Here are some of our entertaining ideas for free and inexpensive fun to be had right at home!
1. Glow-in-the-dark slime! Another great reason to stay up till dark on care-free summer nights. You can also break open glow sticks and add the liquid to bubbles, making glow-in-the-dark bubbles!
2. Photo Scavenger Hunt – make a list of things you might see in your neighborhood or at a park or driving around town and take pictures of them. Depending on the ages of your kids, you could even make it more challenging and try to find letters in the alphabet shaped by their surroundings (i.e. the letter ‘x’ in a chair backing or an ‘s’ in a lampost. You could also look for certain shapes.
3. Cooking with Mom – Summer is a great time to get your kids in the kitchen with you, learning some basics of how to cook. Toddlers can help dump measured ingredients into a bowl. Older kids can start reading recipes and measuring themselves. Have a certain night each week that your child gets to help make dinner. They feel so proud of their accomplishments and become more self-reliant in getting food for themselves. Plus it is a great way to spend some time talking about the day together.
4. Skill building badges – In addition to cooking, I always have a list of skills I’m wanting to be sure my kids are learning to do. I saw this idea of making badges for each skill that they can earn as they learn and master that skill. What a fun incentive for your kids to try to earn the badges! And go celebrate with some ice cream when they’re done!
5. Service – Another important attribute I want my kids to learn is serving others. So some of our time this summer will be looking for ways to do nice things for others. One blogger shared her birthday adventure with her kids of doing random acts of kindness for people in their community. I plan to use some of her ideas in implementing our service and thinking of others this summer. See her ideas here.
6. Ice games – When the weather heats up, it’s time for some cool-down games! We’re going to play a game of freezing super hero figures in blocks of ice and using water guns to see who can free their super hero first! Another fun game is ‘melt the ice cube’ game. The game just needs ice and dice. The simple rules are here.
7. Sidewalk Chalk! – Pick up a bucket of sidewalk chalk at Michaels or Target and create all sorts of games in your backyard or driveway. Here are a few games to get you started.
8. Read!! – So many good books, so little time. I love having a little time for some quiet, down time in the afternoons reading. My kids each have a book light they can use to read at bedtime. We go to the library often and read. And most libraries have a reading program for the summer. Barnes and Noble also has one. Our County Fair has a certificate for each child to print 10 books they’ve read and can take it to the fair to get in free. There are great incentives if you need to encourage your children to read. Providing the opportunity is key. We also always have a family book we read together. It is so fun to snuggle up together or pop some popcorn and read together. Expose your kids to the classics!
9. Science Experiments – My boys love science…and making messes. If both of those go together, all the better! Spend some time together trying out some fun experiments. It’s a great way for kids to learn, and not even know they are learning! Here are some simple and fun ideas: The Kitchen Pantry Scientist; Discovery Bottles; Fun with Oobleck ; 10 Ways to Amaze the Kids; Elephant Toothpaste; and Housing a Forest. Have some fun (and amaze your kids!)
10. I’m Bored! Jar - kids not sure what they want to do? bored with all that free time? starting to get on each other’s nerves? need some fresh ideas? Use the “I’m Bored! Jar” and pick out an idea to do. Sometimes you just needs someone – or something – else to come up with ideas for you.
I am so ready for summer! These are just a few of our exciting plans to keep us just the right amount of busy with some learning, lots of fun, a little on the go, a little relaxed at home, a little something new, and a little something thoughtful. Have a fun and safe summer!