Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer fun - at home

Quick day trips are what make summer months memorable, but it's impossible to take one every day.  What can you do to spice up those other summer days? Here are ten ideas for days when you have to stay home.  Whether its raining, too hot to go out, or you just need a lazy day, these ideas will keep the little ones busy so you don't have to hear the infamous "I'm bored!"  These will also work great for special activities at daycare!


1. Build a fort
This is something that every child needs the opportunity to do, don't you remember building forts? It couldn't be easier, find some large blankets or sheets and let your children use their problem solving skills to put together their very own fort. The best thing about this activity is that it will keep the children busy for hours, and they will love every minute of it.  Extend the activity by having lunch in the fort or pull out some books for quiet reading time in the fort.

2. Bake cookies
This is a great bonding experience with a yummy result.  Even the smallest children can pour measured ingredients into a mixing bowl, so let them help! If it's too hot for the oven then try no bake cookies, I love to make no-bakes with my students because we can do it in an electric skillet, so I don't have to worry about the cookies burning in the oven while I'm in the classroom.

3. Take a back yard camping trip
Let's be honest, camping is tons of fun, but it's a lot of work too, especially with young children.  You can camp in your backyard any time that you want, and all of your children's toys are just a few steps away.  Another plus, if it's raining you can set up the tent in the living room!

4. Get crafty
Every kid loves a good craft, especially if it includes some fun new supplies.  The next time you go to the store pick up some fun stickers, glitter pens, or silly scissors (Michael's and Hobby Lobby almost always have 40% off coupons).  If you are having a Fourth of July bash ask your children to help you create decorations, they will love showing them off to your guests.

5. Set up a movie theater
yes, kids already watch a lot of movies, but some days are really just good movie days, and its ok to veg out every once in a while.  Close the blinds, haul out the blankets and pillows, and pop some popcorn to make it a real theater experience.

6. Turn your yard into a water park
A back yard water park can be just as much fun as the real thing.  Fill up the baby pool, get out the sprinkler, and make some sponge balls (there are tons of other ideas on Pinterest too!). Be prepared for splashes and a lot of screaming. End the experience with some popsicles and you have created the best summer day ever.

7. Play dress up
Pull out some old Halloween costumes and have a dress up day. If you don't have costumes you can still play dress up, let your children try on your clothes, or make paper crowns and magic wands with your craft supplies.  Set up a large mirror so the children can see how fabulous they look.

8. Make a special meal for lunch
I distinctly remember the "special" lunch that we used to beg my mom to make with us, do you want to know what it was? Pizza toast - that's right, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni toasted on a slice of bread.  Kids LOVE simple things, and they will happily eat any lunch that they get to help you make.  Pigs in a blanket are also a great choice!

9. Create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece
Sidewalk chalk is a summer necessity, and there are a ton of different products that can create some really awesome artwork on your driveway. See if your children can cover the entire driveway with their artwork, then give them spray bottles and see what happens when they spray it with water.

10. Build an ice sculpture
Fill up a bunch of different plastic containers with water and freeze them overnight, the next day take the ice out of the containers and use the shapes to build castles, towers, and transformers of course (because that's what my students would build). You could also add food coloring to the containers before freezing so that your sculptures will be colorful.  After your masterpieces have been built, see how long they last before they melt!

Kids love simple things, they have amazing imaginations, and really crave the opportunity to spend quality time with the adults that they love.  All of these ideas are perfect for easy summer fun right at home.

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