When school is out and kids have a lot of free time on their hands parents everywhere are looking for things for them to do at home that don't cost much and don't require being driven somewhere. What are your best tips for keeping kids busy during the summer? Share your best ideas and we'll enter your post into a draw for $25 Amazon Gift Card. You may post more than once if you wish but your post should share some good ideas, resources, or how-to's.
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Picnics in the park/forest preserve
nature walks/treasure hunt walks
obstacle courses in the yard
Nate dog 5/15/04
Lil' G 11/8/07
My Shamrock 3/17/10
- Story time, reading a book series or longer book with an older DC
- cooking together, theme cooking is fun too, example: plan a whole day around a certain culture, make a dish, read a story, watch a video, play music related to that theme
- Dancing, using music or instruments, dressing in a costume
- Make homemade icecream or other frozen treats
- Firefly catching
- Planting a garden/watching it grow/harvesting
- Neighborhood play time with other kids: planned games, moms hang out,etc
-Have a parade
- Sidewalk chalk coloring
- Bubble blowing
We love to plan a backyard camping trip. We set up a tent for the weekend, and cook our food on the grill.
During the day, we learn about nature with various activities.
At night, we use flashlights and plan activities like star gazing. We always buy plenty of glow sticks and sometimes we hide them around the yard and go on a "hunt".
It's fun, and it brings us closer together. We also save on utilities!
Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
A tad socially awkward
Here are some things my babes and I love (they are younger)
Eat meals outside (breakfast at 6am in the yard is fun)
Street fairs! The ones near us have crafts for kids, bands playing, yummy food
Finding a stream to splash in
Looking for water holes
Parks! Tons of parks, esp in the evening before dinner to wear them out
BBQ potlucks with friends
Riding the NYC ferry
Free Concerts at the Park
Shakespeare in the Park
Summer reading programs
Mud Runs - yes my kids love any excuse to get dirty
Free Family days at local Museums
Drive In Movies with friends
For more summer ideas I have a list here.
We're definitely having fun with our Lil' learning to ride his bicycle. Also trips to the park playing chase and all kinds of tag ~ freeze, stick-in-the-mud, and cartoon. Water guns are loads of fun on hot days. We might try doing tie dye later in this summer. Relay races are fun when friends are around, bean bag toss, too. O and we love, love, love to garden and see all our wonderful vegetables growing. He loves to help me bake, too. :O)
Water, water, and more water! My one year old loves the kiddie pool, his water table, and playing with ice cubes.
I'm Rach, full-time mama and part-time doula. I love my city life with Mr. J , Little J (05/03/10), and brand new Baby V (02/11/13)!
summer fun= creating a shady story time tent with a huge cloth over a low branch of a tree.
making campfire shadow puppet stages with an embroidery hoop and white cloth and cutting out poster board figures to move on a wooden stick
wet felting a big rug with soapy wet feet in a kiddy pool.
sign up for the free story newsletter online and enjoy monthly stories for young children and a puppet making activity.
Go to the Farmers Market or Harvest your own fruits and veggies from home.
Then, prepare a light summery meal together incorporating all of your harvested goodies.
Fresh fruit and veggie salads, veggie pizza, grilled veggies, smoothies, popsicles, etc
Once everything is made, sit outside with friends and family and share the goodness!
Lovin my sweet babygirl 3-17-10 and expecting another in March!
Be sure to check out your local library! I'm a librarian and we have tons of activities (free!) for kids and teens this summer. Some of them are kind of passive, like our summer reading program, but a lot of them are classes, workshops, and activities.
Wife to an amazing man , mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) , and ds3 (9/26/10) . Part time librarian, full time mommy, occasional chef and maid.
Playing with COLD!
Have had loads of fun making popsicles of a huge variety of liquids ranging from juice, to fruit puree, to coconut and almond milk. Best to have a few sets so that it isn't too hard to wait for them to freeze!
Making homemade ice creams and sorbets and inventing new flavour combos
Taking as many shapes and sizes of tupperware containers as will fit in the freezer and fill them with different coloured water (and glitter if you're daring). Take them outside and begin to experiment with stacking, sculpting, shaping. Bring along some salt and watch what happens and how it helps blocks stick together
Find a big container and fill it with water and throw in some small items and stick it in the freezer. Pull it out and set the kiddies loose with a variety of objects with which to excavate and release the treasures. With multiple kids, have them make surprises for each other
Definitely summer reading at the public library!
Planting a garden
Playing outside with neighbors
Building a fort
Rearranging rooms so all seems new again
Board games and card games
Visiting cheap/free parks and museums in our area (playing tourist in our city)
Suggestion: If your kids are old enough to write (or dictate to you) let them make a list of things they'd like to do. If they are school-aged, have them also figure out the cheap/free things.
-Visit the park
-Swim (lake, pool, splash park - mix it up)
-walk everywhere we can (we live in a small city)
-Ride bikes (my kids are 4 and 2, so I either let the 4yo ride and push/wear the baby or put them both in the bike trailer and I ride)
-Ice cream at the ice cream shop (we usually bike or walk there, and we mix up which one we go to)
-Small amusment park (its super laid back, we brign a picnic lunc hand dinner and make a day out of kiddie rides and the splash portion of the water park)
-Hike (kids friendly hikes, short so I can wear 2yo or smoothish path so I can take the jogger, bring lunch and stop to play/eat - ideally at a creek)
-Library - especially storytime!
-Picnics everywhere lol (park, backyard, etc)
-Watch storms from front porch (or just inside the door if its bad)
-Catch other bugs/reptiles etc
-Farmers market (my kids love this because they always get free samples lol!)
-Pick your own anything...we especially seem to enjoy pick your own blueberries though - its easy for them!
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.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
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
We also throw in some gardening and my boys favorite right now is picking strawberries and eating them.
Yesterday DH mowed the lawn and the boys and I raked it into piles and then grabbed handfuls and threw them in the compost. They loved doing that and asked if they could do it again today.
We also have a family dinner tradition for really hot days, it's really just my creative way of getting out of cooking in the house. I dice up all kinds of pizza topping and roll out some dough. Everyone gets to make their own pizza and then we cook it on the grill and eat it out on the deck.
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.
We joined Project Noah, which allows you to choose "assignments" that are nature based. Everything is completely free, the kids can earn fun badges, and many of the activites allow kids to collect data that is actually used by the scientific community. We also enjoy geocaching :)
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