3324 Words To Pinterest.Com – Everything You Need To Know

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If you haven’t heard all the news lately, Pinterest is the newest up and coming social media sensation that’s bringing in 10 million+ unique visitors a month. It’s where all the cool kids are hanging out and it has the potential to be as big as Facebook and Twitter in the coming months. Want to know how it all works and what all the fuss is about? Our ultimate Pinterest guide will help you get started on the site and understand all there is to know about Pinterest.

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Twitter Marketing: The Essential Guide For 2012

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Without boring you with all of the details of what Twitter is and how it works, we’re instead going to jump straight into everything you need to know about promoting your brand on Twitter and how to get more followers and customers as a result.

Because Twitter has kind of become a monster that no one really knows how to strategically tackle anymore, we’re going to give you a step by step plan of how you can manage your Twitter account every day to ultimately build your brand in a particular niche.

Twitter Followers

Without followers, you’re nothing. Followers are the people that took the time to “subscribe” to what you have to say on Twitter, and without them, your brand won’t ever go anywhere. That’s why in addition to the content you’ll be posting, the first thing we’re going to discuss is how to boost your current number of followers on a regular basis and how you can keep those followers over the long haul without them dropping out.

Following To Be Followed

Before we jump into the “how” of gaining more followers, we’re going to explain the basic gist of what it is we’re going to be doing. Basically, the theory is that if you follow enough people on Twitter, a certain (albeit small) percentage of them will check out your Twitter profile and will follow you back if they like what they see. The trick is to follow people who are already interested in your niche so that when you follow them, there’s a higher probability that they’ll follow you back because they’re already interested in the types of things you’re going to be saying.

Twitter Statistics

On average, we’re going to aim to follow 100-150 people daily. Of these people, on average 10-15% of them will see what you’re about and will follow you back. That’s about 15 new followers each day who are interested in the brands you’re promoting, the products you’re pitching, and the things you have to say about the industry.

Twitter Follower Software

Obviously, to go through Twitter to find 100-150 every day who are interested in your niche already would be a nightmare. Luckily, there is software on the market (both paid and free versions) that allow you to mass follow and mass unfollow people every day. The goal of using this software is to streamline the process of following people so that all you have to do is click a few buttons to be on your way to a Twitter dominator.

After reading about the two main Twitter software available on the market, you may be a bit confused about how the whole process works and what is actually going on behind the scenes. If you scroll to the bottom of this article, you’ll see an example of what you’ll be doing with these software and how they’re relevant to your business.

The software listed below (TweetAttacks and TweetAdder) are designed to search for users on Twitter based on who they’re currently following or what they’re currently tweeting about. By searching through the depths of Twitter, these software help you find relevant users who are interested in the niche that you’re working within. You’ll see words like “parameter” listed below, and all it simply means is the search term that you’re going to be entering into the software to search for users to follow. So, if you’re thinking of following people who are interested in coffee, you may enter words like “coffee” or “@Starbucks” in the case of following users who are already following a relevant brand.

Tweet Attacks

The first piece of software we’re going to be looking at is called TweetAttacks. TweetAttacks has both free and paid versions as an option, but if you’re just getting started with building a Twitter following, the free version is more than good enough to get you going in the right direction.

The way TweetAttacks works is simple. After entering your Twitter account information into the software so that it can log into your account on your behalf, it asks you for some basic criteria. The three main options you’ll be concerned with are the “Account,” “Task,” and “Parameter” fields. As evidenced by the screenshot below, you can see that these three fields appear on the top of the main window and are easily selected.

These fields help you choose which Twitter account you’re going to be doing the adding with, what type of task you’ll be engaging in, be it following people based on who they’re already following, what they’re tweeting about, or unfollowing, and what criteria you’re looking to search for.

Tweet Adder

Similar to TweetAttacks, TweetAdder is another very powerful piece of Twitter marketing software that allows you to manage multiple accounts and automate the entire process of adding or unfollowing Twitter followers. Although TweetAdder has no free version (only a demo version that will give you an idea of how powerful the software is), the paid version of the software is bar none the best on the market. It allows you to search for people not only following other users in the same niche as your own, but it also allows you to search users’ profiles, their location, and any other information they’ve shared on Twitter in the past.

