Tuesday, June 3

Summer FUN for Little Ones!

I remember the days when my children were little ones. They are all grown now and off exploring the world on their own. There was a time though, as a young mother, when it was a challenge to fill the long hot days of summer. Keeping the young minds of my children entertained, and our bodies cool in the Texas heat, was not always easy. If you are lacking for ideas, I hope this little list will bring you a bit of inspiration. Try at least a few new things this summer, your children will enjoy the variety. ENJOY!
  • Pick your own...whatever. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, etc., and get picking.
  • Play outside in the rain. Smell the rain on the pavement; splash in puddles; make mud pies.
  • Make your own rain. Douse everyone with the hose or sprinkler.
  • Take family naps or daily quiet time. Parents SO need this!
  • Cook out...frequently. Go beyond the burgers. Try veggies or fish. The kids might like them!
  • Make "smores." Chocolate + toasted marshmallow + graham cracker + SMASH = summer!
  • Camp out. First-timers, try backyard camping.
  • Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.
  • Stargaze.
  • Catch lightening bugs. And then watch them flicker away into the night.
  • Rearrange the furniture in your children's rooms. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first.
  • Make your own pizza. 
  • Invite friends over for a game night. Have a kids' games table and an adult one too.
  • See an air show.
  • Stop to smell the flowers - go to a botanical garden.
  • Talk to the animals - go to the zoo.
  • Get wet - go to a water park.
  • Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
  • Play a card game. Maybe crazy eights, go fish or spoons. Take your pick.
  • Play a board game. Candyland, checkers or Monopoly, depending on age and inclination.
  • Make good use of nearby parks. Go to your local parks website, print the schedule of activities and tape it to the refrigerator.
  • Pack a picnic. And plop down to eat it just about anywhere, at a free concert, in a state park or in your own backyard.
  • Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out not-permanent colors or braids. Or maybe a spiked look.
  • Dig in the sand at the beach. Doesn't matter if it's on the ocean, lake or bay.
  • Set a goal and complete a home project. Find ways to let the kids help.
  • Take early morning walks and look for birds. Choose the right field guide.
  • Grow vegetables. And then eat them.
  • Grow flowers. And then arrange them.
  • Let the kids cook dinner. In fact, make a tradition of it.
  • Host the kids' friends for a sleepover. 
  • Go to a nearby museum that you've never been to before.
  • Go to a carnival or county fair. Eat cotton candy, fried dough or something really bad once this summer.
  • Decorate your walkways with colored chalk.
  • Take a hike. Choose a route near your house or take a drive to a more distant park.
  • Plant a butterfly garden. Watch the butterflies flutter by.
  • Make fresh lemonade. Maybe even sell it at a lemonade stand!
  • Take road trip to a nearby city. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip.
  • Show the kids science is fun. Try a few experiments.
  • Go to a matinee. Find a bargain movie houses and pay less.
  • Go to the drive-in. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
  • Read a book aloud.
  • Teach the kids a game you haven't played since you were a kid. Hop scotch or jacks?
  • Meet friends at the playground. Not groundbreaking, but always popular nonetheless.
  • Visit a historic house. Kids will be amazed at what the old-timers lived without.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Use bikes as a mode of transit. Show the kids the way to the store or a friend's house.
  • Go fishing. In many states kids can drop a line in without a license.
  • Paddle a kayak or a canoe.
  • Jump rope.
  • Press summer flowers. Make a pressed flower picture.
  • String beads. Beading for kids can be as simple or complex as you choose.
  • Blow bubbles. 
  • Play miniature golf. 
  • Eat at the counter of a diner. And let the kids spin on the stools.
  • Find a new place to play. Easy idea: Clear out the basement or garage, great for rainy days.
  • Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project.
  • Master a new skill together. Learn to juggle, play harmonica, do the hula hoop, etc.
  • Build a fort. Try pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard.
  • Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark and leaves in a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
  • Write/illustrate a comic book. 
  • Find a free concert near you.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Run in the yard. Kickball, wiffle ball, Frisbee and tag will keep you moving.
  • Visit a local farmers market. And feast on the fruits and veggies of the season.
  • Play with clay. Then bake your creations to make them permanent.
  • Make paper airplanes. See whose goes the farthest.
  • Have everyone write in a journal. At the end of the summer share selections with each other about the highlights of the season.
  • Teach the kids to skip stones.
  • Take lessons together. Cooking, tennis, music, art, etc.
  • Play croquet on the lawn. And try bocci too.
  • Set up a badminton net. You could use it for volleyball too.
  • Play HORSE. With little ones, set up a mini basketball net next to the real one.
  • Create a treasure hunt for kids. Do it on your own property or around town.
  • Erect a bird feeder. And then watch the show from your window.
  • Join a Junior Ranger program. Both national parks and many state parks have them.
  • See a dramatic performance together. Doesn't matter if it's a puppet show in the park or a touring Broadway show.
  • Put on your own dramatic performance. Write a script, sew costumes or just do a little improv.
  • Play charades.
  • Break out the family movies. And the popcorn too!
  • Go to a flea market or garage sale. 
  • Have a garage sale. Kids can earn spending money by selling their old stuff.
  • Climb trees together. Of course, only if the kids are big enough, and you are brave enough.
  • Get a book of riddles. See if you can stump each other.
  • Keep your kitchen cool. Make no-bake cookies.
  • Take bike rides for fun. Either leave from your own house or drive to biking trails.
Whatever you do, stop and take the time to enjoy your children and your family as a whole. I can not stress how quickly it all goes by and before you know it your babies are grown and gone! Hug them tight, make some lasting memories and have a wonderful summer!

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  1. I have 2 little ones, so thanks so much for this list. I will definitely be borrowing some ideas from it.

  2. Summer time picnics are my favorite! :D

  3. Picnics are my faves too, especially romantic ones!!