With the end of the school year in sight, we can all let out a collective sigh of relief. But then, that relief turns to panic when you realize that you have weeks to fill with activities for the kids...
We’re parents, too, and we know that every day can’t be filled with summer camps, swim lessons and beach days, and we also know that having a plan in order helps. So, grab your calendars; here’s our ultimate summer activity guide for parents looking for a little inspiration (or a little help!) in the weeks ahead.
Make Your Own Playdough: It’s surprisingly easy! Check out our recipe for super soft playdough that requires just a few ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. And check out our list of things to do with the playdough once you have it made.
Make Your Own Slime: This never grows old. Here’s a great recipe for DIY slime that only requires 3 easy-to-find ingredients (unlike Borax, which can be great but isn’t always that easy to find in stores.
Photo credit: iStock.com/StockRocket
Make Pet Rocks: Part of the fun is finding the perfect rock, and the other part is painting the rock. We recommend checking out 15 Fun Pet Rock Ideas via The Best Ideas for Kids where you’ll find ideas for adorable monster rocks, ladybug rocks for the garden, and more.
Make a Beaded Wind Chime: With a stick, some paint, craft beads, hooks and string, you can make your own wind chime. We found a wonderful tutorial on Crafts by Courtney for this craft, and although parents are needed for the hooks, we also considered adding little bells and simply tying the jute string around the stick if you didn’t have the hooks.
Make a Bird Feeder: There are lots of different ways to make bird feeders, and chances are you have everything you need already (aside from the bird seed perhaps). We hallowed out an old orange, filled it with bird seed, and hung it on a tree branch, but check out Happy Hooligans for 32 homemade bird feeder ideas.
Take it Outside Tuesdays
Draw with Sidewalk Chalk: We always have sidewalk chalk on hand for a quick and easy outdoor activity. Try any of these ideas:
- Color Hunt: Try to find things in the yard that match the color drawn in chalk.
- Can you find? Get specific and write in chalk things to find, e.g. 4 yellow flowers, 3 sticks, etc. and with a circle next to each where the items should be found and placed.
- Mosaic Drawing: Use painter’s tape, color over and around it, then remove the tape for a picture-perfect mosaic.
- Follow the Line: Draw a line, a long, long, twisty, twirly line, and little ones follow.
- Obstacle Course: Squiggly lines, curvy lines, lines for jumping over, circles for hopping in, etc.
- Don’t Step in the Lava: draw safe rocks and lava spots and have your little ones make it from one side to the other without stepping in lava.
- Beanbag Toss: create a score board with points for landing a bean bag.
Make Leaf Rubbings: Another two-step activity, gathering the leaves from outside and then using them in in a leaf rubbing art project. Once you gather the leaves, position them with the bottom side facing up. Place a piece of thin paper overtop the leaf and rub with the side of the crayon on the paper on top of the leaf. Use different colors or take some time to identify the leaves, too! (P.S. our crayons are perfect for this activity!)
Do a Nature Scavenger Hunt: Download this free printable nature scavenger hunt sheet from Life with My Littles and start the search for sticks, dandelions, and more.
Play Backyard Memory: With paper plates and printed pictures, you can create your own giant-sized memory pieces to play in the grass outside.
Water Balloon Pinatas: Simply hang water balloons from a string across the yard and arm each kiddo with a stick to cool off in the summer heat. (Ok, maybe it’s best to just have one stick and take turns…!)
Extraordinary Painting: Use objects other than paint brushes for painting. Try toothbrushes, celery stalks, or toilet paper tubes instead.
Draw Upside Down: Tape paper to the underside of your table or desk and draw on the “ceiling.”
Make Wacky Popcorn Faces: We found this funny tutorial on Toddler Approved for making faces using popcorn – it’s a snack & a craft!
Find What’s Wrong: Before the kiddos get up, take a few minutes to make things wacky throughout your house. For instance, put shoes on the door knobs, turn pictures and waste baskets upside down, and put forks by the cereal bowls instead of spoons. Have your kids try to find as many wacky things as they can.
Backwards: Eat dessert first!
Thursdays in the Kitchen
Marshmallow Fruit Dip: A bonus if you enjoy strawberry or blueberry picking with the kids, try this deliciously sweet dip with just about anything.
Smoothies: Once you have the ingredients, it’s hard to mess these up. Yummy Toddler Food has 10 great smoothie ideas for kids.
Photo credit: Yummy Toddler Food
Banana Sushi: This recipe idea from Weelicious takes bananas to a whole new level.
Ranch Snack Mix: It has goldfish in it, so it’s a guarantee win.
Tortilla Pizza: From Pint Sized Treasures, this is just as good and just as fun as making pizza, only easier.
Go to the library, a splash pad, have a picnic in the park, visit a farm stand, or fruit picking. Find a petting zoo, a nearby town, a kids museum, or go on a child-led hike!
Photo credit: iStock.com/Tgordievskaya