- running through the sprinkler, water fights
- bug and butterfly catching
- leaf gathering, tree rubbings, stone collecting
- Frisbee at the park
If it's an option, check your local library. They should have a list of free summer activities.
Gone but not fogotten.
You might also check if there are any used book stores near you for the two of you to visit.
- camping of course we love it - it's intimidating if you're not used to it, but borrow everything from friends and just do it
- my children are obsessed with picking berries so we are constantly scouting around for whatever berries are in season - almost all summer hikes are focused around foraging
- we also do organic Upicks of berries and freeze our bounty (not cheap/free, but it's a way of making money that we already spend into an experience)
- endless park days with our homeschooling friends
- water parks and wading pools
- research whether your municipality has park recreation programs - our local ones are free and fun
- painting with water on pavement using dollar store brushes
- covering a fence or wall in cardboard or a thrift store sheet and painting with tempera paint
- skip the junky sand toys and buy inexpensive gardening tools like trowels and buckets that really work and have a quality feel - find a ditch somewhere and let the kids hack away at the banks and divert the water flow -- you would not believe how much time my kids spend doing that
- look for climbing trees
- freeze seedless grapes for a great summer afternoon snack
- arrange lots of time for kids to play for long, uninterrupted stretches
- have a picnic dinner in a nature spot instead of at home
sharing life with | 9.5 yo ds | 7 yo dd | love of my life new husband
If the kids read X number of books or pages, they get X prize. There might be weekly activities as a part of it (I still remember the Air Force fighter pilot that visited my library when I was growing up). And at the end of the program there might be a pizza party, small carnival, etc., that's free. The kids might get free books as part of the program.
sharing life with | 9.5 yo ds | 7 yo dd | love of my life new husband
Anyway, we like to plan picnics, go to the aquarium and zoo (have memberships, so that's free except for the gas to get there), swim at IL's pool and the beach.
There are always lots of free activities going on and as much as we try to plan for a very relaxing summer, we always end up on the go! This year I'm going to try really hard to have three *nothing* days a week- where we have absolutely nothing planned and we can just play in the yard and see where the day takes us.
Cubby houses of any kind... we had blankets over the dining table, the cardboard box the new washing machine came in.
Big cardboard cartons acted as pirate boats, doll's houses, you name it we imagined it. Until the boxes fell apart, and then we even had fun jumping on them so Mum could put them in the re-cycle.
For our own 4 boys, DH would set up a plastic sheet with water and they slid around the backyard for hours.
We took cardboard sheets to the parks for easy toboggans down grassy banks.
Night time fun: Some torches, a dark back yard and we'd hear cries of "SPOTLIGHT! You're up" for hours.
Hidey seek... not boring when you have adults to help you. We've had games of hidey seek in our family that the adults ended up joining in to help the kids find spots. My mum used to help my little brother hide every holidays and we never ever could find him, and it wasn't till we were at her 80th birthday recently that she finally shared the secret with us. She stood him up on the window sill behind the curtain in the lounge room! Yes, it was re-inforced glass LOL.
Nature walks, where each person has to find 19 beautiful "things", and jot them down on a bit of paper, then when you get home, you share your findings, and see how many things each person saw that everyone else missed. Amazing what kids notice with this one. My DS wrote down that a magpie chased him, and when the other kids protested that it wasn't "beautiful" he said, "yes, it is. he was protecting his nest, so that counts as beautiful".
And nothing beats dress up..... a wooden sword and mum's metal colander was my brother's permanent holiday "armour". I used to prance around in mum's old silk skirt and heels as a princess, and mum went along with it, bowing and calling me your highness, and making "princess" sandwiches for lunch, by making them extra dainty.
Playing Shop.... this was a vital part of our childhood, the "shopbox". Mum always kept a box of little shop boxes for each holidays...she got rid of it at the end of each holiday, but just built it up again for next holidays, and I did the same for our kids. Toothpaste tube boxes, noodle boxes, perfume boxes, little cereal boxes.... any of those little clean packaging boxes. We'd set up our shop with them and get dressed up with Mum's handbags, and our dolls and the monopoly money and play all day. Yes, Mum would come shopping too, which tickled us no end.
