Summer Family Tech Activities

The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures:

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source: D Sharon Pruitt

Summer is almost here! Incorporating technology into your summer activities is a great way to keep your kids involved and active with technology.

Far from being an individual activity, technology can help your family be interactive with each other and create memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Out and About

No one wants to stay inside all summer, right? Take your kids out and about on some adventures.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a sport where you use your GPS to find a cache of goodies hidden at a particular coordinate. This is a great way for the entire family get out and explore.

Nature Walks

Try mapping out your nature walk or hike by using sites like Map My Walk or Map My Hike. Encourage your family to take photos with digital cameras or smart phones along the route to share later.

Family Road Trips

Involve the entire family in planning the route and stops. Load up Google Maps and maps out the route. Search together for places near your route to stop that look interesting. Encourage your kids to research online what makes each stop unique and learn about your stop and what’s fun to do there before you go.

2. Create

Family Photographers

Do you have aspiring photographers in the home? Encourage family members to take photos of whatever looks pretty or interesting to them. Once you’ve got your digital cameras full of photos, have your family edit the photos and get creative with them.

Photo editing websites like BigHugeLabs Flickr and FotoTrix can really help your family get creative with their photos by allowing them to add fun and funky effects to their photos.

Movie Studio

Do you have a video camera at home? Take it out of storage and let your family’s imagination run wild with it. Encourage your family to come up with new ideas of what to film. If your kids love to pretend and dress up, encourage them to create their own feature film.

Another idea is to encourage your kids to film their own documentary about the wilds of their own backyard. Once the filming part is done, encourage your kids to cut together their footage on the computer. Gather up the family and hold a family screening night to enjoy all the hard work everyone put in to the production.

Make Your Own Video Game

You know your kids love to play video games. How about encouraging your kids to make one of their own this summer? Creating their own video game can teach kids valuable lessons about how video games work.

YoYo Games is a free site that allows aspiring game makers to design and build their own video game using a free download. Sploder is a website that allows you to create your game right on the website using a Flash based engine. Both YoYo Games and Sploder include a way to share or play games that other creators have made.

Digital Family Memories

Create a family journal. You can create a website to document a family vacation or maybe to journal a day in the life of your family’s summer at home. Encourage each member of your family to design a web page of their own, creating text and choosing images, backgrounds and other page elements.

If creating a website isn’t your thing, try digital scrapping to create and edit collage of your family’s summer days. This is a great way to encourage your family to learn and practice the fundamentals of design.

3. Build

Does your family like to build things? There’s a bunch of great technology related building projects out there for kids and adults of all skill level. Building robots and computers can help teach your family a lot about electronics. (For safety, most construction projects are best left for kids 10 years and older!)

Robots

Robots are a ton of fun! There’s just something awesome about putting together a toy that moves all on its own. There are plenty of kits available out there for beginning robot builders, including Lego robot kits.

Beginner kits often come with easy to follow instructions, can be completed with a minimal amount of tools in an afternoon. If you have a budding mechanical engineer in the family, more advanced kits may offer a longer term project but can be more expensive and take more tools to assemble.

Computer

Building your own computer is a valuable learning experience. While this can be a bit of an expensive project, your family will have a functional computer that you can proudly say that you built together!

This project is best for older tweens and teens to do the assembling, supervised by someone that has electronics experience. Younger tweens and school aged kids can also learn along side older siblings about computer components and how they go together.

If this is your first time attempting a project like this, I suggest building a computer out of a barebone computer. Barebones computers are kit computer cases that have been fit with a motherboard and power supply – you just need to choose the processor, memory and hard drive and peripherals.

4. Turn It All Off

As great as tech is, be sure to schedule some time to get away from it all. Unplug all of the gizmos and gadgets and declare a tech-free day. Get outside, enjoy the summer sun and fresh air!

What are your plans for the summer? How do you plan on melding technology with family fun?

Michelle Mista is a former IT professional turned work-at-home mom. She muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. A geek of all trades, she loves computers, video games, photography and coffee and is on the constant quest to balance life, work and geekery.
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