LiveWire went on-line this month to get the scoop on the summer scene for `99. Kids talked about their favorite activities, summer spending habits and special plans for fun in and out of the sun. Although their answers varied when it came to specifics, nearly all the kids agreed on the two best things about summer:
Swimming is tops for girls and boys
Boys and girls agree that summer weather is meant for playing and outdoor fun, but kids still find time to sleep in for an extra hour during the summer months. Their waking energy is spent visiting friends and family, playing sports and finding rainy-day entertainment. The highest-rated summer activity for both boys and girls is swimming, followed by visiting relatives and playing outside. Sports-wise, after swimming, the boys tend to gravitate toward structured team sports like soccer and basketball, versus the girls’ picks of biking and roller-blading.
A large majority of our panelists go away during the summer. The most common destinations are Florida, California and Virginia. Usually they go to visit relatives, and well over half go with their whole families.
Summertime is earning time
Just fewer than half of our panelists told us they had a summer job. Doing special chores for mom or dad and baby-sitting were the most popular forms of summer employment, and the classic kid careers of mowing lawns and selling lemonade tied for third. The money they make goes toward a variety of very specific things, such as roller blades, a Furby or body boarding gear. Generally, the most common kid purchases are toys and games.
Our panelists also told us about the summer purchases mom and dad take care of. Most of these fall into the clothing category, followed by sporting equipment. The most common single summer purchase is a new bathing suit, followed by a new pair of shorts or sandals. Top shops for buying summer stuff are Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Toys `R’ Us.
TV and movie viewing goes up
Kids’ summer days aren’t just for sandals and sunglasses. More than half of our panelists say both their television and movie viewing increase during the summer months, and new theatrical releases are highly anticipated sources of entertainment. Films highest on their movie meter are Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Walt Disney’s My Favorite Martian and Walt Disney’s Inspector Gadget.
It’s no wonder kids love summer so much. Combine no school with warm weather and lots of young energy, and kids are bound to fill their summer days with unforgettable memories. We asked our panel to reflect on some of their best summer times.
‘My favorite memory was when we went swimming at the beach, and my sister went underwater for the first time!’ Zack, 10, North Carolina
‘My favorite time was meeting my best friend through the fence between our houses.’ Kyle, 10, Oregon
‘My favorite summer memory was when my baby brother Daniel was born.’ Sarah, 8, Indiana
‘I like the time we went to Cape Cod and to Woods Hole. We went into this tiny aquarium and I was able to touch spider crabs, star fish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, some slow fish and lobsters.’ Matthew, 10, Connecticut
‘The best was when I went fishing with my dad.’ Abbey, 12, Massachusetts
‘My best memory was saying good-bye to my grandma one summer before she passed away.’ Austin, 13, Georgia
‘Once I won first place in minigolf at camp!’
Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-415-2992 or e-mail email@example.com.
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