5 Summer Boredom Busters

You can find lots of ways to beat the blues with your kids when summer boredom sets in — even in your own back yard.

1. Create the 2-Minute Birdbath
Birds need to bathe and drink, so a birdbath is a big added enticement for birds to stop by.
To make this simple one, overturn two terra-cotta pots of slightly different sizes (for example, a 12-inch pot and a 16-inch pot), stack them in a special spot in your yard or garden (where predators can’t hide), then top with a large terracotta saucer. Fill with cool fresh water.

2. Build a Pine Cone Bird Feeder
Tie a length of twine to one end of your pine cone for hanging. Coat the pine cone and fill the petal openings with shortening or peanut butter. Cover with birdseed, oats, sunflower seeds or millet — or a combination of each. Suspend from tree branches around the yard.

3. View the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids, for those who have never watched them, are an annual shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. Visible from mid-July to mid-August each year, the shower usually peaks between Aug. 8 and Aug. 14 during which time hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. It is truly spectacular! The best viewing hours are between 2- 4 a.m.

4. Host a Scavenger Hunt
The rules of a scavenger hunt couldn’t be simpler — individuals or teams try to find all the items on a given list. As technology has evolved, there’s a new method: Players use a digital camera to record finding each item. The big advantage of the modern method is that the list of items can include things that aren’t transportable (for instance, a seagull or footprints at the beach; animal tracks or deer in the woods).

5. Learn to Whistle on a Blade of Grass
Search your back yard or the woods for a thick piece of grass at least a quarter of an inch wide. Break off the blade of grass close to the ground, so you have a nice long piece to work with. Bring your hands together and position the blade of grass between your thumbs, ensuring that the thickest part of the blade lies taut between the second and third knuckles of your thumbs. Bring the backs of your thumbs facing toward your face. Place the space where the blade of grass lies between your thumbs against your lips. Gently blow through the space, and vary the angle of your hands and intensity of your blowing until you hear a whistle.

These ideas and more are excerpts from the book “Summer: A User’s Guide” by Suzanne Brown, who spends her summer months in Martha’s Vineyard, in the Adirondacks or on the Carolina Coast. She lives with her husband in Chappaqua, N.Y. The book is available online at www.thebookofsummer.com or at retail bookstores nationwide.