The kids are out of school for the summer, and some parents may soon start counting down to the start of school in the fall. 

Part of the summer challenge is finding productive activities for the kids to do. Summer camps are great, but only cover a week or two. The Owatonna public schools made some suggestions in their recent email newsletter.

Have the kids help plan the summer vacation. You may have already decided where you are going, but they can help map out the trip. This should include grabbing a large multi-fold paper map. My kids simply Google everywhere they go nowadays. But that backfires once in a while. People should still know how to read and use a map. Not to mention that refolding the map might be a time killer too. It would also serve as a chance to talk about the budget for a vacation or how much it costs to travel.

Kids can set up a lemonade stand. Such an effort would include food prep, handling money and making change, marketing, permits from the city and probably a visit from the health inspector. Hopefully we haven't reached that point yet, but it would certainly be a learning experience either way.

Create or follow a recipe. Possibly make dinner to give mom and dad a break. My son made a different cookie recipe nearly every day with his friend over one summer. They occasionally even cleaned up the kitchen and once in a while had a few leftover cookies when my wife and I got home from work.

There are so many board games for so many ages that can present the chance to stay away from the TV and computer screen and learn some strategies and good sportsmanship. The school district email blast also mentioned the obvious learning tools of flash cards and books. The Owatonna Library's summer reading program offers great incentives too.

A walk to the park and a trip to the grocery store can offer random learning opportunities as well. Anything to avoid hearing, "I'm bored," by June 20.


  • Ingvar

    Plan a family trip

    Grab a map and plan a trip. No use of Google maps for this exercise.

  • Daniel Hurst
    Daniel Hurst

    Set up a Lemonade Stand

    My kids did a candy stand a couple of times, leading to a river of chocolate running down the driveway on a hot summer day.

  • Tamara Gruhot / Townsquare Media
    Tamara Gruhot / Townsquare Media

    Follow a recipe

    Have fun. Improvise. My daughter made an enormous cookie one time. It didn't work out too well, but makes for a fun story.

  • Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media
    Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

    Play a Board Game

    The game of RISK or Monopoly may burn up an entire day, or even two.

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    Read a Book

    It's an easy throwback and a proven winning option.

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