Last Updated on August 23, 2021
Parents are always looking for fun and educational ways to keep their kids busy and engaged over the summer. As most schools plan to reopen in the fall, now is a great time to open your child’s mind to get him or her mentally prepared for back-to-school learning.
This month, Granite and TREND Transformations has done its own homework by having found some fun and enlightening summer activities that will spark your child’s curiosity while making learning fun. Try one or try them all. The object is to have fun while learning.
Build language skills with a “word jar”
Using a “word jar” is a fun and easy way to build your child’s vocabulary and spelling skills. Simply find an empty jar (any clear container will do) and fill it with colorful pieces of paper with different words written on each one. (The words should be specific to your child’s grade level.) Then, each day, have your child pick one word from the jar and ask them what it means. You can even make it more fun and rewarding by making it the “word of the day” and then ask them to use it in conversation throughout the day. For the little ones, you can add a fun challenge by having them tell you the color of the paper, too!
Grow their love of science by planting a vegetable or flower garden
Science is all around us. It’s even more fun to learn about it when you can see it happening before your eyes. Planting a vegetable or flower garden can teach your child lifelong skills, such as gardening, while also building their knowledge of different types of plants. It’s a lesson on the wonders of nature that will remain with them for years to come. As an added bonus, have them make garden markers using popsicle sticks to identify each plant. Who knows? This just might get them to eat their veggies, too. Just add water and watch them grow!
Sharpen math skills with a memory game
This fun memory game is reminiscent of the classic game of “Concentration”—only with paper plates! Here’s how to set it up. Use an even number of paper plates and draw items on each one. You can use numbers, words, shapes, colors, or even stickers of animals if your artistic talents leave something to be desired. Just be sure you make two of each item in order to have a pair to match with. Then, place the plates face down on the lawn (or whichever surface you choose) and challenge the kids to find the matches. Once they have found the matches during the math challenge, ask them to add or multiply the numbers. Depending on what skills you want to practice, this interactive and memory-boosting game can be easily adapted to learn shapes, colors, words, or anything you can imagine.
Develop creative & abstract thinking with arts and crafts
Kids love to express themselves and show off their creative sides. This summer, hand them a paintbrush and have them paint garden rocks and plant containers. It’s a great summer project that will add color and beauty to your backyard. Additionally, they’ll love showing off their work to family and friends!
Spark their interest in space with a backyard telescope
Gazing through a backyard telescope is a fun way to give your kids a lesson in astronomy. You can test their knowledge on the planets and stars, and you might even help them to try and identify constellations! It’s a fun nighttime activity the entire family can enjoy.
Install a bird feeder to learn about ornithology
Birdwatching is a soothing way to enjoy your summer days while relaxing in your backyard. Installing a bird feeder will invite “friends of the feather” from all species and give your kids a chance to learn and identify them in all their beauty. To make this activity more fun, borrow a book on bird watching from your local library to make identifying each species easier. You might even learn about some of them yourself!
We hope you enjoyed this blog and will try some of these summer fun learning activities with your kids. For more summer activities for kids, check out our blog, “Fun and Budget-Friendly Summer Activities for Kids.”
Did you know that now is a great time to start thinking about a kitchen or bath renovation? Try our cool Visualizer tool for kitchens and baths. It allows you to see what your space will look like BEFORE the renovation. Consider it a fun summer activity you can do while relaxing in your own backyard. Contact us today to schedule your free in-home, or virtual, design consultation.
Last Updated on August 9, 2021
With summer in full swing, backyard grills are working overtime as lighter fare is taking center stage for healthy summer cooking. We all know eating healthy should be a year-round priority, but summertime seems to make it a bit easier. That’s because we tend to grill our foods more—and fuss about them less. But what about summertime indulgences that can derail your healthy eating habits?
This month, Granite and TREND Transformations has uncovered some helpful tips for healthy summer eating, along with important suggestions for how you and your family can enjoy a safe and tasty-filled season.
