Hey Moms and Dads! Hey Grandmas and Papas! Hello babysitters and keepers-of-kids during the long, summer days! If you’re anything like us, this summer is in full-swing. The kids are thrilled, excited, wearing-me out and obviously not going back to school anytime soon. “The days are long but the years are short” comes to my mind these days. I thought it would be fun to throw some easy and cheap ideas out there to keep the little rascals out of trouble while making the most of some sweet, summertime memories!
I sat down with my girls (10 and 7) and compiled a list of a few things that they like to do outside. Rain or shine, most days we try to get outdoors as often as possible; and the good thing about this warm summer air is that unless it’s storming, you can still enjoy the great outdoors – right in your own backyard or neighborhood.
I stress the importance of letting kids get sweaty, dirty and wearing themselves plum-out so they sleep like the little angels that we all know they are when they aren’t bickering with their siblings every five minutes. (Am I right?) Without further ado, here’s a handful of ideas to take outside with your littles and start making some memories today. And don’t forget: just because you’ve done these once doesn’t mean you can’t do them over and over all summer. Kid’s are pretty ok with repetition – and it sure beats all that over stimulating screen time!
1. Have the kids grab 3-5 of their favorite action figures. This could be dinosaurs, barbies, superheroes…even toy trucks or cars. With chalk ready, place the figure in front of the kids on the ground with the sun behind them. The sun will cast a shadow over the toy. The children can trace their figure and color them in. Create a scene! Fill up your driveway or sidewalk with art!
2. Here’s another idea that we loved when I was a single mom. This idea actually happened thanks to our Covid lockdown! As happy as I am those stuck-at-home days are done – these were the moments we were able to show love to our neighbors; they enjoyed it as much as we did! Grab the kids and a chalk bucket. Pick a few neighbors that you think will benefit from a sweet surprise. Write a sweet message on their driveway or sidewalk in chalk with just a few pictures! Example: “You are loved!” “Have a beautiful day!” “Happy Summer!” And spread some rainbows, sunshine and flowers around your neighborhood with chalk. This is a great, free way to build kids self-awareness of others. Who knows, you might wake up to a surprise on your sidewalk or driveway one day too!
3. Scavenger hunts are all the rage at my house. You can find print-outs online if you want to get fancy, or you make a simple list of your own and hand them out to the kids! Make it long if you want it to last with older kids, or make it short and sweet for the little ones in your life. The best thing about this is you can do it inside, outside, in the car, around town or even on vacation! Here’s a few ideas of things to look for: coins, clouds that have shapes, letters on signs, colors of cars, numbers on houses, license plates from other states.. the list goes on!
4. Play in the rain! Rain doesn’t always have to be a bummer. If it isn’t storming, take those kids outside and let them splash! If you don’t want to get wet, be sure to grab umbrellas and boots before you head out! A good rain puddle Never disappoints and can entertain kids for an hour! Some of my best memories are letting my girls run in and out of puddles. Just maybe you’ll end up enjoying that rain as much as the kids!
5. One more favorite thing of ours every summer is a lemonade stand. This one might be a little more work, but from recent experience I can tell you local dollar stores carry everything you need from pitchers to lemonade mix and cups – all extremely cheap. Have the kids help you measure and mix. Set up a stand, and greet your neighbors with a smile. Is there a little something your kiddo wants to buy at the store they were just shopping at? This is the best way to teach them the value of hard work and the value of a dollar! Let them work and let them shop. Unlike most adults, kids love to spend their hard-earned money and won’t think twice about picking up that new action figure at the local dollar store.
And then? The cycle can begin all over with a chalk drawing of the new figure they earned from their lemonade stand! You’re welcome!
Summer is full of endless possibilities and memories in the making. If you have any ideas you would like to contribute to Pregnancy Help Center for our moms of littles feel free to share! We hope you soak up every ray of sunshine this summer and make the most of these moments with your precious little ones! HAPPY SUMMER!