Tweeting Everyday

In order to keep your name current in people’s minds, it’s important that you Tweet on a daily basis. There are a lot of differing opinions about how often you should Tweet and about what, but in our opinion, it’s important to Tweet at least 10 times a day. These tweets shouldn’t all be about your brand or business, but instead should start conversations in the Twitter universe about what’s going on in your market’s world. People subscribe to other Twitter followers to join in on the conversation, so why not give them something to talk about instead of simply posting about the products you’re trying to sell.

Of the 10 tweets that you send out on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to make 8 of them about things other than your own product so that people stick around to talk about whatever it is that’s going on. Make about 5 of those 8 questions that other people can answer and the remaining 3 just statements about your day and how your brand is developing nicely. The remaining 2 tweets can be things like affiliate links or direct plugs for your website. Try to make them different every time you post them, as no one wants to see the same thing over and over in their Twitter timeline.

Creating Conversations

In addition to the tweets that you’ll be posting to try and initiate conversation on Twitter, it’s also recommended that you also dive into some conversations yourself. If you have a spare few minutes each day, hop on Twitter and take a look at your timeline. If you see something relevant on your feed, ask a question about it or respond to a Tweet that someone else posted. The more conversations you can join, the more people you’ll be interacting with. And if those people retweet or favorite a post of yours, it will in turn show up on their timelines as well to be shared with their relevant followers too.

When To Tweet

If you’re going to be tweeting 10 times a day, you might as well make the most of them by posting tweets at the right times of the day. A quick Google search will show you when Twitter users are online the most and when they’re simply waiting to get off work to check Twitter again. Statistically speaking, people hop on Twitter around noon time (which is when people get off of work for lunch) and at 5 o’clock when their day is over. This is obviously different depending on where you live in the world, as the time differences can make a big difference depending on where you’re located.

Speaking generally, timing your tweets so that the tweets about yourself appear once at around noon time and once around 5 o’clock is best. Save the other Tweets for other times of the day when people are less active, but you may linger in people’s Twitter timelines for longer than at peak times.

Which Time Zone?: Obviously, the time zone that you’re in should determine when most of your followers are online. If the products that you’re marketing aren’t time-sensitive (meaning that you’re not a coffee shop located in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States), pick a time zone that gets a lot traffic. That means that either pick GMT, EST, or PST, all of which are high population density areas that have large numbers of users hopping online at noon and 5 o’clock in their respective time zones.

Automating Your Tweets

Obviously, trying to get online 10 times a day to post new tweets can be a bit of a nuisance. Considering the fact that most of us have day jobs and can’t spend hours at a time at a computer waiting for noon to roll around to send out a tweet to try and capture the market, there has to be an easier way, right?

Tweet automation is nothing new, but very few services have managed to capture the essence of what’s necessary to pull it all off. If you purchase the TweetAdder software, you’ll notice that automated tweeting is a built in feature. However, if you’re trying to keep your costs down to 0, there are indeed free services that you can use that can aid you in the process as well.

SocialOomph

My personal favorite web-based Tweet automation service is called SocialOomph. It’s a bit of a lame name, and it doesn’t have that great of an interface, but it’s a damn good service that lets you easily schedule tweets at exactly the times you want and lets you get on with your day. Without getting too in-depth with how exactly you can sign up and get started with the software (you can watch the video tutorial posted at the end of this section to see how to get everything set up properly), in short SocialOomph lets you add tweets to a scheduled list to post them at a later time. If you take an hour or so at the beginning of every week, you can get online and mass create tweets that can be scheduled for any time of the day on any date.

If you sign up for their premium services, you’ll have the option to enter spinnable text (Read this to see what spinnable text is: http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/black-hat-seo/156283-art-spinning-text-explained.html) as well. This is great if you’re looking for a way to automatically post similar text without having it get blocked by Twitter’s “This tweet has already been posted” block that recently got implemented. Say the same thing without using the same words.

