Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Charleston Currents feature - June 2013

Interactive summer adventures abound in our backyardBy LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

JUNE 17, 2013 -- Keeping young minds engaged in the summer months can be fun as well as enriching if you know where to look for interactive, outdoor challenges. 
I have found that short bursts of time earlier in the morning before the heat of the day sets in help to keep an adventure fresh and entertaining rather than a hardship tour. Listed below are three tried and true local activities that help engage the hearts, hands and minds of children of all ages as we navigate through these hazy Lowcountry days of summer. There's just something about a hunt for a place, landmark, or object that keeps children excited and "all in" as opposed to merely being along for the ride. 
  • Charleston Parks Conservancy Park Passport Contest. Now through the end of June, the CPC offers a park hunt challenge for families. This is your passport to finding six featured CPC parks in downtown Charleston. Simply visit each park and take a picture of yourself at a designated landmark to post on the CPC Facebook or Twitter page. Once you post all six parks, you are eligible to win a great prize pack chosen monthly through June. We discovered a new park this year that we never knew existed and have enjoyed seeing the many enhancements of these properties. Click here to familiarize yourself with the parks and landmarks before you go. Good luck and happy hunting! (Check Pluff Mud Kids blog for a glimpse at some of these parks.)
  • Chapel Street Park
    The Charleston Visitors Center Explorers Passport Club. Head to an area visitors center (check the link provided here for all locations) and register your child (0-18 years) to receive a cool passport that comes with a beach bucket and shovel. Carry the passports with you throughout the summer to visit area attractions for a passport stamp. Log in your visits via computer to earn points toward prizes you will receive in the mail. The featured locations are many and varied, so click here to review the complete list. We love the idea of scouting around the Charleston area to collect that all-important stamp while discovering a local hot spot! There is no expiration date, so take your time and enjoy this interactive learning program.
  • The annual Charleston County Library Summer Reading program. My Pluff Mud Kids have participated in this fabulous reading program for nearly a decade and it is always a summer hit that I highly recommend. Register your child at any area library and start logging your summer reading. This year, the goal is to complete 10 books to receive prizes (children may read alone or out loud with a parent or grandparent).To make your book lists more interactive, choose some local interest topics and then visit areas that build a connection with the theme. For example, read a book about the Hunley and then visit it or pick a favorite animal theme to read about and study and then pack a camera and venture to the Columbia zoo and let your child take photos of the animal in person. There is nothing like spending a day at the beach or the pool in the hot sun and then cuddling up in a cool room with a great book!
Incorporate all three of these programs and make it a power-packed summer of learning and deepen your family connection to your local surroundings. 
Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out.

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