4 educational indoor activities for kids when it's just too darn hot outside
Even the hardiest child or parent can balk at the thought of venturing outside on a blisteringly hot summer day. Unfortunately for many families, high temperatures and humidity are unavoidable at the end of the season. If you and your student are understandably tired of outdoor activities and are seeking indoor alternatives that are also educational, the five ideas that appear below are well worth trying.
Pour yourselves a glass of lemonade, turn on a fan or the air conditioning, and prepare to learn a lesson or two!
1. Baking or cooking
Does your child have a favorite food, such as chocolate chip cookies or vegetable sushi? If she does, making it together can be an enjoyable respite on a humid, sweltering day. (You can also look for frozen or no-bake recipes for maximum relief from the heat!) Both cooking and baking utilize math and science principles, and if your student is adventurous with food, you can even create an experiment that tracks the effects of modifications on a familiar recipe. What happens, for instance, if you double or omit the baking powder or baking soda in a batch of cookies?
2. Olympic viewing sessions
The Rio Olympic Games, which conclude on Sunday, August 21, offer near-continuous television programming. While staring at a screen for hours at a time is far from ideal, the occasional viewing session can offer your family several learning opportunities. If you watch a lesser-known summer sport, like fencing, rugby sevens or sculling, encourage your child to research its history and rules. If you happen upon a country that is unfamiliar to your student, this may also be the perfect time to locate it on a map and read about its population, landscape, food, famous athletes and so on.
Come August, the summer heat can be so oppressive that any active pastime can seem highly unappealing — even indoors, in the air conditioning. On days like these, the popular art of paper folding, or origami, is a wonderful way to exercise the mind while resting the body. A brief Google search for “easy origami” returns origami items like dogs and sailboats, and completing them can reinforce creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, fine motor development, and much more. Thanks to its varying complexity, origami is suitable for a wide range of ages, though young children may require some parental assistance.
4. Water play
An afternoon at the pool is a summer staple, but it is not the only form of water play. If you and your family live far from a pool or if you do not wish to travel to a pool, you can fill a bathtub or large sink with cool water and a variety of objects that are perfect for safe water play. These may include cups, small plastic balls and sponges. Through routine play, young students can learn about concepts like cause and effect, while older children can complete more complex challenges like creating a floating boat from household materials.
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