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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

65 Free Things for kids to do This Summer Around the House

     Last week I shared with you here why I think its so important to have a daily schedule for your kids during the summer. Part of having a schedule is so that you are intentional about the fun. Too many times I've said, "lets do_________ this summer", only to have it pass on by with nothing coming to fruition. I have great {fabulous, amazing} intentions! In my head I'm an amazing mom who does lots of fun things. {Reality is far from that!}

     I kind of stink when it comes to thinking on the fly when asked that ever popular question, "mom, I'm bored! What can I do?"  Well, not this summer! My stinkin days are a thing of the past!

     Over the past few weeks I have been putting together a list of free things the kids can do for fun around the house. My goal is not to entertain them but to help them entertain themselves, and to give the nanny some ideas too on the days that I'm at work. My kids helped me with this list, and I read through a number of other lists compiled online. This list is somewhat unique in that you don't need money and you can stay at home!

     In no particular order, here they are:

1.  Race bikes {with other neighbor kids or siblings}
2.  Chalk! Play hopscotch, make bike paths, trace each other etc.
3.  Run in the sprinkler/kiddie pool: Bring out play dishes to wash, trucks for a car wash etc.
4.  Play hide and seek inside or out
5.  Squirt gun or water balloon fight
6.  Make chalk paint
7.  Make your own treasure hunt, create a map for the kids or let them do it for their friends
8.  Build a fort {inside or out}: use branches, blankets, picnic furniture, swing set etc.
9.  Go for a walk: give kids a goal of a certain number of birds to spot, flowers to identify, or colors of cars
10. Make paper airplanes
11. Catch bugs, identify them, race them, learn about them online
12. Pillow fight!
13. Read a book: join a book club, set a goal for your kids for the summer with a fun reward at the end
14. Slip and slide!
15. Outdoor sports games: get the neighbor kids to join in
16. Hula hoop: make a competition out of it
17. Make your own movie or video
18. Put on a play
19. Sword fight with swimming noodles
20. Skateboard races: We live on a quiet cul-de-sac so my younger kids will put their helmets on, sit on their skateboards and "race" each other down the driveway. This may not be the best idea depending on where you live.
21. Bird watching: keep a journal and document each species that comes into your yard
22. Swing!
23. Paint rocks
24. Climb a tree
25. Take a nature walk
26. Movie day! Do this on a rainy day. Pop popcorn, make special treats and watch a movie marathon
27. Ghost in the graveyard: this is a tag game that my older kids love to play just as the sun is going down
28. Science experiments: there are tons of websites that have great ideas for easy experiments
29. Keep a summer journal. Each day have your kids write or draw a picture of what they did.
30. Random acts of kindness: encourage them to do something nice for a neighbor
31. Play freeze tag
32. Bake something {better yet, teach basic baking skills to your kids}
33. Bubbles {check out this recipe for bouncing bubbles here}
34. Play with army men in the sandbox
35. Make an obstacle course in the yard
36. Race hot wheels down the driveway
37. Legos {challenge them to come up with specific things}
38. Set up their train set
39. Craft project
40. Playdo or moon sand {make pretend cookies or a full meal}
41. Color {coloring books, self portraits, make encouragement cards for others}
42. Play school
43. Picnic {either in the yard or in the living room on a rainy day}
44. Paint {on paper, or on themselves with non-toxic paint outside with a hose ready!}
45. Make jewelry {use macaroni, cereal, or colored floss}
46. Marshmallow building {use mini-marshmallows and toothpicks~my boys love this!}
47. Sand sculptures in the sandbox. Challenge older ones to builds specific things.
48. Make mazes {use chalk, leaves, sticks, toys, yarn, or even with pencil and paper}
49. Card games and boards games {don't forget about these on those rainy days}
50. Lemon aide stand
51. Thumb wrestle
52. Sew something, or teach your kids basic sewing skills
53. Start a garden
54. Jump rope {teach your kids those jump roping songs you learned when you were little} Try double dutch!
55. Chinese jump rope (these can be easily made out of rubber bands)
56. Tea party {inside or out}
57. Wash the car or bikes {give them a bucket of soapy water and let them have at it!}
58. Watch the clouds {lay out on a blanket for a little down time and look for shapes in the clouds}
59. Neighborhood Olympics: with the Olympics coming up this summer get the kids involved. All it will take is having them watch a few events and they will want to create their own!
60. Talent show
61. Shaving cream fight {probably best for older kids, keep it neck down, and away from vehicle finishes}
62. Make your own marching band
63. Play "I Spy" on a walk around the neighborhood
64. Flashlight tag after dark
65. Hide small items in the sandbox for a treasure hunt

I hope this list is helpful to you! I plan to put these ideas onto slips of paper and put them in a jar. You can always make your own list to post on the fridge too. 

Have fun this summer! I know we will!!! ;)

I'm sharing these ideas here:

DIY by Design 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
House of Hepworths


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