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Fun summer activities for children and parents

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Jun 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Now that schools have released children for the summer, it falls on parents to entertain while also making sure their minds stay fresh for learning in the fall. 

There are many things to do with children in Wilson County, as well as home activities that will keep them busy enough to keep parents sane and children entertained as summer inches closer. 

Creativity is a great way to keep young brains occupied. There are plenty of things you can do with regular household items without breaking the bank. Try collecting recyclable items like cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, paper bags, magazines, this newspaper and whatever else makes sense and let children put it all together to build a sustainable fort. 

Also try out things like hosting an imaginary circus in the backyard. Children can dress up like clowns, create their own character or pretend to be animals and then make up skits and acts to perform. Try decorating bikes and wagons to make a children’s parade for the Fourth of July or other summer event. 

Get creative with food as well by doing things like making popsicles out of their favorite juice, baking cupcakes in an ice cream cone and decorating them or cutting out fruit with cookie cutters. 

Encourage entrepreneurship in children by helping them set up a lemonade stand or a bike wash. 

The outdoors can be a refreshing change of pace after children have spent long hours indoors during the school year. Set them to work in the garden, flowerbed or around the house with special projects. Let them plant their own herb or flower garden and watch it grow. 

Local parks have a lot to offer like sand volleyball, guided activities, hiking, biking and skating trails, pools and splash pads, horseback riding, boating, playgrounds and more. Make it interesting by creating a scorecard and voting for the family’s favorite after visiting a number of local recreation areas. There’s Don Fox Community Park in Lebanon and Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet or find a list of recreation areas at visitwilsoncounty.com. 

Reading is also a proven way to keep them fresh, and the Lebanon Public Library’s summer reading program creates incentive for children, teens and adults to keep reading during the summer months. Children from kindergarten through sixth grade can read 20 books and receive a pass to the Wilson County Fair with an armband for unlimited rides. Teens in seventh through 12th grades can win gift cards for their participation. 

The reading program started May 26, but is open for registration until June 30. The summer reading program runs through July 14 and also includes programs at the library with visits from zoo animals, musical entertainers, magicians, Channel 4’s Snowbird, the Nashville Sounds’ mascot Buster and more. Find more information and a calendar for all programs at lebanonlibrary.net. 

These are just a few ideas to keep both children and parents occupied for the summer. Above all, just have fun and let the children take the lead with creativity.

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