Easy Kids’ Activities for Summer Survival
Every parent of young children has heard the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored.” Those simple words can strike fear into the hearts of the most experienced parents.
Keeping the kids busy during the long, hot days of summer is a special challenge. Without the routine of school, the days stretch out into endless bouts of bickering and whining.
I’ve raised three children, so I know of what I speak. And I was a teacher, so I was the one in charge every summer for over a decade.
I know that both parental survival and kids’ happiness depend on finding ways to keep busy when the heat is on. With that thought in mind, I have compiled a list of activities to fill some of those long, empty hours.
Arts and Crafts
While artistic expression can be messy, it’s also a wonderful way to harness children’s natural creativity. Some quick and easy ideas are listed here.
1. Coffee Filter art.
Simple paper coffee filters are a fabulous material for art. Toddlers and preschoolers just color on the filters with markers, and then spray them with water. The result is a beautiful tie-dye effect that can be shaped into butterflies, flowers, or bowties. For older children, with better motor control, the filters can be used to make colorful paper dancers. The best part is that these materials are inexpensive, easy to find and not particularly messy.
2. Texture Rubbings
Children love to collect things. This easy art project taps into that interest. Give each child a small container and send them outside to find objects that feel interesting to touch and hold. When they come back, let them spread out their finds. Now give each child a charcoal pencil or soft marker and place a piece of tracing paper over each stone, stick, leaf or seashell. As the kids rub each object, a pattern will appear.
3. Paint With Chalk
This is an easy way to get the kids outdoors while letting them make a nice mess. We save old bits of sidewalk chalk and then grind them up into powder (this part is fun for the kids, too!) Add a bit of water and hand out some brushes. Let them decorate your driveway, walk, porch or even the grass. Mother nature will clean it up for you!
Cooking With Kids
1. Ice Cream
Easy, delicious and cool. Add some sprinkles and you win the day. If you have an ice cream machine, simply follow the directions and let the kids do the pouring and stirring. If you don’t, this blog by David Lebovitz has an easy and fun way to make delicious ice cream with your kids.
2. Getting Fruity
Fresh fruit is delicious, and kids enjoy cutting it up and arranging it. Give each child a bowl and put out some peaches, berries, bananas, melon….whatever appeals. Let each child chop, slice and arrange the fruits in their own dish. Now: get out some fresh, cold heavy cream and let them take turns with a wire whisk. When it turns into whipped cream, you’re ready to kick back and enjoy.
Clean Up This Mess!
This one is a personal favorite. I save boxes, packages, wrapping paper, etc in one section of my basement. When the kids get bored, I set them free down there with masking tape, markers, and scissors. Tell them they can have it all. Depending on what they decide to build, this activity can fill more than one day.
The key to happiness in the summer is keeping the kids engaged and busy. Let them create. Encourage them to do things for themselves. Good luck and have fun!
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