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Summer is Here!
Summer is officially here! Even though I stay at home with the boys, there is still something special about summertime actually being here. Vacations, family, and friends all come to mind as just a few of the exciting things to come, however, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns all the time.
Keeping the Kids Busy
I have said for awhile now that I totally have James pegged as to what kind of student he will be. He is going to be the kid that if he is finished with what he is supposed to be doing and you don’t give him something else to do besides read or free time, he’s going to be in trouble. God bless his teachers. Really. They’re on my permanent prayer list.
I know this because the same is true at home. If he is not kept busy, trouble is only a second away. This could be anything from playing in the “baby proofed” cabinets to hitting his brother to jumping off the tables or more. Yesterday, I went to change brother’s diaper and came back to a room that smelled like Febreeze. James was sitting nicely in his chair with a very innocent look. He calls Febreeze “spray,” so I asked him why he sprayed. He very matter of factly told me because it stunk in here. Insert mega eye roll. I guess I should give him bonus points for having everything put back up before I made it back into the room. I guess he thought I’d never notice.
Trying to keep him busy every second of the day can be exhausting because let’s get real, who can plan something every minute of every day to keep their children entertained? Not this girl. If you know someone that can, please give me their info.
Summer Activities to do at Home
Of course we look forward to the big, fun adventures we have planned, but the majority of the time, we are at home per the norm. This means I have to be prepared to entertain the little ones at the house, so I’ve come up with a few, inexpensive or free activities you can do with your kids at home this summer. Not only are these ideas great because they’re cheap and easy, but they’re also great because you can do them with your kids regardless of their age.
1. Have a picnic in your backyard or at a park. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle of loading both kids into the car to go to the park for Weston to simply put all of the litter in his mouth. In turn I have a slight anxiety attack thinking of all the diseases he just contracted, so we opted for our backyard on this one.
2. Make ice cream in a bag. This one is so fun! The boys and I have done this several times, and it never seems to get old. The great thing is nine times out of ten, I have the ingredients/materials I need already on hand, which makes this an easy impromptu activity. There are so many different recipes out there, but they all pretty much consist of the same ingredients. I have been using this one. I will say that it calls for rock salt, but I have been using kosher salt instead because I didn’t have any rock salt.
3. Play water balloon basketball. We have a toddler basketball goal which is perfect for this activity. Simply fill a bunch of water balloons and pretend they’re basketballs. Kids always love water balloons! If you have more than one child, have one sit under the basketball goal so the balloon will pop on them, which of course, they love because they get wet. It could just turn into a water balloon fight, which is always fun too!
4. Paint outside. So originally, I had it set up for my kids to finger paint outside, but they quickly decided it was much more fun to body paint. I didn’t care because while yes, it was messy, it kept them entertained! Since I had everything set up on a tarp, it was an easy clean up. I just hosed them down, which of course they loved! It then turned into a slip and slide which you can read about in my next activity.
5. Grab a tarp and make a slip and slide. If you have an actual slip and slide, that obviously is great too, but I’m all about using what you have, and we don’t have one, so I grabbed an old tarp. I sprayed in down with water, put the sprinkler on top of it, and the boys had a blast. This kept them occupied for a good 45 minutes, which for a one and two year old, that is AMAZING! We’ve done this a few times, and it never disappoints. I will say I made the mistake of adding soap the last time to make it a little more slippery. If your kids aren’t old enough to figure out how to keep the soap out of their eyes, don’t. do. this. Just trust me. They also thought it was necessary to put all of their toys on there with them, but hey, who cares? Time off the clock, remember?
6. Play in the sprinkler. You can always forgo the tarp completely and just have your kids run through the sprinkler. I remember doing this all the time with my sisters in the backyard. Seriously y’all, kids love anything that will get them wet and dirty, so this is an easy one that is sure to take some time off that clock of keeping them busy all day long.
7. Plant flowers! We took a trip to Lowe’s the other day, and I let James pick out a packet of flower seeds he wanted to plant. I already had a pot to plant them in, so the only other thing we needed was a small bag of potting soil. I had the boys help me plant them this week, and we get to water them daily. This is always a great way to teach them responsibility and how to take care of things. James has asked me every day where his flowers are, so the only downside to planting the actual seeds is that a waiting game is involved. You could always buy some plants that have already bloomed and have your kids do the same process.
8. Make a bird feeder. We seem to have tons of birds in our backyard, and the boys love to watch them. There are so many different ways to make your own bird feeder, but the simplest way is to take an old toilet paper roll, cover it in peanut butter, and stick bird seed to the peanut butter. You’ll either want to attach a string to the toilet paper roll to hang it, or you can simply put the center of the roll through a branch itself and hang it that way. My kids have short attention spans, so I am all about easy, however, if your kids are a little older and better at crafts, this website has LOTS of cool ways to make homemade bird feeders.
9. Make homemade popsicles. My boys are loving popsicles this summer. Of course more of the popsicle melts on them than they actually eat, but they enjoy them nonetheless. Here is a website with tons of homemade popsicle recipes to try. I am excited to try some, as there is an adult popsicle to make to where you add your favorite wine. Mom win!
10. Make treats for those who provide you a service. It is so important to teach our kids to be kind and to think of others. One way to do this is to talk to your kids about those important people that provide you with a service: the postal service, waste management, recycling services, etc. These are just a few that come specifically to our house each week, so they’re easy for my kiddos to associate with. If your kids are older, it would be a great lesson to teach about people that provide products vs. people that provide services. My boys LOVE our mailman, Mr. Jason, so we try to have a treat for him every so often. When we bake cookies, we will put a few in a bag for him as an afternoon treat, or on extra hot days, which seem to be every day here in Houston, we make sure we have a cold bottle of water for him when he comes by our house. James has already gotten to the point where he’ll ask Mr. Jason if he needs some water today, and that makes my heart happy. He’s two and already learning to think of others. I try to do this anytime a repairman is in our house as well. I remember my mom always doing this, and it is something I want to teach my kids too.
Hurricane Cindy is catching up with us this week, so we will have lots of rain which makes these activities difficult. If you’re getting lots of rain too, be sure to check out my Rainy Day Activities post for some indoor fun! I hope you and yours have a fun summer doing some of these activities. What are you doing at home to keep your kids entertained?