Monday, June 7


Kids and summer go together

Extension website offers
kids' summer activities    
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[JUNE 7, 2004]  URBANA -- University of Illinois Extension has activities to offer children during summer vacation -- activities that are as close as their computer monitor's screen. And the offerings available on Extension's Urban Program Resources Network combine fun with education.

"These are things for kids to do in the summer that involve information about nature and science," explained Jane Scherer, Extension urban programs specialist who oversees the website located at:

If parents are planning a family outing in the woods or a forest preserve or a state park, Scherer suggests directing the children to "A Walk in the Woods," an offering under the "Just for Kids" section of the Urban Program Resources Network site.

"The information they find will pique their interest in nature and familiarize them with what they might see and hear in the woods," she said.

Also found in the "Just for Kids" section is "Let's Talk About Insects."

"This site will help kids identify insects and learn more about them," she said. "Insects make up more than one-half of all the living things in the world, and there are more than a million known species of insects with more waiting to be discovered."

After children have learned about the varieties of insects and how to identify them, they might want to move on to another site that talks about a location where the crawly things are often found: trees.

"The Secret Life of Trees" is also under the "Just for Kids" section.

"It teaches kids about the importance of trees and how they contribute to the environment and the well-being of humans and animals," said Scherer. "There is information about the parts of the tree and the function of each, plus lessons in basic forestry."


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A fourth site combines environmental awareness, education and recycling with a fun activity, again under the "Just for Kids" section.

"At the 'Adventures of Herman' site, children can learn how to start their own worm bin project, which provides lessons in recycling," Scherer explained, noting that during the school year the site is often used by teachers in the classroom.

"The worm bin activity is fun, and in having fun children learn valuable lessons about recycling and the environment," she said.

However, if your home-for-the-summer child wants to earn as well as learn, Extension has a Web resource for that purpose as well.

"A Guide to the Business of Babysitting" helps youngsters interested in entering this field of summertime, as well as school-year, employment.

"The site helps children learn the basics of the baby-sitting business as well as general information about the behavior of children at different ages and stages of their development," said Scherer.

"Through the site, a user can create his or her own flier to promote their baby-sitting business. This has been one of our most popular sites and was featured in 'American Girl' magazine."

[University of Illinois news release]

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