Design Your Profile

If when you set up your Twitter account you didn’t go to the trouble of getting a good profile setup, now is the time to do that. Profiles that have relevant information, such as a bio, an avatar, and a custom background gain more followers than those that don’t. By taking the time to design your profile, you’re showing potential followers that you care about what it is that you do and that you’re in it for the long haul and aren’t just making Twitter profiles to promote a product or to make sales.

In your bio, include what is that you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and why you’re now on Twitter. Also, include a link back to your website. The number of hits you’ll get from people checking out your profile and then seeing what your website looks like will be significant, so if nothing else, be sure that your Twitter bio has a link.

For your avatar, upload a relevant image of your company’s logo or of your own face. Twitter profiles that have avatars that are relevant are more likely to get follow backs. A recent trend has been to add a picture of an attractive girl or guy on Twitter in hopes that people follow them for their attractiveness as opposed to what they have to say. Whether or not this works is unknown to us, but if you’re in the business of simply gaining huge numbers of followers instead of building a reputable brand, by all means give it a shot.

Not everyone is a design guru, so getting a custom background designed could be a bit difficult. However, if you have an extra five bucks to spend, you can head over to Fiverr.com to see if you can find any designers over there who would be interested in designing you a custom background for your Twitter page for just 5 dollars. Custom backgrounds are really a novelty, but if you took the time to design something for your Twitter page, it again adds to the credibility of your brand and could pay off in the long run.

An Example

Let’s say that you run a website that sells personalized coffee mugs. In order to sell more mugs, you’re going to employ the help of Twitter software to get your more followers and ultimately more hits on your website.

No matter which software option you choose, the concept behind them is the same. By targeting relevant Twitter users who post or read about coffee regularly, you’re likely to gain a bigger audience than if you were to just try and gain any old followers. The “parameters” of your search are going to be something coffee related or are going to be based around followers of a particular user, perhaps Starbucks in this example. By automatically following people who are interested in Starbucks coffee or who are interested in coffee in general, when they see that you have followed them, they’ll be more likely to follow you back than someone who you found just by randomly clicking around on Twitter.

Video Resource

We covered a lot of topics in this article, and considering how much we covered, it’s probably safe to say that you didn’t understand some of it. Below are some video resources online that will help you better understand how TweetAttacks works, how TweetAdders works, how you can use these software every day to automate things like Tweets and follow/unfollow requests, and how you can use the free SocialOomph service to schedule Tweets automatically (in case you do not want to invest in either software).

Using Social Oomph

Using TweetAttacks

Using TweetAdder

Conclusion

Managing a Twitter account can be tough, but in order to make a name for yourself in your respective niche, you’re going to have to go through some of the work necessary to get things off the ground. Luckily, Twitter automation software has made it incredibly easy to gain new followers and fans for whatever it is you’re promoting. By automatically joining in on the conversation you can attract new customers to your brand without having to be insincere or dirty tactics.

The followers you gain from the methods listed above are real people interested in your brand, not just people looking to spam your page (although you may get a few spam messages from time to time). The results may not be staggering (like hundreds of followers a day), but over time you’ll build a steady following of people who are genuinely interested in what it is you do and will continue to come back for more.

How To Make Friends and Keep Them Forever in 13 Steps

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While keeping a friend can be easily summarized in a few basic tips to keep in the back of your mind, below you will see our top 10 list of tips to keep friends forever. Once you’ve met someone that you like or find a friendship growing, these helpful tips will be sure to keep the relationship between the two of you strong for years to come.

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8 Tips To Give Your Home a Healthy Makeover

Photo Credit – Garboodles Soup

Even most outdoor enthusiasts eventually have to come in. I read somewhere that the average person spends about 80-90% of their time indoors. My first reaction was stunned and disbelief. Certainly they can’t mean everyone, right?

I thought, we spend a lot of time outside in the summer, and even the warmer days in the spring and fall. Then I started adding up all the time we are indoors for eating, working, watching TV, household chores, and especially sleeping. If the average sleep for a person is 8 hours that is 30% of our day indoors alone.

