The Lender Center for Social Justice is seeking students from all academic disciplines to apply as a 2022-24 Lender Student Fellow. The center welcomes students who are passionate about finding solutions to complex problems and want to sustain and encourage diversity…
The Dog Days of Summer Are Here … Pass the Time With Kid-Friendly Ideas From Syracuse University Child Care Staff
Looking to squeeze in some summer fun in the coming days and weeks before the kids head back to school? We rounded up a few outside-the-box suggestions for fun, both inside and away from the home, courtesy of staff members at the Syracuse University Early Education and Child Care Center and Bernice M. Wright School.
Destinations and Day Trips
- The Ithaca Children’s Garden is a 3-acre public garden designed just for kids and built on the foundational concepts of play and connection to nature. The garden is free and features include honeybee hives, a bird habitat garden, a rice paddy pond, wildflower meadow, farm stand and more.
- Cornell’s Botanic Gardens and Arboretum is regarded by some as one of the best-kept secrets of the Finger Lakes region. Complete with a koi/turtle pond and sculptures, the living museum is free to visit and a fabulous place for a picnic lunch.
- The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, located in Binghamton right next to the Ross Park Zoo, showcases various dramatic playrooms—an ambulance for children to play in, a dentist’s office, hair salon, grocery store, etc. There is also a room for science-based exploration and a storybook garden where children can play.
- The Wolf Mountain Nature Center in Smyrna offers hiking and an opportunity to “meet” wolves, coyotes and foxes. Pack a lunch as there are places to picnic along the mountain! The center also offers a Camping with the Wolves option for families with children 12 years or older.
Adventures and Activities
- Letterboxing is a treasure hunt-style outdoor activity that involves exchanging unique rubber-stamped images by using various websites and mobile apps to search for letterbox clues. The website AtlasQuest.com provides a list of locations within 30 miles of Syracuse where a letterbox is hidden. Bring a blank journal, stamp pad and whatever your personal family stamp will be and head out for an adventure!
- Over 1,100 public libraries and branches across the state are open and offering fun and exciting summer events and enrichment activities for students of all ages. The Summer Reading at New York Libraries program provides access to a variety of books and other resources, and offers creative and educational programs for children and teens to support summer learning and help prevent the “summer slide.”
- Hot day? Try freezing small toys, shells, Lego blocks, glass pebbles, fidgets or any other colorful items in open plastic containers (to-go containers work well), using food coloring or liquid watercolors to color the water. Put them in the backyard or driveway and let kids uncover the treasures while cooling down at the same time! You can even make this activity into a scavenger hunt or, if age-appropriate, provide a small hammer and some golf tees to crack into the frozen treasures.
- Children’s shoes often have a unique pattern on the sole, making the soles of old slippers or broken flip-flops excellent “stamps” to paint with. Put a thin layer of acrylic paint on a paper plate, slide your hand into a slipper or around a flip-flop and “step” it into the paint, then press down on paper or fabric for a unique design.
- Take a cardboard shirt box, place a piece of paper inside and add a few drops of tempera or acrylic paint. Then, drop in a few marbles, golf balls or an old Matchbox car. Hold the sides of the box, as you tip and turn it the balls or car will roll through the paint and make a design.
- Check out the ARTBAR blog’s tutorials for Watercolor Paper Pinwheels and Dreamcatchers (and many, many more at-home craft ideas). Remember, with the Internet at your disposal there is no limit to what you and the kiddos can create together!