How To: Geek Up Your Summer Vacation With 6 Kid-Friendly Activities

Credit: Phineas and Ferb wiki
Summer vacation.
That time of the year when the Dude tries with all his might to cram every single minute of sunlight with activity, as kids do.

But when the play dates start to get stale and the "I'm bored" whining starts, what's a parent to do? Well don't fret, I've got a handful fun geeky ideas to keep the kids busy:
  1. Do a science experiment: Search by area of interest on Science Buddies for outdoor and indoor ideas. (Also bookmark this one for science fair projects :)
  2. Join Google's Virtual Maker Camp: Maker Camp is specifically geared to teens with more advanced projects, daily Hangouts and project sharing. Really, it's a thinly veiled attempt to get teens onto Google+ but with science! and DIY! Still a great way to get your teen doing something productive (and dare I say, slightly competitive) over the holidays. Runs July 8-August 16.
  3. Try some star gazing: Contact your local library or science museum for activities in your town. In Ottawa, here's the list of free stargazing activities at the Science and  Technology Museum. Worried about the weather? Check the Clear Sky Chart (here's the Ottawa chart, for you locals).
  4. Check out Star Wars Identities. Really, how much geekier can you get? Not sure if you'll like it? Check out my (very) detailed review with bonus tips for a great visit.
  5. Explore space: Check out Nasa's student site for space-related games, videos and activities including phenomenal photos from the Hubble telescope. And check out their Do site for projects, like building a bubble rocket or a balloon-powered rover.
  6. Build a website! HTML and CSS are pretty easy coding languages to teach kids (or you can learn together) as evidenced by the Code For Kids workshops happening recently. So take a Code Academy basic HTML course together or try online tutorials by HTML Dog. Then make some simple web pages and share them with friends and family! Or better yet, build a game! Download Scratch and use the drag-and-drop if-then-else statements to create your game. And then play it together (always the best part!)
Want more? Take a look at my geeky vacation guide from last summer too.

If you have other ideas, share them below. Have fun!