As reality sank in, I decided it was time to make our home as healthy as can be. Yes, it was time to give our home a healthy makeover. Time to get rid of the allergen trappings, and mold possibilities that can make us sick. I used to get allergy shots on a weekly basis, and it’s not fun. It’s time consuming, costly, inconvenient, and itchy. If I can eliminate some of that risk for my kids, I’m going to do just that.

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Why Kids Love Iceland and Why You Should Oblige Them

Photo courtesy Brynja Eldon

When talking about Iceland, many people’s responses are only a few degrees above luke-warm. Some complain about the mosquitoes in the summer, the cold in the winter, some about the whaling, others about the ever-erupting volcanoes and their pesky ash… And yet in reality it’s a destination with incredible variety and plenty of fun outdoor activities for family vacations.

You can’t help but feel like you’re in symbiosis with nature and the elements here, because of the Earth’s crust constant (and very visible) evolution. As the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson says, “The moment you start to move the mountain starts to move.”

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How To Sleep Better and Fast – An Infographic

When was the last time you bought yourself a brand new bed? Health specialists recommend that we buy a new mattress every seven years to ensure we’re getting the best possible sleep, and to keep our health tip-top. We all know that sleep is integral to our day-to-day function, but did you know a majority of couples are recharging the batteries on a bed that’s too small for two, and a double bed is still the biggest selling bed in the USA?

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18 Fun Outdoor Summer Recreational Activities For Kids

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We all know how addicting Playstations and Xboxes can be for kids. In a technological world, the idea of going outside to a child seems about as foreign as visitors from another planet (although, that would be cool, right?)

With spring time fast approaching, we thought we’d take the liberty of getting together some of our own favorite outdoor pastimes, as well as some new ideas that you can use to help get your kids outdoors and away from the TV, even if it’s only for a few hours a week. The more time kids spend outside, the less likely they are to succumb to childhood obesity and the side effects associated with it.

Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

Alphabet Bugs

This idea comes from a blog called Toddler Toddler and is one of the cutest ideas we’ve seen in a while. The basic premise of the project is to print out their “Alphabet Bugs,” which are simply pieces of paper with the letters of the alphabet printed on them. Each letter is shaped like a bug. Parents then head out into the yard and hide the letters on chairs, around trees, and even in the grass, and proceed to walk around the yard with their toddler helping them find all of the letters of the alphabet. If they are already familiar with their ABC’s, encourage them to make a checklist as they walk around the yard to ensure that they get all of the different letters of the alphabet. If you want to add a bit of a challenge, try to spell out words with the letters in the yard and see if your little ones can piece together the different letters to make the word that you left out for them. You can find all of the materials you need for the project here:

Alphabet Learning

No Mess Painting

Another great idea from Toddler Toddler is one involving painting. Painting with a child is simply asking for a mess. Luckily, there’s an easy way you can get your kids outside and reduce the amount of mess you encounter to zero. Basically, you’re going to need some type of old cylindrical container. An old oatmeal container works the best, as it’s long enough to fit a full-sized sheet of paper, and big enough inside to let the paint fly around. With an empty container available, tuck a sheet of paper inside of it. Next, find some rocks or old crayons that you can dip in child’s paint to toss into the container as well. Don’t dunk the crayons in paint, as you only want a little bit of paint to go around. Next seal the lid of the oatmeal container and let your kids have at it. Let them run around outside, tossing the container around, or kicking it along the grass. As the container tumbles, the paint covered crayons are going to splatter paint onto the piece of paper inside the cylinder and make a painting.

No Mess Painting

Peek A Boo

Because toddler’s don’t have what’s known as object permanence, or the ability to understand why you haven’t actually disappeared when you cover your face with your hands, peek a boo is a great way to keep them entertained while you’re outside. Plop your toddler down onto the grass in the middle of the garden and hide behind trees or other things in your yard. You can sneak up behind them and tickle them or giggle in their ears. Peek a boo only works on toddlers for so long, so be sure to take full advantage of this adorable activity before they grow too old for it!