Our kids used to have concerts and puppet shows, over an old blanket in the lounge room. Spent all day writing invitations to the adults, and setting up the audience, with snacks and programmes. Often the setting up lasted 5 hours, and the actual show was 5 minutes, but it was all fun.
Cooking... icey poles, chocolate crackles, health bars.
Make ginger beer.
Making masks with paper plates, and Monster outfits with paper bags and sheets.
My Mum gave me the best advice, both by word and by example. She said sometimes when kids are bored, they just need a "kickstart". Adults need to help them set up, or get their imagination fired up to start with, then let them go. I had friends who would complain that their kids didn't "play", that they just hung around them complaining they were bored. I used to say, "but have you got down and played with them?" One friend said, Huh? what do you mean? You shouldn't have to teach kids to play should you?" No, maybe not, but I just know my Mum always joined in or helped us, or provided the wherewithall to get us going.
Sorry, I've probably gotten a bit carried away down memory lane here, but it makes me sad when I see some of the kids nowadays, bored, yet surrounded by clever expensive toys that take away the gift of imagination and fantasy.
Many of the things we did were playing with other kids, or brothers and sisters, but we had just as much fun at home with Mum, on our own, doing them too. Good on you Dr. Worm. Your little DD will have wonderful memories and kids have so much they can teach us about how to live "in the moment", and to see the best in life. I'm now at the nice old grandmother stage of life, and I'll say to DH, let's go visit the kids. I'm ready for some "grandkid therapy".....because I find it such a tonic to have the excuse to play again... now with our grandkids.
I'm now hopping off my soap box. I think I'd better go and find some kids and ask if I can join in?
I don't want to hijack this thread, but I did want to share that research has demonstrated that programs of that nature ultimately cause children to be less motivated to read. Punished by Rewards is a great book that challenges the effectiveness of rewards-based programs.
Reading stories. Creating pictures with crayons on paper or chalk on the sidewalk. Cooking together.
A website with some fun activities is http://www.totville.com.
Oh, lemonade! I have a juicer and make lemonade by juicing 4 apples and one lemon. It is delicious and healthy!
grab an old blanket or sheet and set up under a shady tree. Lay back and let it unfold.....
we live on a sort of busy road, so the kids love making the big trucks honk (I'm sure my neighbors love it!)
plant some seeds and water 'em
pinecone birdfeeders w/ p.butter
THE HOSE!! (not just your basic sprinkler, think mud pits, dams, rivers).
Soapy water in a big rubbermaid bin with lots of cups, pots and pans, etc.
move an easel outside and paint away
start a compost pile
camp in the back yard
we're allowed to have open fires, so we dug a fire pit....maybe something like that where you live? Logs for benches
catching fireflies in old jars
slug hunting with flashlights
hanging laundry out to dry
early morning and late evening walks
"painting" with water
balance beam from an old board and two bricks
greet your mail carrier with a cold drink
make your own bubble mixture with dish detergent--come up with fun wands (coat hangers, straws?)
A HAMMOCK!! A hammock and a library card? Heaven!!
try to cook an egg on pavement?
build stuff out of sticks--tiny mock villages up to full size lean-tos depending on what you've got
Sometimes I'll just suggest we head out in the front yard and I'll plop a bunch of craft things on the steps with me: yarn, a box of toothpicks, craft sticks.....see what unfolds!
Oh! And trying to start fire w/ magnifying glass--so cool!
Check field guides out of the library (bugs, birds, flowers, etc.) and try to ID what's around you
Grab a towel and a big bowl of ice--head outside
Bury treasure in the backyard and exchange treasure maps
keep your lawn cut and your yard looking inviting. Put out chairs. Maybe a little table. Keep a pitcher of ice-cold water out. Bring out snacks on a tray. Plop down a few magazines, a deck of cards, and chill out! You're bound to have a wonderful time!
