As summer break quickly approaches, moms and dads, grandparents, and caregivers everywhere are getting nervous brainstorming ideas for fun and inexpensive ways to keep kids busy all summer long. Over my many years of parenting, I’ve learned a few things about kids and summer fun. First, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun with your kids. Secondly, it usually involves something you can find in your own home. Kids really do enjoy the simplest of activities, especially when they get to do with you. Here are a few tried and true activities I’ve enjoyed with my kids through the years:
Sand Sculpture Contest: Go to a nearby beach or lake with the kids, and challenge each of the kids to build a sand sculpture of a fun animal or creature, such as, a turtle or a unicorn. Or they can make sand mermaids out of each other. What kid doesn’t like to get buried in the sand once and awhile?
S’mores & Story Time Under the Stars: Plan a night to tell stories and cook s’mores over an outdoor pit, either at a park or in your own backyard. Tell the kids all about your childhood and the fun things you used to do when you were their age!
Roller Blading or Biking: Take the kids to a nearby boardwalk or concrete walking path for an afternoon of roller blading or biking. They will love chasing after each other and having mini races!
Waterpalooza: Go to a local store and stock up on water balloons and water guns for an afternoon of water fun with the kiddos! Start off with a game of water balloon toss, where each person is paired up with a partner and everyone has to toss the water balloon back and forth at the same time, taking a step back after each toss. The pair that keeps their water balloon from breaking the longest wins a small prize!
Beach i-Spy: Take the kids for a walk on the beach and play i-Spy throughout the duration of your trek. It will help your little ones really take notice of their surroundings and spark their interest in nature!
Catch a Movie in the Park: Most towns across the US offer free movies in the park over the course of the summer. Pack a blanket and picnic basket with popcorn, snacks, and drinks. Kick back and relax while taking in a family movie. And don’t forget the bug spray.
Host an Old Fashioned Lemonade Stand: Whether you make fresh squeezed or Country Time lemonade, kids love a good lemonade stand and the neighbors usually can’t resist. Make it more meaningful by using the collected funds to donate to a local charity.
Paint Pet Rocks: This simple activity is so much fun for kids. Grab a few river rocks from your garden or landscaping, give them a good bath and paint away. Once the paint dries, add some googly eyes and a magic marker mouth, then give your new pet a name.
Glow-in-the-dark Bubbles: This little summer activity never gets old. At dusk, take a glow bracelet, wand, or necklace, carefully cut off the end and pour the contents into a container of bubbles. Give each kid a bubble wand and watch in amazement as the bubbles float into the darkness while glowing in the dark.
Neighborhood Nature Hunt: A fun nature hunt doesn’t have to take place in a special nature preserve, look no further than your own backyard. You can find a good nature hunt to print off online or make up your own. Include such items as a rock, feather, stick, bug, leaf, and flower.
Enjoy Your Summer!
Parenting Expert and father of 7, Robert Nickell (aka Daddy Nickell) offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddy & Co., delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel for every stage of fatherhood, and the Daily Daddy Blog. He is also the creator and producer of “My Life as a Dad,” the groundbreaking new web series that showcases celebrity fathers offering their personal experiences and parenting tips.