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Thursday, May 10, 2012

40 Must Do Summer Activities with Your Kids

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"I'm BORED!"...How many of us hear those 2 dreaded words at some point during the summer? Well, don't worry, I have compiled a list of 40 (that's over 1 MONTH's worth) of activities that you can do with your kids this summer, and the best part, most of them do not cost anything or are VERY inexpensive!

40 Must Do Summer Activities with Your Kids:

1.  Have your own outdoor carnival with games.  You can make your own fun with games like toss the ball or frisbee into the clothes basket, draw a winding bike path with sidewalk chalk on the driveway and ride the scooter on it within "X" amount of time , etc. They can get small prizes for "winning", like small candy, popcicle, etc.

2.  Have a scavenger hunt .  You can either hide things around the house that you can have the kids try to find OR what I prefer is to have a more activity driven hunt where you have a mixture of finding things around the yard/house , but also have them do activities, like "Kick the soccer ball through the cones 20 times each). [See my previous post dd 2/29/12, "Beat the Boredom Scavenger Hunt" for more ideas]

3. Make a chalk masterpiece on the driveway.  Come up with a theme and you can either each add on parts to make one big picture or you can each make your own pictures centered around the same theme to make a grand masterpiece when it's finished!

4. Lie in a hammock and try to identify all of the sounds you hear.  Do you hear birds singing, lawnmowers roaring, dogs barking, etc? It's like Eye Spy...but for your ears :o)

5. Swing on a swing. Yep, it's a simple as that. Take it back to the basics and feel the wind blowing in your hair and see the smile on your child's face as they ask you to push them "Higher!"

6. Make homemade popsicles. You can either get a popsicle maker from the store OR you can just use and ice cube tray (if you still have one of those). We usually use either juice or lemonade, but you could certainly use kool-aide or something of that sort too. A fun way to cool down!

7. Go for a family walk around the neighborhood.  A great way to spend time together as a family, talk about your day AND get some exercise at the same time! Many times our kids like to ride their scooters or bounce a ball along the way, which I think is great!

8. Play a family game of basketball, soccer or wiffle ball. We are a big sports family and as you can tell, like the outdoors, and it certainly does not need to be just one of the 3 suggestions mentioned, but something that you can all participate in as a family as a TEAM activity (4 square or throwing the frisbee around from one to the other would be good too!).

 9. Make cupcakes with your kids and let the them frost and decorate! What kid doesn't like cupcakes...especially ones that THEY helped make? Baking with kids is a great way to not only teach them important things like measurements (teaspoon, cup, etc.), but also how to follow directions...not to mention that it is a great outlet for their creativity when it comes to decorating!

10. Play "store" with your kids. Have them set up a store using items of theirs that they either made or even some of the cupcakes you just created and have them "sell" them to you and each other using REAL money (that you can provide them). Each item can be as little as a penny, nickel, dime, etc. It is a great way to teach them about money and instill and entrepreneurial spirit! My daughter especially thought it was COOL to 'buy' some of her brothers books for a penny each ;o)

11. Write a fiction story together with your kids. You can all agree on a concept to begin with, but then each person takes turns adding on parts until it is complete. You will be amazed at your wonderful (and sometimes silly) creation! When finished, you can then type it up and they can add the illustrations.  It is a great way for the kids to use their imagination and what a great keepsake for your family!

12. Have a picnic dinner in the living room. Lie out a large blanket or old comforter and serve only finger foods (i.e. sausage, cheese, crackers, apple slices, broccoli, banana chips, etc.) and serve drinks in cups with lids or water bottles. We have done this several times, but my kids STILL get giddy every time we do this!

13. Have a family movie night! We try to have these every Friday night if possible and it gives the kids something to look forward to all week long. Make it complete with popcorn, Dip n Dots or some type of treat! Oh, and don't forget the dim lighting!

14. Set up different art stations throughout the kitchen (or living room or basement). Have a "foam sticker station", a "coloring station", a "playdough station", etc. Have them stretch their creativity!

15. Go to at least one local festival or picnic. Play games, get some treats (popcorn, funnel cake, cotton candy, etc.), and maybe even attend a parade if their is one. What a fun experience for kids to have!

16. Run through the sprinkler with the kids! On a hot day, what could be more fun?

17. Make a Lego masterpiece. Make sure to take a picture of your child with their completed work of art!

18. Teach your child how to make a pie. Besides the fact that the finished product is yummy to eat, making a pie is a basic item that everyone should learn how to make at some why not now? I will tell you that the sense of accomplishment that my son got out of making his very own pie was out of this world!

