A Cool Idea for the Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer have arrived. Hot, humid days cling to the ground where fireworks fizzled just a few short weeks ago. The barbeque has cooled, and there just isn’t is ever enough ice tea—sweet or unsweet.

The family dog is either under the air conditioner or panting from the heat under the old oak tree. The kids are beginning to run out of activities and moan, “I am bored!”

Moms and Dads are heat exhausted and can’t wait for the sound of school buses on the road and bells ringing. However, school doesn’t start for weeks.

Let me serve up a few refreshing ideas on getting through these last few weeks of summer. In the process, we might even prepare the kids for the upcoming school year. And, for those folks already out of school, I have a few ideas for you, too.

Think of what I am going to share with you as a mini-training camp. In Colorado, the Denver Bronco’s begin practicing for the season next week. They prepare, strategies and run their drills as they gear up for next season. Think of these following days as your own mini-Technology Training Camp.

Why? Because the world revolves around technology and it is a significant tool for people with disabilities to achieve personal success if we access it appropriately.

All summer camps have activities and projects. Your family camp project is to tell a story using one of two apps. All the materials you will need are either on a smartphone, digital camera or iPad. If you don’t have one, I can almost guarantee someone you know has one that you can use for a few hours.

First activity:
Video/photo safari.

Send your kids out to capture their favorite things they like about summer. Pictures can include bugs, butterflies, birds, boating and even fishing, picnics and swimming with friends. It really can be anything your kids enjoy doing.

Every story has three parts. A Beginning. A Middle. And, an End.

The purpose of this activity is to create observation, recording and storytelling skills. It can be used to share with teachers and students once school starts and everyone asks, “What did you do last summer?”

It will demonstrate competency, facilitate conversations and build relationships.

Part One:

Getting in the car take pictures/video of going to the swimming pool.

Part Two:

Capturing the action of swimming, the interactions with other pool patrons, grabbing a cool ice cream or refreshment. If there is any conflict or indecision, capture that, too. Conflict can be as simple as someone who can’t decide which flavor ice cream to choose. Take photos/video capturing the struggle in determining which ice cream they want.

Part Three:

Capture the end of the day at the pool. Maybe a shot of the face of a wet child sleeping in a stroller, or a have your child take selfie where they are still wet from swimming and are enjoying their ice cream.

Let me show you a video Mikelle and her fifteen-year-old nephew, Jack did going to Starbucks. Jack is a burgeoning film director. I suggested he help Mikelle tell her stories and they chose Mikelle’s passion for coffee. They worked out a simple storyboard discussing the shots they wanted and where. Mikelle and her team had “Siri” research “coffee songs,” and Mikelle selected her music.

Happy results. Folks get a snapshot into Mikelle’s life, and one way she used her technology and Jack adds a video to his film portfolio. This little film was on the big screen at the Wenatchee Convention Center in Washington state where I presented on technology to over 200 people.

There are two other storytelling apps I want to share with you.

Pictello and Video Shop. I discovered a way to use them both together along with my iPhone screen recording function.

Pictello (under $20) functions as a digital storybook. Mikelle uses it to tell stories and actually training her new staff. Video Shop is a video editing app which I found very easy to use.

Here is a story Mikelle shares about her family. Remember, you can use this mini-tech camp to prepare for employment showcasing different skills and interests of your transitioning young adult.

Focus on three days for shooting video, editing and sharing through text or social media. Having a focused time gives it that camp experience and make it fun! Get creative and send me your final product!

A note: It doesn’t need to be perfect. It is a “camp”! Throw a few hot dogs on the grill, drink some tea and just play around and see where it goes. Celebrate your efforts!