Weekly Feature

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Rainy Day Activities for Kids

July 03, 2009
by Lindsey Chapman
A rainy day doesn't have to dampen your plans for a perfect summertime adventure with your kids. We’ve found some of the best Web sites to make time spent indoors more fun.

Get Them Moving

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One of the worst problems facing housebound kids is how to expend energy (and not at the expense of their parents’ sanity). Never fear. Disney Family has advice on how to get kids exercising safely, and even has instructions for making your own exercise equipment.

For Kids Two and Up

There’s so much to learn when you’re little. Nick Jr. helps parents encourage children ages 2 and older to develop a variety of skills, including hand/eye coordination, musical abilities, social and emotional skills and creative arts talents. The “Age-by-Age Activity Guide” features a vast array of projects and activities, most of which require supplies that you’re likely to have around home.

Family Education Network offers activities for parents who aren’t afraid to let their kids get a little messy. With fun ideas like bath paints, flour drawings and homemade silly putty to choose from, even neatniks will be inclined to get their hands dirty.

Deploy the Crayons

Being cooped up indoors is a prime opportunity to break out the art supplies. Crayola has more than 1,000 printable color sheets on its Web site. But Crayola doesn’t only help parents with rainy days; road trips are also made easy via printable travel games designed to accompany kids on their journey.

Online Nature Walk

Junior entomologists will have no trouble getting excited about the content available from the Smithsonian Museum’s “Insects at the Smithsonian” section. Tour the O. Orkin Insect Zoo or learn about the National Insect Collection, home to more than 35 million insect specimens. Some of the material here is a little advanced, but the site is worth a visit—even if all you do is look at the amazing photographs.

Kids won’t be disappointed by the animals they’ll see in the videos and photos available at National Geographic for Kids. The easy-to-understand captions, stories and narration make the material suitable for most ages. When the kids are ready to move away from the computer, stop by the “Activities” page for some fun indoor ideas that will take them to the kitchen, to the craft box and to their own lab for some unique science experiments.

Mental Exercise

Many parents worry that their children unlearn in three months of summer what they spent nine months committing to memory during the school year. If your kids could stand to flex their mental muscles, give BrainBashers a try. This exciting site, which was created by a teacher, is packed with brain teasers, logic puzzles, optical illusions and much more. The material is always changing, too, with new puzzles added a few times a month.

According to Common Core, an education research group based in Washington, D.C., most of America’s children are falling behind in their knowledge of the world, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported last year. A review of what 17-year-olds knew of United States and world history revealed that approximately 25 percent of teens questioned weren’t sure who Adolf Hitler was.

Several thought Columbus came to the New World after 1750, and still others thought “The Scarlet Letter” was a piece of correspondence, or something dealing with a witch trial. Time for Kids will help get youngsters off to an early start in learning about other cultures and countries around the world, along with important facts about U.S. news and history.
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