Learning New Words

If you’d just like to get out of the house for a few hours and get away from things like the TV, as we mentioned in the intro paragraphs, why not just go for a walk? Because your toddler still has a lot of learning to do, when you’re on the walk, why not introduce your little one to new words that you may not have said to them before. Because the number of words in nature are almost endless, start by pointing out things like flowers, trees, and birds.

While your young one may not remember everything you tell them, every little bit helps. And when your toddler can finally walk by themselves, try taking them to different parks and nature trails that are bound to be found in your city. Different environments stimulate young minds, so introducing your little one to different places that they probably haven’t ever seen before is a good way to get their imagination working and moving.

Mapping Where You Live

As much as we’d like to get away from modern technology, many of the tools at our finger tips are practically invaluable. Google Maps for instance can help your toddler learn their way around the neighborhood, or even through the downtown area of your city. To do this activity, we recommend printing out a map of your local area and sitting down with your toddler to show them how maps work. Have them pick out something like a lake or cul-de-sac and walk with them to that area.

By guiding them through the map and showing them how they get to each new place, they’ll be able to better understand navigation when you go on bigger journeys. Although navigational skills are seemingly becoming a thing of the past with GPSes becoming as commonplace as a new pair of shoes, giving your toddlers the skills they need to be able to figure out where they are in the future is not only good for safety reasons, it’s a good practical skill to have.

Outdoor Activities for Pre-Schoolers

Once you get past the awkward stages of your little guy or gal not being able to really walk or talk too much, a whole new world of outdoor activities opens up. Pre-Schoolers are by far the easiest to entertain. They’re at a point where they finally have an idea of what’s going on around them and aren’t completely addicted to the TV or video games that have become an issue for much of the world’s youth. Below are a few things you can do with your kids to get them outside and playing instead of being “bored” inside all day. Some of these activities require adult supervision, so remember to keep an eye on your children as they play in the yard.

Treasure Hunt

As a kid, I vividly remember a treasure hunt that we had at a friend’s birthday party one year. I had wished that my parents were able to throw a treasure hunt for me as well, but because our yard wasn’t big enough, it never got to happen. If you’ve got the space, take a few minutes to draw up a map and some clues for your little ones to follow. Remember to make the clues pretty simple to follow, as your little ones probably won’t be able to solve Sherlock Holmes type riddles just yet. Hide a small reward or other activity at the end of the treasure hunt for them to find. You can make this as simple or as complex as you’d like, as there are an endless number of possibilities you can investigate when setting up a treasure hunt for your preschoolers. If you’d like to incorporate spelling and learning into the mix, you can have your child find hidden letters or numbers around the yard to help solve puzzles that will lead them to new clues.

Shapes Hopscotch

We found this idea online a long time ago and wish we could remember where, as we thought it was pretty genius. Shapes are an important part of any pre-schoolers education, however they’re often tough to identify by young ones. If you have some sidewalk chalk lying around, head outside and draw multiple versions of different shapes on the sidewalk so that you have a few triangles, squares, circles, rectangles, etc drawn in the shape of a hopscotch board. Then, play hopscotch as you would normally, but instead of using numbers as the basis for how to move forward, use the shapes that you’ve drawn to help your pre-schooler understand which shapes are which. If they haven’t learned shapes yet, you can substitute the shapes for things like colors or letters of the alphabet to help them learn.

Go to the Park

Believe it or not, parks still exist! Have a look online to find the best city parks for kids (to check if they have things like swings, trails, playsets) and make an afternoon of the trip. You can pack a picnic and have your pre-school aged child help you pack the lunch you want to bring. Going to the park is an easy way to get out of the house without having to design an activity beforehand. There are often plenty of things to do at the park, and even other kids that your young one may get to meet and get along with.

New Mailbox

While this one is an indoor activity, the implementation is for outside use. This one will require a few materials from your local hardware store, but is definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon with your little one. If your mailbox is getting a little old or you’re looking for a change, why not have your pre-schooler help you out with building a new one? All you need to do is either buy a premade mailbox from a hardware store to get started, or figure out how to build one out of aluminum or plastic. With your new mailbox ready to go, buy a pack of outdoor paints that are child-safe and let help your child paint a new mailbox for the house. Unless you have restrictions in your neighborhood, the sky is the limit on what you can paint onto your mailbox and still have your mail delivered. You can even add stencils to the mix to get cool shapes and colors for your mail delivery unit.

