When you think of the ideal summertime experience, certain activities might come to mind – going to the zoo, heading to an amusement park, or swimming at the pool, just to name a few. But, aside from being fun, all these activities have one thing in common. They cost money.
As a parent or caregiver, creating Positive Childhood Experiences (otherwise known as PCEs) is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a safe and healthy future for the children in our care. A study in 2019 found that adults who reported more PCEs showed 72% lower levels of adult depression and/or poor mental health and were 3.5 times more likely to get the social and emotional support they need as an adult (Bethell, et al.)
PCEs don’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of activities in Ohio that are affordable and fun! With summer around the corner, the children in your care will have more time on their hands and an open schedule. The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund has found a few cost-efficient activities that get bodies and brains moving and create Positive Childhood Experiences.
- Get out to an Ohio state park. Did you know that Ohio’s state parks are free to enjoy? The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a helpful destination page where you can search for different parks and activities across the state. If you’re able, this is the perfect opportunity to take a day trip or stay at one of your state park’s cabins or lodges.
- Activate the brain with educational activities. Students can lose up to two months of mathematical computation skills over the summer. Creating safe learning opportunities now can create Positive Childhood Experiences later down the road. For six ways you can reduce “Summer Brain Drain,” read our article.
- Head to the library. Columbus Metropolitan Library cards are free for residents, plus there are plenty of activities like summer reading programs that children can get involved in. Sign up for a library card to access thousands of books, DVDs, and more for a fraction of the cost of buying them from a retail store. For more info on other public library systems across Ohio, visit library.ohio.gov/documents/ohio-public-library-systems-directory/
For more information on creating Positive Childhood Experiences watch the Lunch & Learn - Fostering Positive Childhood Experiences.