Summer is here and with it comes that foreboding stretch of empty highway parents call summer break. Sure, it’s peppered with sun and fun, snow cones, a vacation perhaps, but then—sometime into the third week—comes the notorious whine “I’m boooooored!”
Relax, technology is on your side during those long days, parents. So fire up your tools and get the kids connected to summer activities that matter to them, to you, and to others.
Here are just a few ways to encourage kids to use technology to spice up their summer:
• Land a job via Facebook. Tell your kids to design the job of their choice—mowing lawns, cooking meals, cleaning houses, pet sitting, washing cars, or being a personal assistant to an elderly neighbor—and post it on Facebook. They can create their ideal pay, hours, and job description and use social media to get the word out easily (and you can vet the respondents).
• Build a family tree. Summer is a great time to let your kids spearhead the effort to trace your family roots. There are several great tools you can use free to get your family inspired to research and learn more about your family history.
• Check out DoSomething.org. DoSomething.org is the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people and social change. The site encourages teens and young adults to get involved locally and nationally in causes such as bullying, animal cruelty, homelessness, the environment and cancer, among other causes. The national campaign targets 13- to 25-year-olds and encourages them to make an impact—without relying on money, an adult, or a car. There’s a Facebook Page and an Android app to help your kids connect too. An “Action Finder” is located on the front page of the site that allows a teen to choose what kind of activity, how many people, where, and the duration of time they want to do something useful in their community. There are hundreds of cool ideas to get your kids growing personally and helping others.
• Organize family photos. Summer is a great time to organize those thousands of digital photos on your PC (yes, the ones that date back to your teenager’s first steps)! Ask your kids to name and date folders and even pull a few out to have printed and framed.
• Have a Pinterest party. Have your kids browse Pinterest and choose a few craft projects, recipes, or woodworking projects to tackle. Invite the neighborhood. Pinterest parties are creative, (usually) low-cost, and a lot of fun.
• Create a family YouTube channel. Everyone has a YouTube channel, why not your family? Get goofy, record letters to each other, interview one another or share a funny story you want to live in infamy. You can share the video or keep it private.