Seek out healthier alternatives
Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs: These are the foods of summer that taste amazing when cooked on the grill. And we can’t forget about family favorites like homemade potato and macaroni salads! As delicious as these foods may be, they can be packed with hidden fat and calories. Did you know there are healthier options to these family favorites that can still make your taste buds water while you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here are some easy swaps you can make that are delicious and calorie-conscious:
- Turkey burgers
- Plant-based meats
- Turkey and chicken hot dogs
- Grilled portobello mushrooms
- Greek yogurt instead of mayo in picnic salads such as coleslaw, potato, and macaroni.
Health tip: Serving your meats on skewers—shish kabob-style—is an easy way to maintain portion control. It makes food more fun to eat, too!
Safety tip: Be sure to keep foods at safe temperatures, especially when dining outdoors. When grilling, meats should be cooked almost immediately, and leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator quickly. And dairy-based foods, such as salads and dips, should be kept cold and never left in the heat.
Grilling fruits and vegetables
When you think of healthy eating, you can’t help but think of fruits and veggies. But how much is enough or—dare we say it—too much? Getting your daily servings of fruits and veggies just seems easier in the summer months. Maybe it’s the grill. Or maybe it’s the abundance of fresh produce available at your local market. Or, maybe it’s the delicious ways in which you can prepare fruits and veggies that make them fun to eat. We’ve found some delicious and fun ways to cook and serve yours:
- Grill fresh veggies—such as zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, or peppers, among others—and baste them with your favorite marinade. Or, you can thread them onto a skewer for a fun and festive presentation. And don’t forget the corn-on-the-cob. Wrap up those golden ears in aluminum foil and grill them to perfection.
- Grilling fruit is one of today’s sweetest cooking trends. Try topping fresh sliced pineapple with a combination of brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Then, wrap in foil and grill until tender and aromatic. Peaches make a great grilling treat, too. Just add a dollop of cream and enjoy!
- Thread fresh cut-up fruit such as melon, strawberries, and pineapple on wooden skewers for an easy snack or dessert. It’s a fun way to serve while maintaining portion control.
Health tip: There’s nothing more refreshing than eating fresh fruit on a hot summer’s day, but even too much natural sugar is not a good thing. Watermelon, for example, may be a summer favorite—but its high sugar content can make those calories add up quickly. Enjoy in moderation.
Watch your water intake
Having fun in the sun is part of the summer experience. It’s also one of the easiest ways to become dehydrated. Did you know by the time you feel thirsty you’re most likely already dehydrated? Here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated while having fun in the summer sun:
- If you’re outdoors for a longer period of time than 30 minutes, experts recommend drinking a large glass of water upon coming indoors.
- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to maintain optimum hydration.
Frozen and fruity drinks can turn any summer day into a party, but they can also pack on the pounds with their high sugar content—not to mention the brain freeze. For a healthier option, keep a pitcher of “spa water” chilled in the refrigerator. Simply fill a pitcher with your favorite flat or sparkling water and add fresh slices of lemons, cucumbers, fresh peaches, and berries. You can even add fresh herbs such as mint and basil for an interesting twist.
Maintaining safe surfaces for food preparation
Before food makes it to your outdoor grill or served to your guests, it must first pass through your kitchen. Healthy cooking begins with maintaining a clean and fresh countertop. Did you know that etherium® By E-Stone surfaces by Granite and TREND Transformations are enhanced with Microban® antimicrobial protection to stay cleaner, fresher, and more durable for longer? This antimicrobial technology is built into our products, which not only adds a level of product protection against the growth of bacteria, but also makes our surfaces easier to clean—and stay cleaner—in between cleanings.
What are you cooking up this summer? We hope you enjoyed our blog on healthy summer eating and learned some new ways to make your meals for this warm season even healthier.
Do your kitchen countertops need a refresh? Our beautiful line of etherium® By E-Stone surfaces can provide the “luxe look” you’ve been searching for while reducing the growth of bacteria, 24/7. Contact us today for a free in-home, or virtual, design consultation.