-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 book "Geek Dad" has some great projects, including making a slip-n-slide, and making a movie screen to use outside.
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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.
take a walk and make a nature collection
dig a hole and find out what's below ground
visit water: the pool, a creek, etc.
go someplace cool-- a museum, the library
The beach (I live in the UK so no-one in here is further than 50 miles from the coast) for sand modeling (don't get stuck with just sand castles - see You Tube for sand sculptures to get the children inspired before you go)
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alt="joy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif">Simple, Fun, Creative ways to put the Joy back into parenting
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
I'm keeping it simple this summer with my gaggle of toddlers (my own older kids are in sailing school : )
- I drew a racetrack on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and they love racing around it on their bikes and trikes
- I set up the wading pool and added one of those small Little Tykes slides for extra fun
- We do craft time outdoors at the picnic table
- Watertable play with little boats, cups, etc
- Sidewalk chalk (they like to trace each other and color it in - or try to anyway)
- I bought some hula hoops that they love to roll and chase, jump through, 'trap' their friend
- On rainy days we have theater day where everyone gets a comfy seat, popcorn and juice packs while they watch a movie on the big screen tv (a rare treat!) Bonus- they all conk out halfway through : )
I started our own reading club with all the kids, my older's set a weekly goal (reasonable) and at the end of the week get to choose a small prize from the treasure chest (full of candy, dollar store stuff, etc) the younger's 'read' or are read to two books a day (at minimum) and they, of course get a prize too.
At the end of the summer my older's are each getting $15 Walmart gift cards as the 'grand prize' - they don't know that yet though : )