can master a magic trick or two by summer’s end.
Celebrate the Olympics — The return of the Olympics to Greece (Aug. 13-29) is a great opportunity to celebrate the culture of the place that gave birth to the Olympics back in 776 B.C. Find Mount Olympus on a map, learn about the history of the early Olympics and kick off the opening ceremonies with a feast of Greek food. You can still cheer for team USA!
Make something together — Transform a boring white t-shirt with fabric paints or turn it into a tie-dye creation. Create your own fossils with plaster of Paris or clay purchased at any art/craft store. Start an herb, vegetable or flower garden. In addition to caring for your plants, you can learn how to use them to make some wonderful meals or dress the table.
Take a field trip — Contact your local chamber of commerce to find out about nearby factories or farms that feature public tours. See if your library organizes excursions, or take a day trip to a nearby nature center or museum.
Volunteer — Use some free time in the summer to lend a hand in your community. Contact churches and nonprofits about local service activities, or come up with your own great projects, like neighborhood clean-ups or helping neighbors in need.
“We know from our survey that kids want to spend more time with their parents,” said Melina Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Kids magazine. “Summer is a great time to do that, and with a little creativity and planning, it can be a special time for both parents and kids. We hope these tips help get this summer off to a great start.”
Nearly 400 members of NG Kids readers’ advisory team took part in the online survey from May 28 to June 14, in which the 7- to 14-year-olds were asked about the best and worst part of summer and preferred activities.
National Geographic Kids, a multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, empowers its readers by making it fun to learn about the world. Published 10 times a year, this award-winning magazine with a circulation of 1.2 million is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $3.95 a copy. Its Web site is at nationalgeographic.com/ngkids; AOL Keyword: NatGeo.