CLEVELAND – July is National Anti-Boredom Month, and there are probably a lot of parents looking for ways to keep their kids entertained this summer.
Gina Robinson, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s, has some helpful advice.
“Now is a nice time to be outside, so you can paint outside. You can get bubbles. They are a fun way to engage toddlers, to get them to run around and watch their face light up when they realize they can pop or catch a bubble. Sidewalk chalk or drawing outside, just anything that is hands on or experiential is great for kids,” said Dr. Robinson
She said you don’t always have to spend money to keep your kids entertained. There are a lot of free educational events and activities out there. For example, some zoos or museums offer free admission on certain days of the week.
You could also look up science experiments online that use supplies you may already have around the house. Dr. Robinson said going to the park can be a fun way to stay active. You can set up a scavenger hunt or play the “Eye Spy” game while walking.
She is also a big advocate for reading, which can improve vocabulary and comprehension. It doesn’t have to be a book for school, but something they’d personally enjoy, like a comic book.
When it comes to screen time, that should be limited to no more than two hours a day. Dr. Robinson said kids need to be able to use their own imagination.
“I would compare it to being a chef and making a box cake that comes already prepared and all you have to do is add water as opposed to making a cake from scratch and you have to get all the ingredients together yourself. Screens can give you a lot of entertainment and spoon feed it to you, but we want you to be able to entertain yourself,” she explained.
Dr. Robinson said it’s also important to keep safety in mind as you plan activities for the summer. Kids under 12 aren’t allowed to get vaccinated just yet, so try to avoid places with big crowds.