1. Worm composting -- set up a mini-worm bin in a clear 2lt soda bottle (cut the top off). Put layers of light sand, dark dirt and leaf litter. Put a few veggie scraps on top for food. Add a few worms and cover sides with dark paper. Watch as the layers blend together as the worms work the soil. Dump in the garden when done. http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Schools/Curr...Activities.pdf http://www.hometrainingtools.com/art...a-wormery.html
2. Solar cookers -- Pizza box cookers to make mini pizzas. Shoe box cookers to make hot dogs and pringles can cookers to cook marshmellows and melt chocolate for smores. I also found directions to make a bigger solar cooker from a shiny car sunshield. http://www.solarcooking.org/zh/winds...ooker-zhcn.pdf http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/projects/solardogs.html http://tristate.apogee.net/kids/fes_ifrm.aspx
3. Pond jars -- wash out a spaghetti sauce jar, go to a local pond/small lake. Scoop about an inch of soil from the water's edge and gather some small water plants, maybe a tiny snail or two, fill with pond water. http://www.bpa.gov/Corporate/KR/ed/k...s/fishless.htm http://www.d.umn.edu/~tbates/ened3342-1/pondlife2.pdf
4. Balloon experiments -- http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/s...nandstraw.html http://www.hometrainingtools.com/art...r-project.html http://www.questacon.edu.au/html/squ...on_bottle.html
Other things I want to do, but not with the group...
color changing flowers-- http://www.abc.net.au/spark/experiments/s1112186.htm
go to the farmers market and get at least one new food per trip
get tadpoles from the ditches by my aunt's house and raise them
participate in the urban bird count http://www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration
participate in counting bees in the great sunflower project http://www.greatsunflower.org/en/fou...ps-participate
plus just playing outside, hanging out with friends (we do a weekly park date with friends), library summer program, planting seeds, I'd be lying if I didn't say we also play on the computer and watch movies too.
Mama to one awesome little girl and her adorable baby brother.
the kids always are making games out of other stuff and these toys are just taking up our precious space.
Our local radio station has a website with lots of events going on. Also check your city or county website, you might be surprised what you find. Local concerts, free bbqs, etc.
Bike to different parks and enjoy discovering new fun places close by.
Set up the tent in the backyard. Great fun for sleeping in, or just for hanging out sometimes.
You could get birdwatching and wild flower books from the library and discover lots of beauty around you that you might not be noticing yet.
I remember bringing my dolls outside a lot in the summer. We'd set up houses and towns for them outside. The woodpile would be one place, under a bush another. Some boxes would be dragged out as needed.
Mostly, just PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! Summer is so great, for being outside and being imaginative.
Married 13 years, mama to 12 (boy), 8, 6, 4, 1 (girls)
Camping and bonfires and s'mores right in the backyard.
Take public transportation to someplace you haven't been to before.
Any musuems have "free" days or nights? Take advantage.
Local libraries have lots of free events for kids including summer bookclubs, etc.
Playing with OOBLECK - cookie sheets filled with corn starch and water. Amazing consistency.
Check around for free concerts and shakespeare in the park.
Many museums have a weekly or monthly free admission day. Find out when they are and go!
Turn her loose in the backyard (if you have one) daily.
Here the heat makes summer fun either indoor or water oriented. We know where several parks with water features for splash play are located. Find out how much a summer pool pass at your city pool is. Or Get a wading pool and sprinkler if you have a yard, for water play on the cheap.
breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!
Make puppets with some simple sewing/felt.
Tye dye some t-shirts.
Sleep in the backyard or on the porch.
Discover adventures in your home town that you never take the time to do, like visiting a new bakery once a week or traveling to a different playground.
Play cards. There are so many games, and I have such happy memories of our family playing together ever since I can remember.
Start a baking day once a week. Peanut butter cookies or coffee cake, it doesn't matter what it is but the time together will be precious.
And okay- I have to say this because it is my new favorite thing.....consider investing in a Flip Video camera. It is without a doubt, the best investment we have ever made for our family and I plan to record our whole summer! We have an expensive video camera that we never really used, and the flip is used constantly. Your daughter could do it easily, and for a little over a hundred dollars you would have your awesome summer for always. Record your baking, local travels, and everyday joys. I know this is a little ( ok, a lot) ot but these are great ideas, and it seems like a perfect time to capture your daughter's childhood.