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Couth youth: 6 pointers for kids to be productive today

How can children fill their summer holidays with interesting activities? Lisa Salmon gets some tips from 13-year-old Jenk Oz, who is the founder of lifestyle magazine iCoolKid


Passion with direction: Kids can use their summer holidays to be innovative while having fun

Passion with direction: Kids can use their summer holidays to be innovative while having fun

Jenk Oz

Jenk Oz


Passion with direction: Kids can use their summer holidays to be innovative while having fun

It's all too easy for kids to spend the summer holidays staring at a phone or tablet. However, it achieves very little.

Yet the long summer holidays provide a prime opportunity for children to try something new and potentially achieve something great.

Whether they want to start their own blog, organise a charity event, fundraise or even launch a start-up business, the possibilities for kicking off a fun and rewarding new project during the school summer break are endless.

Jenk Oz knows all about starting a fun and successful project. The 13-year-old became the country's youngest CEO just over two years ago at the tender age of 11 when he started the online lifestyle magazine iCoolKid, aimed at children aged between eight and 15.

The site offers everything from information about new science and tech, and fun business stories, to news about the latest music, dance, extreme sports, and cool hangouts and rakes in thousands of hits a day.

Oz, who lives in London, has interviewed stars including James Corden, Idris Elba and fashion designer Julien MacDonald.

Every school lunchbreak he calls his team - including iCoolKid's co-founder, his mum Carmen Greco - to discuss ideas for the website, based on what's popular with his schoolmates.

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It's a glamorous but busy life for a young teen and Oz is happy to discuss how he's got there. Here, he gives other kids tips on how they can use the summer holidays to kick start their own successful project.

1. Have a clear goal in mind

"If you want to launch a new project this summer, it's important to think about what you're passionate about and what's going to motivate you to succeed," he says.

"Do you aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg? Are you passionate about a charity and want to dedicate your spare time to raising some valuable funds? Are you set to become the next Zoella?

"Whatever your goal, first and foremost you need to spend time thinking about how you see it working, and what success looks like to you. Don't be afraid to think big - it's always good to challenge yourself. Nailing the initial idea is so important. What makes your project unique, and how are you going to stand out from the crowd? Once you have this finalised, the fun can really start."

2. Be organised

"Never underestimate the power of a to-do list. It doesn't matter if you're organising an event, or brainstorming ideas for your next blog post, it's vital you're organised and stay on top of your tasks.

"This will help to drive your ideas forward and realise your end goal much quicker than if you work on a more ad-hoc basis.

"Writing things down in order of priority will also help you set yourself realistic goals and will highlight which tasks are more urgent than others."

3. Ask for advice

"Constructive feedback is essential and extremely useful as it will help you identify areas for improvement.

"When setting up iCoolKid, I had lots of questions and always made sure to speak to my parents and friends whenever I was in doubt.

"Sometimes receiving negative comments can be disheartening, but you should always look on the bright side and don't let this get you down.

"Any feedback that's constructive and allows you to learn from your mistakes is good."

4. Go the extra mile

"When starting out on a new project, make sure you allow yourself enough time to research in detail, whatever the subject matter. If you're committed to achieving something, there's no point giving it 50% - you need to go the extra mile.

"In-depth research will also help you understand how you can make your project better and more successful than anything similar which has been done before - as well as empower you with knowledge.

"If you want to launch a blog or a YouTube channel, spend time sussing out successful influencers and seeing what's worked well and not so well for them. If you're trying to start an entrepreneurial project, take a look at the competition and work out how you can make your idea better. If your project is charity-focused, take a look at fundraising websites and see what the most effective way to engage with donors is.

"Research really is key."

5. Reward yourself

"Embarking on a new project can be daunting and you may find that at times you feel frustrated and fed-up.

"However, it's important to remember that this is supposed to be fun and about you enjoying something you're passionate about. It's certainly not meant to feel like a chore, or another piece of school work.

"Make a conscious effort to celebrate small successes and reward yourself by spending time with your friends or treating yourself to a lazy day at home - you definitely deserve it."

6. Team up

"Two heads are always better than one when it comes to drumming up new and creative concepts, so why not team up with a buddy this summer?

"This is the perfect way to not only keep things fun but also keep each other motivated.

"It also allows you to bounce ideas off one another and discuss them in more detail, making your project more likely to be successful in the long run."

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