Summer is one of those times everyone looks forward to from about mid-May, to the very last day of school. Kids, parents, teachers - everyone is just holding on in those last few weeks, waiting until the freedom of summer break lets them all off the hook for two whole months!
And two days later, amidst the whining about being bored, that there is no food in the house, and "Pleeeeeeaaaaase Mom, I need more time to play Minecraft", every parent at home with their kids just wants to send them right back to school!
My own kids are in a few week-long camps later this summer and are really looking forward to them. Seven is doing a MasterChef styled cooking camp and Nine is off to Paleontology camp at our local university. Other than that, during the day, it's me, and them, and only 90 minutes of screen time allowed.
So here we are, already three weeks into summer, and I've decided we need to establish a few other summer "rules" as well. These are as follows:
- 30 minutes of writing, colouring or drawing.
- Make/build something for at least 30 minutes.
- Play outside for 30 minutes.
- Practice/play guitar for 20 minutes.
- READING for 30 minutes.
The great thing about kids is once they get involved in an activity, 30 minutes can easily stretch to an hour or more. In our house, reading tends to be a bit harder to get going, and for the kids to stay motivated - especially for Seven who is still working on it and just getting into small chapter books.
Both my kids are fact-loving little learners, and like to know how things work, what happens in different countries and cultures, and all matter of weird and wonderful facts about the world they live in. So when I was asked if we wanted to receive and review a copy of the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017, I jumped at the chance to get them something that could really captivate them, and fill those 30 minutes of reading time!
This latest edition of the Almanac features 350+ pages of incredible photos, annual events, fun facts, crafts (which Seven keeps asking me to do!), activities and features about animals, science, exploration, technology, politics and more topics to keep little minds thinking and busy. And it's not just for the kids! I keep picking up the book and flipping to random pages to learn something new. Like the names of all 22 of our Canadian Prime Ministers, or the fact that the Arctic Sea Ice minimum is decreasing at such an alarming rate that scientists are concerned that the Arctic will become ice free during the summer months sometime this century!
The kids have also decided to take up the Almanac NewsMaker Challenge and create a virtual time capsule to show future kids what life is like in 2016. The part about it being a "virtual" time capsule, and that we don't have to actually put all of their treasured items into a capsule and bury it took some explaining, but they get it now, and are busy gathering all their favourite things to do, read, eat, and play with.
If your kids are already singing the "I'm bored." summertime blues, get them in on the fun (and out of your hair for a bit). Visit natgeokids.com/almanac to get all the details and how to enter the challenge and upload their photos. I suspect a plethora of Minecraft, Harry Potter, Frozen, and Pokemon Go pictures will be highly featured in many of the 2016 virtual time capsules.
Here's what Seven and Nine have put together so far:
I also asked Seven to tell me what she liked most about the Almanac and she insisted on writing a "Book Report" in her journal. Here is her completely unbiased review:
You can get the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017 wherever books are sold or on Amazon. As for the remainder of our summer over here, I am happy to have this book around because it is totally helping out with our new Summer Rules. It gets my kids reading and discovering new things, and also inspires them to draw and create, and to get outside and explore their world. So, here's to ALL of us surviving the summer together and learning lots of cool stuff along the way.
P.S.: From page 231, ARRRGH! 17 Facts about Pirates
Sounds good to me!
**This is a sponsored post. All opinions, content and photos are my own and those of my test subjects, ummm, I mean kids! ;)**