(WTNH) — Summer break is almost here, and parents across Connecticut will be looking for ways to keep children entertained.
News 8 spoke with family lifestyle expert Meredith Sinclair, author of the book “Well Played: The ultimate guide to awakening your family’s playful spirit” about ideas parents can use to make summer fun no matter what a family’s budget may be.
One of the challenges many parents face is getting kids to go play outside when they have so many entertainment options inside, including television, movies, and video games. Meredith said that the key is prioritizing it in the day’s activities.
“You make space and time for it. Don’t over-schedule to the point that kids don’t have time to simply go outside and play; and then you choose activities wisely. You choose things that encourage open-ended play and active play.”
Parents joining in with kids on the fun can be part of the plan too.
“Play is not just for the kids. When we as parents model playfulness, that’s the best.”
Meredith had some new toys to recommend for playing outside this summer.
“This is the new toy for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s a radio controlled toy called the ‘skateboarding Mikey’. It’s Michaelangelo on a skateboard, and you can make him do wheelies, spins, and other different tricks. What I love about this toy is that it gets kids outside and gets them playing with their friends. If your child goes outside with this, all of this friends are going to come around and try it.”
After playing with Michaelangelo doing tricks, then it’s time for kids to try on their own.
“Check out this cool new ride-on from Razor called the Razor Ripsurf. It’s like a small surfboard on wheels. It was designed by surfers in southern California, so it cuts and carves just like a real surfboard. Your 8-year-olds and older are going to really love playing with this outside.”
Next is a way for kids to capture the fun without one of the more expensive cameras on the market.
“We all love the action-cam to record our adventures on, but we don’t want to give our kids the really expensive ones that we buy, so you want one that’s made for kids. This is made by V-TEC, and is called the Kiddie-Zoom Action Cam. Kids can take great video on it and great still pictures, and it has mounts for their helmet or skateboard, and a waterproof case that lets them go up to six feet under the water, and record their adventures there too.”
When asked what’s the secret to finding a toy that will have a long-lasting impact on a child’s memory, Sinclair said it’s about playability.
“You want to think about things that are open-ended, not something that has one purpose. You want process over product. You want them to be working with this toy in all kinds of new ways. It should be able for the children to actually direct it themselves.”
For more ideas, or to learn more about Meredith Sinclair and her books, visit MeredithPlays.com