Focus on Families- Kids and adults can enjoy themselves together this summer

Written by Contributor. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on June 27, 2017 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

School’s out, and so are your nerves. Your kids are bored, yet you never seem to have enough time in the day to accomplish anything.

Maybe parents and children can work and play together. Along the way, maybe the two groups can learn something from each other.

Here are 10 suggestions for family-friendly activities this summer:

Ever been to a Gary South Shore RailCats game? It’s a great place to experience professional sports without taking on the federal deficit. There’s always something going on at U.S. Steelyard. Visit www.railcatsbaseball.com for more details. If you like really old-time baseball (when it was two words), try the Grinders from Deep River County Park. The Grinders’ schedule is available at www.lakecountyparks.com.

How about watching old movies with the kids? We’re talking really old movies – before there was a ratings system (or a need for one). How about Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Errol Flynn and Olivia deHaviland, or the Duke himself, John Wayne? Maybe you can impress the kids with your knowledge of movie trivia. Your kids might even freak out when they learn that movies didn’t always come in color.

Ever consider taking up a new hobby? Parents Magazine recommends that adults learn a new skill with their children. This could include horseback riding, pottery, and ballet. The magazine notes that children may feel it affirming to see their parents struggling to master new skills, just as they are.

Summer is a great time to study the stars. It’s educational, plus the night air helps children fall asleep faster. Families can view the planets together or spend an early morning watching a meteor shower. Kids can make star maps and locate their favorite stars and constellations, or they can make sundials to measure time on sunny days. Visit www.skyandtelescope for more ideas.

Maybe it’s time to adopt a pet. Shelters are always looking for good families. Pets not only become a member of the family, but they teach us something about ourselves while giving us unconditional love. If you can’t adopt an animal at this time, perhaps the local animal shelter can use donations (food, cat litter, cleaning supplies) that your family can provide.

Been to Indianapolis lately? There is more to our state capital than the Colts or Pacers. There are museums, art galleries, a zoo, and even a baseball stadium – Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, a farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That stadium is located very near the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. Interested? Visit www.visitindy.com for Indianapolis tourism information.

Family gardening offers many benefits. Surveys have shown that people who grew up gardening or lived near gardens maintain their green thumbs as adults. Benefits from gardening include positive social and interpersonal skills, healthy eating and nutrition, science achievements and attitudes toward learning, design skills, and environmental stewardship. Visit www.childrenandnature.org to learn more.

Americans are known for their volunteer spirit. According to the folks at Family Volunteer Day, family volunteering strengthens families and communities. Whether it’s kids working with their parents or other relatives, families engaged in service can instill in the next generation a lifelong commitment to volunteering. Youth volunteers can also develop positive values, including caring and empathy.

Have you been to the Shrine of Christ’s Passion? Located along Ind. 41 (Wicker Avenue) in St. John, it’s one of those places in Northwest Indiana you should visit, even if you’re not Roman Catholic. It’s an inspiring place with its images of Jesus on the way to his crucifixion. Amazingly, despite all the visitors to this outdoor setting, it’s also a very private place, thanks in part to the tall grasses along the pathway. The website is www.shrineofchristspassion.org.

Pierogi Fest in Whiting is another one of those events you must experience. From Mr. Pierogi to grown women dressed as buscias (grandmothers) to the Polka Parade with its not-so-precision lawnmower brigade, this festival is not just for those of Eastern European descent (but it helps). This year’s festival runs July 28-30. Visit www.pierogifest.net for a schedule of events.

There’s always the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Established in 1966, this ecological gold mine features a string of sandy beaches and trails through sand dunes, marshland, and jack pine forests. The nearly 24-mile-long tract has more than 369 species of flowering plants, while the park staff offers educational and fun programs for families. Call 219-395-1882 to learn more.

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