Fun ideas for summer activities

Edith Lovett

Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Come learn with us as we look at "Tips for freezing Fruits and Vegetables." The class will be held Wednesday, June 9 at the Pulaski County Extension Office. There will be two sessions including 1 to 2 and 4:30 to 5:30. Please call 679-6361 to register for the time you are interested in.

As gardens continue to produce you will find more fresh products added each week at the Farmers Markets. Shop our Lake Cumberland Farmers Market uptown, and do not forget our farmers who sell from their farm site and other locations. Lots of green items are still available, lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, strawberries, and most likely this week you will find radishes, fresh garlic and green onions.

Most of our schools have been out now for at least three weeks, and some longer. There is no doubt that we are all running out of ideas on how to keep our children entertained. This past year has been exceptionally challenging to find ways to entertain our children, but even during normal summers, you are going to have increased chances of hearing "I'm bored," since your children no longer have schoolwork and school play to keep them busy.

As parents, it can be a struggle to offer fun activities for our children, so let them come up with some suggestions. Ask them to make a list of their favorite activities. Presenting it as a challenge can help some children respond. Have them write their ideas on paper, so when they say, "I'm bored," you can have them revisit the list to find something to do.

Begin by helping them brainstorm activities by categories. For example, identify indoor activities, outdoor activities, activities by room, things to do solo or with friends/siblings, everyday events and seasonal activities, etc. Think about activities they can do in your community: all the different types of sports camps including cheerleading, football, basketball, soccer, baseball, track, waterpark passes, swimming classes, day camps, Bible School, activities at the libraries. I am sure you can find other events going on in your neighborhood for children.

It is not too late to plant a container garden. Involve your children by planting a tomato, pepper and basil in a large container. You can call this their pizza garden because these vegetables are often used in making pizza. Tomatoes and peppers are great plants your children can plant in a container. These plants are available at the Lake Cumberland Farmers Market.

Another idea is to plan the week. Just like meal planning, develop a daily theme that is unique. Have your child go back through their activity list. Choose the exercises that excite them the most or see if a few will go together to fill an afternoon. For example, during a "Movement Monday" your kids could go on a treasure hunt, bike through the neighborhood or explore nature during a walk through the woods. Go on a story walk and pretend to be characters in the book. Are you pirates on the open sea searching for lost treasure, or maybe a mermaid searching for the perfect rock on which to soak up the sun and sing a song? Return home to read a book or perform a nature show that explores the natural world.

Make a plan for a day when the weather is not cooperative with you. In making your plans, be sure to include some activities they can do at home such as making a snack, sweeping the sidewalk, visiting an elderly neighbor, grooming the pet, picking up their room, and in order at the end of the day, a time for reading or doing a puzzle. Be sure to include a time for reading and exercising.

Don't worry if the weather is not perfect. There are a ton of free things to do online to keep your kids entertained and engaged in learning while indoors. Some websites with free, fun and educational content include PBS Kids, National Geographic Kids, Khan Academy and Smithsonian Institute. Your children can even learn a new language for free through You can also find websites like, which offers more than 300 dance and yoga videos to get kids moving.

You can find more information on raising healthy families at the Pulaski County Extension office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Call 679-6361.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Your children will love this Chicken Taco.

Chicken Taco

Taco Season

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

Mix the taco blend ingredients and set aside

Chicken and Vegetables

1-pound boneless chicken breast thinly sliced

1-15 ounce can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed.

1-15 ounce can no salted added diced tomatoes

1-15 ounce can low sodium corn, drained

12-8-inch whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a 13 by 9 baking pan. Top with black beans, tomatoes, and corn. Sprinkle with taco blend. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and shred. Mix shredded chicken with vegetables. Place chicken taco in whole wheat tortillas; you can also add lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa and avocado if you desire.

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