Sidewalk Chalk

You probably won’t find this idea on any other websites, as this was something my friends and I came up with when I was pretty young. I got a big box of sidewalk chalk one year for a birthday of mine and at the time, I thought it would be a great idea to turn the cul-de-sac we lived in into a fully fledged soccer field. My dad helped me trace out the lines around the road so that I’d have something to play in between, and with some old traffic cones we had lying around, we were able to set up a soccer field that my friends and I could play on. Sidewalk chalk is pretty cheap, so the only real investment in this one is the time to both draw a few straight lines down a street, as well as the supervising of your kids.

Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids

We’re going to define kids as a very broad term that covers a big range of ages. Depending on the maturity of your child and how much you trust him or her to play by themselves, some of these ideas may work for you and some may not. We always recommend exercising supervision over your kids just in case something is to go wrong. Many of these aren’t new ideas, but you may not have thought of some of them in a while (since you were a kid!) We hope that you find something that your children can enjoy during the hot summer months, as it’s the best time to be outside.

Sprinkler

Who doesn’t remember running through the sprinkler as a kid? If you have a hose pipe and a sprinkler available in your yard, send your kids outside in their bathing suits to run through the cool water for an hour or two. As an added bonus, you also get to water your yard in the process. It’s easy to get setup, and if your kids are the right age, they’ll probably run through the water until they’re soaked and tired.

Lemonade Stand

Kids love the idea of setting up a business for themselves, and what better way to help them get started than with a lemonade stand. All you need is a packet of lemonade from your local grocery store and a cardboard box or wooden stand that you can build for them to set up on the street corner with. As with all child-run business ventures, it’s best to keep an eye on your kids as they interact with customers. Although you trust your neighbors, there may be people driving by who aren’t as friendly or as safe as you’d like to hope they are. Set up a stand with your kids one afternoon while you’re mowing the lawn or working in the garden so that you can keep an eye on them.

Water Balloon Fights

Another great idea to cool off during the hot summer months is to buy some water balloons for a big water balloon fight. You can often pick up a few hundred water balloons at the dollar store, which is where I normally buy mine. If you don’t already have the adapter for your outside faucet, these can be found in water balloon kits or at party stores. The nozzle helps you fill the balloons faster and with a lower breakage rate. When my kids fight outside with water balloons, I try to get an old bucket or basin that we can fill up with pre-filled water balloons and then let them run around the yard grabbing more balloons as they see fit. They take a while to fill up, but water balloon fights are definitely a blast.

Fishing

Ah, fishing. I remember the days of father-son fishing bonding when I was a kid. Fishing is a very cheap way to kill an afternoon, as all it requires is some leftover food in your fridge for bait and a fishing rod. If you don’t already have fishing rods, you can either buy a fancy one from the store or make one out of some twine and a stick you find in the back yard. You can buy hooks from just about any hardware store or superstore (like Walmart or Target) for a dollar or two. Before you head out fishing though, be sure to have an idea of where it is you’d like to go. Some states and lakes require a permit to fish, while others allow free reign over fishing. Do your homework before you head to a public lake or fish sanctuary without a license. You get nailed with a hefty fine.

Volunteering

If there are any homeless shelters in your area, consider taking your kids to volunteer for an afternoon. Weekends are generally the busiest time of the week and any extra hands the organization can get are more than welcomed. Bring your kids down for a few hours to get some sunshine and to either help serve food to the homeless people in your community or to clean up around the grounds.

