The end of summer is nigh: Keep your cat-loving kids entertained

Saturday is August 1. AUGUST 1. How did this happen, and where do I lodge a complaint? I remember summers of babysitting when i was young, and keeping the youngsters entertained got to be a challenge, even those in those days, we played outside a lot. Here are some suggestions that may help parents, grandparent, babysitters and other caregivers avoid hearing the chronic whine, “But, I’m BORED!”

  • Judy Schachner is the author of the contemporary and entertaining Skippyjon Jones series, about a small cat with a big imagination. With more than 10 Skippyjon books available, there are plenty of adventures to keep children in grades kindergarten through 3rd Grade entertained.
Skippyjon Jones

Skippyjon Jones

  • Many adults will recognize author Amy Tan from her literary fiction, but children can also enjoy her work in the tale of The Chinese Siamese Cat. The book is out of print, but can be found at libraries or purchased in audio formats (of course, you can always find copies for sale, but they are not exactly bargains). PBS Kids also produced a  Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat animated series, which is available on DVD for those rainy days stuck inside.
  • There are also several books for more advanced readers, such as the fantasy Warriors series, Tailchaser’s Song, and Catalyst and Catacombs.
  • On those days when the children just can’t get outside, there are many family-friendly movies that feature cats. The Adventures of Milo and OtisCats and DogsThat Darn Cat, Alice in Wonderland, and Homeward Bound are all available for purchase, streaming, or download. If you have an especially sensitive child in the mix and you aren’t familiar with the movie, do a little homework or view the movie ahead of time to make sure that nobody will get emotionally overwhelmed (we all have stories of that one book, movie, song, or cartoon that traumatized us!).
  • Encourage children to express themselves by drawing, painting, taking photos of, singing songs about, and writing about cats. For aspiring young writers, his is an opportunity to teach them how to research and the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Other artists can learn what paints, colors, and methods they like the most.
  • Older students may wish to volunteer (sometimes for community service credits) with a humane society or cat rescue. Most of these organizations have strict rules for the safety of both animals and volunteers, beginning with age requirements (usually, people must be at least 16 – if not 18 – to volunteer). Volunteers must be mature, responsible, and willing to do a number of tasks; in addition to giving cats and kittens attention, volunteers may also be responsible for cleaning cages and litter boxes. It may not be glamorous, but it is certainly necessary!

IMG_6680

  • More and more these days, we see children asking for donations for shelters and cat welfare organizations instead of gifts. If your child doesn’t have a summer birthday, but would like to do something like this, they may enjoy something traditional and entrepreneurial such as a lemonade stand, or they can have an un-birthday party!
  • Children who enjoy arts and crafts need go no further than the local craft store for supplies they can use to decorate t-shirts, embellish picture frames, or maybe participate in a pottery class where they can make cat-themed bowls and other items.
  • When hosting a group of children, put a feline spin on traditional games. Pin the Tail on the Donkey becomes Pin the Tail on the Kitty, Musical Chairs becomes musical Cat Beds, and Red Rover becomes White Whiskers. you can also create an age-appropriate game of cat trivia, or pick up a kitty-shaped pinata at a party supply store.

Summer is nearing it’s end, so encourage those young cat lovers now so they will become cat-loving adults!

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