Things my 3yrold DD likes:
-Riding her bike
-Swimming in the wading pool
-Playing in the park
Anything with water is a hit around here. We fill up the wading pool, open up the sand box, get out all the sand toys and watch the engineering begin. Playing in the sprinkler is fun, too, as is helping to water the garden.
Planting, weeding and harvesting in the garden; playing in the pole bean teepee or corn patch.
This Spring we bought five bales of straw and made a climbing structure out of them--endless fun.
Camping is always a hit.
Now if only the weather would get nice, it would actually feel like summer!
- Our kids got a cheap snowcone maker for Christmas and since it's gotten warmer, they've been setting up a snowcone stand in our front yard. One weekend, they recruited five of the neighborhood kids to work with them and they sold door to door.
- When it's really hot out, we do a weekly "movie theater" afternoon, where we watch a movie and make popcorn during the hottest part of the day.
- We sign up for every summer reading program we can find, the one at the library, the one at Barnes & Noble (earn free books by reading), at Border's (more free books)...
- Since the kids don't do a lot on the computer, I "let" them play on www.ixl.com and www.time4learning.com IXL is one you pay to sign up for, but you can do some free on there every day, so we just do it once a day.
Getting things done fun stuff:
washing the car (one summer we did this weekly )
weeding (I usually pay 5 cents/weed to make it more fun, and we practice counting too)
picking herbs or mini bouquets from the garden
making cookies (for some reason we always do this more in the summer. . sugar cookies and icing with fun cutters)
hand-washing and hanging things to dry
I try to plan painting-type projects that take several days - this year we did paper mache stuff, then we'll glue tissue, then we'll paint on them
decorating and making houses out of big boxes (always seem to have/find them more in the summertime)
would love to make a garden spider web like this this summer
chalk drawing all over the driveway, and/or bubble blowing
Inside - Create a book reading nook; complete with extra large pillow, blanket, great lighting, and bookcase full of books
Outside - Sprinkler, lots of balls, swing set, dirt/sand/rock/"garden" pit, outdoor play kitchen, water "guns"(made out of old food bottles[ketchup, syrup,...] w/ squirt opening), outdoor kitchen ready for making mud pies(filled with: old, broken/chipped, and otherwise unsafe for real food - kitchen stuff),
Online resources are always available - so just google fun for children free online games learning...
We like to leave home though and go visit the parks, wildlife refuges, and library. Or just take a walk/bike ride around the block.
go to the beach and spend the day in the sand and sun.
go to all those fun places that you can't get to in the winter (here in canada) adventure parks, ziplines, etc.
labyrinth by the beach
visit family a days drive away
icecream from downtown
some of these things cost money, but that is what we're planning this year. I also want to do some felting in the back yard with some wool I've stashed away that's not suitable for anything else much. ;)
When my kids we little we would enjoy planting a sunflower garden or bean pole tent
the boys love digging
pounding nails into wood
building forts - sheets, clothes pins, posts
We also used to make a weekly trip to our local library which is also located at a park. We would attend story time, get a couple of books and spend a couple of hours at the park. I still have fond memories of this time with both my boys.
I think whatever YOU are involved with your child will feel honored to share the experience with you.
1. We would set up a fort in the house with blankets and read books/play in there. Then they can nap in their fort which seems pretty exciting.
2. Simple obstacle course in the backyard where they have to get from one end to the other without getting (gently) pelted with water soaked sponges by the other kids/adults.
3. Going to the library. They have playgroups, storytime, toys, AC, etc.
4. Painting with water on the walls, driveway, etc.
5. Chalk Writing all over the house
8. Making frozen desserts
9. Exploring nature and creeks
10. Pretend the Bathtub is a pool
11. Pretend you're in the arctic circle freezing
-We have made Paper Mache volcanoes which is a week long project, which we sculpt, dry, paint and then do the usual baking soda, food color and vinegar. In between, we explore the library on volcanoes.
-Colored ice cubes floating in the kid sized pool
-Coffee beans floating in water and small gold fish sized nets to catch them.
-Making dinosaur bones out of homemade play dough.
-Mud pies in the garden and then outdoor bubble bath in the kid pool to clean off
-fairy potions using glitter, vinegar, baking soda, soap, food color and expired baking supplies like corn meal, raisins, flour etc.. I usually have different sized containers and spice bottles with various sized pouring spouts.
-Tipi making using bamboo and an old sheet we get to paint.
-Clay sculpting-best bet to get a box of clay from the craft store and shape away either free form or with cookie cutters, and various kitchen tools for design.
-Glue gunning using a low heat glue gun and having a box of recyclables such as milk lids, juice lids, costume jewlery, cd cases...you name it and the kids will glue it
-Fairy houses made from popsicle sticks-you can buy a box of 1000 inexpensively and once glued together in the shape of a house, we then go on a nature walk and collect mosses, rocks, pinecones, flowers, sticks, etc to glue on the house
-Dried flower pressing
-Icecream social-who can resist an invite to an icecream party with all the toppings
-The #1 fun...We got in 3 yards of dirt dumped in a mound. With a water hose near the top, the kids carved out a river and made damns. Over the course of the summer, we would hide "fairy gems" or glass beads around the dirt pile, float sticks down our rivers and of course it was always a great place to park a tonka truck or two.