Beach

This one obviously depends on where you live in the country. If you live close to a beach, this one shouldn’t be any trouble to get into. The beach is always full of different ways to have fun. A neat thing you could try is take your kids to the beach for a day on the weekend along with some of your small gardening tools. My mother always had small shovels and buckets lying around from when she’d plant new things in the garden, and they were very easy to repurpose into beach toys for myself and my brother. If you’re going to do this though, be careful which shovels and tools you pick. Some are sharper than others and can hurt little hands if you’re not careful. As mentioned in one of the above tips, you can always pack a picnic to draw out the afternoon with some food and snacks in between swimming in the ocean.

Summer Camp

Movies have really made summer camp out to be the devil’s hideout: a place that kids not only dread, but are tortured over the course of the summer. Luckily, summer camps aren’t at all like this and are actually an amazing way for your kids to spend the summer. Summer camps come in two primary varieties. There’s one type where you send your child away for a few weeks at a time and have them enjoy a number of different activities while they’re away from home, and some that are only day camps. Day camps are places where your kids can go during the day while you’re at work and you can pick them up later in the afternoon when you finish up. Day camps are relatively inexpensive and provide a variety of different activities for your kids to do every day they go. Everything from swimming to group field trips can be found at summer camps. If you can convince their friends’ parents to send their children as well, your little one will have someone they know when they start at camp as well.

Build a Bird Feeder

This one may need the help of a parent to follow through with, as you probably don’t want your son or daughter playing with power tools all by themselves. This design is courtesy of the Martha Stewart website and is really a great idea for how you can make an easy birdfeeder without power tools. Basically, all you need is a mesh bag (you can probably get one of these from the next bag of oranges you buy) and some basic ingredients aren’t the kitchen. Take some peanut butter and vegetable shortening and put it in a small cup that you can put into the microwave. When the peanut butter has been melted, quickly stir in some flour and quick cooking breakfast oats and make a thick mixture within the cup. Let the whole thing cool and settle and take the newly formed peanut butter mold out of the cup it was sitting in. Plop it into the mesh bag you have and hang it from a tree. All of the flavor in the peanut butter mixture will attract birds faster than ever! Be sure to hang this from a tree that isn’t too high to reach, as you don’t want to have to get the ladder back out again when all of the food has been eaten.

Being Involved as a Parent

So, up to this point we’ve been listing off a number of different activities that you can suggest to your kids to prevent them from being bored inside during their summer vacation months. But as a parent, should you be outside with your kids while they have fun with their friends, or should you let them explore on their own and only watch from inside the house to make sure they’re not lighting the grass on fire?

Being a successful parent is a mixture of both things. First of all, you have to be aware of what your kids are up to at all times. As much as we’d like (I know, I’ve had the same thoughts myself) to just watch TV in a lethargic position on the couch after a hard week at work, there’s an unspoken obligation to also spend time with your kids as well. As pesky as they may seem, always wanting juice and cookies right before dinner, spending time with your children is just as important as having cool ideas for them to try out when they go out to play with their friends as well.

If you’re super busy like I am, don’t think that you have to spend every waking moment with your kids to help them develop their football throwing arm or their painting skills. I take 3 or 4 hours out of my day every Saturday or Sunday to go to the park or to play in the yard with my little ones. It’s tough to do sometimes when you have a pile of work to do just calling your name, but you’ll feel a lot better about your relationship with your children if you take the time to play with them and try out some new activities (like the ones listed above).

Additional Ideas

While we think we’ve covered quite a few ideas in the above sections, if you’re looking for additional ways to get your kids outside and playing with their friends as opposed to sitting in front of a computer or television screen, try the following websites. Whether your child is aged 3 or 10, each of these sites has different ideas about what you can do with your child either on the weekend or during summer vacation when there’s not much else going on in the neighborhood. And who knows, maybe if you don’t end up picking one of the ideas you find here or on these sites, you could end up coming up with your own quirky or wild activity that you’d like to share. If that’s the case, feel free to share it in the comments below.

We tried to make all of these ideas cost effective so you’re not out of pocket thousands of dollars erecting a life-size rocket to the moon in the backyard just to get your kids interested in playing outdoors, so if you have something to share, please try to remember that most of us aren’t terribly rich.

Further Reading

Fun Outdoor Games from Go Family
Simple Outdoor Play From Wired.com
Family Education on Outdoor Activities

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