19. Create a family band. You can use either real or made up instruments (buckets, pots, pans, spoons, we learned, ANYTHING can become an instrument!). Create a song, perform it and even record it so you can watch your family "music video" about memories! [Disclaimer: no "real" musical talent necessary LOL]

20. Have a dance party in the living room. Crank up the music and put your inhibitions aside!

21. Create magazine art. Give the kids a stack of magazines, some safety scissors, tape and a large piece of paper and have them cut out and create a picture filled with all of their "favorite things."

22. Take a trip to the library. Yes, this one may seem like an obvious choice for the summer, however, I challenge you to utilize some of the many multi-media resources that they have available there (the library has SO much more than books these days). Oh, and don't forget to sign your kids up for the Summer Reading Program!

23. Make a tent out of blankets. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want to make it! Get in there with them and use that as the reading nook or pretend and play house.

24. Go roller skating. Hit the rink and lace up those skates...yes, YOU need to get out there with them! If you fall, hey, that's okay. That will just show your child that adults are not "perfect" at everything either! [I will admit that I was probably just as excited to get out on the rink with my old skates as my kids were to go skating LOL]

25.  Have a water balloon / water gun fight. Some summer days just beg for water play, so what better way to stay cool?

26. Wash the car together. Besides that fact that this is cheap labor {wink}, let the kids put on their bathing suits and get wet while doing it...they will have a blast getting not only the car, but each other (and likely YOU) wet!

27.  Sit outside and look at the stars together. See if you can spot any constellations (Little/Big Dipper, etc.) or shooting stars. Also, look at the it a full moon, half moon, etc?

28. Play out in the rain. Obviously make sure that there is no lightening first, but if all is clear, enjoy the nice summer would not believe how much kids love doing this!  Of course, my kids try to "drink" the rain ;o)

29. Have a crazy hair fashion show. Pull out the gel and see what kind of funny hairdos you can come up with...there are guaranteed to be many laughs! Make sure that you take your turn love to see parents let their hair down (pun intended) ;o)

30. Take a trip to the zoo. Make a list ahead of time of which animals everyone REALLY wants to see and make a point to see all of them!

31. Play Eye Spy while eating dinner. This is a regular occurance for us. There is only so long that you can talk about what you did that day at school/work, so this is another fun activity to do while eating. Each person takes turns selecting something within viewing distance and everyone else takes turns guessing whtat the item may be. [sorry, no photo for this one]

32. Have the kids help you plant flowers. It's not only a great way to get help with this cumbersome task ;o), but it also gives them ownership of trying to take care something. They are then much more apt to offer to help water the flowers before school in the morning, etc.

33. Have a campout in the backyard. Pitch a tent, pull out the sleeping bags, air mattress, flashlights,  and whatever else you feel you need to make it fun. The kids can play in the tent throughout the day and then come evening, it's time to become one with the outdoors!

34. Make s'mores on the barbeque grill. This one goes hand in hand with #33 in my can't have a campout without s'mores! What a yummy way to end a night under the stars!

35. Make shrinky dinks with your kids. This is a flashback to my childhood and it was SO much fun to color them however we wanted and watch the magic happen through the oven door as they shrunk before our eyes! Do something fun like turn them into bracelets, keychains, etc.

36. Make homemade pizzas. Let the kids each make their own down to flattening out the dough, spreading the sauce and adding the toppings. WARNING: this will be messy, but oh SO worth it!

37. Attend a local or professional baseball game. Nothing screams summer like a day at the ballpark! Whether it's a local team or a professional team, take the kids to experience the fun of being at the park...and don't skimp on the refreshments! ;o)

38. Have a silly face photo shoot with your kids.  Practice your happy face, sad face, angry face, etc. Don't be afraid to let your hair down and look a little goofy!

39. Let each child pick dinner for a night. Then have them help prepare and serve it! You will be amazed at how AWESOME the food will taste to them after THEY have helped make it!

40. Bake something for a neighbor. Make something for a neighbor (muffins, cookies, etc.) "just becuase" and then have your kids go with you to deliver them. It is a great way to teach them the trait of giving and generosity!

I hope you have fun trying out all of these ideas with your kids this summer...and try to come up with a few new ones of your own too. One thing is guaranteed...memories WILL be made! :o)