Yes we like to get dirty, but it all washes off and the kids have fun!
1. Forts indoor and out (indoor w/ used cardboard boxes, blankets, furniture, pillows- whatever) (outdoors w/ bamboo poles, tarps, rocks)
2. Compost bin fun- build "boats" out of melon rinds or other thinks found in the compost bucket. Set sail in creek. Parents can give prizes for fastest boat, most artistic, best fish food, etc. (my 7 yr old every raids the worm bin to put "sailors" on the boats which the fish love)
3. Bug scavenger hunt (give the kids a list with ten bugs they are likely to find under stones, arm them with kits including a net, magnifying glass, paper & pencil)
4. Paint with everything from water on the sidewalk (see if you can finish a work of art before it dries and picture disappears) to finger paint, window paint (yep- sliding glass doors work great. Use tempura paint w/ a little castile soap), Paint with pudding.
5. Host a tye dye party with friends
6. sprinklers (or like me if water uses breaks your heart- fill up a 5 gallon bucket w/ water and give the kids super soakers and ask the to water the garden, plants, etc)
7. make play dough, goop, gack, slime, sidewalk chalk, volcanos, foam paint, etc. (most of this is made with glue, borax, water, vinegar, salt, flour & shaving cream)
8. Make "Knight" costumes & swords out of cardboard or what ever kid's can find to use
9. build pine cone bird feeders (peanut butter/ bird seed/ pine cones
10. build fairy house (toad houses or ant habitats depending on your crowd)
11. Make a time capsule and bury it outside
12. Pick up sticks and make the alphabet/ spell names, etc
13. Visit the local library (often they offer cool free kid's activities)
14. Puppet shows, plays, skits
15. Host a writers workshop
16. Take a early morning hike (its hot where I live)
17. Take a hike under anew moon or/ and full moon. Note the differences
18. Plant a sunflower garden (or any garden)
19. Game Day- Pictionary, Legos, charades, Scrabble, Battleship, Simon Says...
20. Sidewalk chalk murals
21. Host a car wash or lemonaide stand and donate the proceeds to something you care about (we picked www.aslafoundation.org)
22. volunteer at a food bank or deliver meals on wheels, play games at a senior center
23. Dig holes (I know it sounds boring but my two year old can spend hours with his hand trowel and some dirt
25. Sand box- water table
27. body paint, henna tattoos- depending on the ages of your kiddos
28. Movie day, Wii day, Guitar Hero
29. Paint rocks, stack rocks, fill holes with rocks, rock tumbler jewelery making
30. Picnic outside- challenge the family to an all raw lunch, no trash lunch or all hand picked lunch
The summer is when I scour all the cheap ways to get inside entertainment. We'll eat lunch at Chick fil A, then play on their playground for a long time. One of those bounce places (ours is $8 for big kids and $4 for little kids). The much hated Chuck E Cheese. Library programs (ours shows movies once a week on the big screen). Free movies at the theater.
If we're getting really squirrelly, we'll play on the indoor playground at a local mall. Or walk the mall trying to find something in particular (10 things that start with the letter "P").
And, of course, the pool, fountains, and the hose.
Making music! Use existing instruments, or make your own. Plastic egg cartons, filled with seeds and taped up. Any jar or bottle filled with seeds or beads. Tupperware and wooden spoons, cake pans, etc. Paper towel rolls with toothpicks stuck inside, seeds, and taped at both ends becomes a rainstick.
Get out your favorite CD's and jam! Don't forget scarves to dance with and play peek-a-boo.
Get out the drums and flutes and have a marching band down the street! This is fabulous for the fourth of July or any day.
Looks like I missed out on the drawing but I wanted to suggest checking out a local farm for U-Pick season. Right now is strawberries and soon will be blueberry season. Chickens often have the run of the fields to take care of pests and I saw many of the older kids having fun chasing/running from them. My 2 year old was content to watch them from a distance and look for a "good one" strawberry :) Suggestion: bring a spray bottle of water or sports bottle with water to rinse off the really "good ones" that must be taste tested immediately :) Also, you may want to bring some elbow length gloves as a picking rash is not uncommon. I don't have a strawberry allergy but I certainly had a good rash up and down my arms after a couple of hours of being elbow deep out there.
For some reason I associate spring/summer with dyeing weather! Visit Dharma Trading Co. online or your local craft store to find "party kits". I just ordered a bunch of silk scarves to try out kool-aid dyeing! Various tutorials can be found online - here are a couple to get you started: http://www.thepiper.com/fiberart/koolaid/basic-howto.html and http://monkeymade.blogspot.com/2010/12/kool-aid-dyed-play-scarves.html
Perfect learning activity that later translates into hours of imaginative fun.
Also, as a side note, I plan on checking out misting kits for decks and patios at Lowe's, Home Depot or the like. They are relatively inexpensive and supposedly can lower the temp on your deck or patio by up to 10 degrees. I had never heard of these kits before but am really interested.
I just visited a friends blog today and she suggested using shells in some creative play. Some ideas I enjoyed were Fairy Garden, making an underwater picture, land art, beach day mobile, and using the shells as counters. My boys used shells for play by gluing them together into little 'shell people'.
Here is her site: [she has lots of ideas] http://besttoysfortoddlers.blogspot.com