Can you even believe we are talking about summer? This is a bit of a two-fold. If you’re working on Easter Baskets this week, some of these may be great additions! Otherwise, how do we survive the summer? Well, it’s a lot like the rest of the year but we incorporate water and ice where ever we can!
And BUBBLES. We got this great bubble machine and it’s been the best one we’ve gotten yet. Sam frequently gets in on the action too.
Let them dig. If you follow me on social media or you’ve been around a while, you know my children love mud. Along with the Mud Kitchen, they love to just dig. I hate sand. It’s the woooooorst. It’s nature’s glitter. I refuse to have a sand box. Yes, I know. I’m a terrible parent. BUT, you know what’s a great alternative? Pea gravel. These tiny stones are a BLAST to dig in and play with, without having to worry about sand in their eyes or crevices. River rocks are another great option to mix in with pea gravel. Both options are relatively inexpensive and for real, just such a better alternative to sand. I get kitchen utensils from the Dollar Tree, Athena’s preference as she prefers “real” utensils to kiddie things.
Sponges. This bulk pack is a fun option, and they’re big enough to cut in half. Do everything from sponge fights instead of water balloons, create targets with chalk, or any other number of toss-able ideas you can come up with. You too, may have children that find scrubbing things entertaining. Let them scrub the side of the house. I would like to say I’m making that idea up, but last summer my kids definitely did it. Sponges are deceivingly versatile, so don’t blow this one off.
Do you have a local zoo? Like, 30min or less from your house? There is a VERY good chance that they offer memberships. I know, it can feel like a steep up-front investment, but getting Zoo Memberships is hands down one of the best investments we make every year. We do use the girls’ adventure fund for this, and it is worth every single penny. We go to the zoo year round, in most types of weather. Most often we get there very first thing in the morning. We regularly go more than once a week; sometimes planned, others I throw them in the car last minute. It’s a 15-20min drive. That membership has paid for itself at least ten-fold. If you’re fortunate enough to have a zoo or something comparable close by, it’s a HUGE hit.
These soccer nets are the perfect price point for just about any budget. They’re a great size and have held up to our abuse well. The $8 youth soccer ball is a good match too. Hours and hours of entertainment for under $50.
I’d wager you have a garden center near you. Though a Lowes or Home Depot maybe suffice, I mean a REAL plant and garden center. This one may be fairly specific to my own kids, but you’d be amazed by how much they (and you!) can learn walking around a garden center. We have quite a few near us and we stop by at least 1 weekly. We don’t always get anything, but most places you can get a pot of SOMETHING for $2.99, enough to placate a child begging to get a flower. Go walk around. It’s free (or at least cheap) and gets you out of the house.
Corn starch and water, with some added coloring of your choice (food coloring, grated chalk, natural dyes etc…) make cheap and easy paint for your sidewalk or driveway.
Speaking of corn starch, if you get a plastic baby pool, a box of corn starch and some water makes a GIANT Ooblek party. Unlike sand, the corn starch very easily washes off and washes away from both tiny humans and your yard. It also won’t hurt your yard, flowers, or pets. Plastic baby pools work as a ball pit, but you could fill it with anything from fake leaves/flowers, pom-poms, or any other filling you can think of. Don’t feel beholden to using it as a POOL.
Don’t overlook some of your “trash” either. Two of Athena’s most favorite activities are technically recycling. The first is creating her own flower arrangement. I draw a vase on a piece of cardboard, she gets to color it in. I poke some holes and she gets to go around the yard creating with what she can find.
The second is with egg cartons and a bit of paint. Similar concept, you paint the inside cups of the egg carton various colors. Then send them out to find items in nature that match the color.
What are some of your favorite cheap, free, & easy summer activities?
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