Hi there! My name is Misty Blue and I blog over at usandhim.com. I am a 29 year old Canadian mom to a beautiful little two year old (tomorrow, actually!) named Brynn. The beautiful Jess Oakes has been so courteous as to offer me the chance to guest post on her blog, and I am SO excited to be here. I hope you like this post, and please feel free to come find me on Facebook or Instagram – I love to meet new friends.
Summer break sneaks up quickly, and seemingly just as quickly, kids who are now home all day become bored. “Mooooooom”, they whine. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you understand this pain all too well. If you work outside of the house like me, you likely hate hearing it on your days off. It’s not easy to come up with fun and creative things to do every day for your kids without shelling out a boatload of cash. However, sometimes even the simplest ideas can be the most fun. Check out my list of 10 fun and free things to do with your kids this summer!
1. EXPLORE // Go For a Hike
You can do this in your neighbourhood, or head to the nearest trails. Either way, going for a hike is a great way to spend your day. You can even pack a picnic! We live with a lake and trails practically in our backyard. Even as an adult I love to get lost in the woods for a few hours and just explore and marvel at nature’s beauty. When I was a kid I would head out into the bush and just wander. Children are curious by nature and exploring is fun, but if you want to sweeten the deal, give Geocaching a try! Geocaching is a big treasure hunt. All you need is a GPS enabled device (you can use your phone), and something to leave in place of the treasure you discover. People leave things like notes, small presents, books, etc. for others to find and provide the co-ordinates/location of the container/item. Then it is free for anyone to find! Once you find it, you replace it with something else. You and your child could make a craft to leave for someone, and include a note about it. It’s a LOT of fun! Don’t forget your pirate hat.
2. BAKE // Make (+ EAT!) Some Treats
Baking is messy and FUN. Children learn to create something, and are rewarded at the end with a delicious treat. Baking teaches them about math, food, and patience. Have your child pick a treat they’d like to make and spend the day together baking. Let them help wherever they can – depending on their age this could be a little or a lot, but it’s still a great learning experience either way. Have them time the cooking, and teach them about how to check if their treat is done. Once it IS done, let them cool a little, and enjoy! And there’s a bonus… If you have too many left over you can go on a little trip to visit some family or friends and take the treats – what a lovely gift!
3. VEG OUT // Have a Movie Day
Grab all of your blankets and pillows and make a comfy fort with a great view of the TV. Pop some popcorn and put it into a big bowl. Do NOT change out of your PJs. Got all of that done? Perfect – now take your popcorn and bunker down in your fort. Pick some family friendly movies or shows and just relax. Sound like child’s play? That’s because IT IS. Your child(ren) will love nothing more than to see their hard working, busy parent(s) take some time to just be lazy and watch TV with them. They LOVE to just spend time with you, so enjoy every second.
4. CREATE // Have an Art Attack
Got an old top sheet lying around? Perfect. Head to the backyard and tie it to the fence. Then grab paint brushes, sticks, rags, sponges, and anything else you can think of to paint with – and don’t forget the paint. Then let the kids go to town! Splatters. Dabs. Writing. Hand prints. You name it, they can do it with that big blank canvas, and it will be so much fun. Don’t have a big sheet lying around? No big deal. Hop onto Pinterest for some smaller scale craft ideas and get out the craft supplies. The crafting opportunities are endless.
5. READ // Visit the Library
I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to the library before I had Brynn, but I remember that whenever I would go, I would be there for hours, just reading anything and everything. And once you have a child it’s even more fun because you get to play with all the toys, read books to them and make funny voices, learn about things, play games.. Our library even puts on free shows. All the stuff you did at the library as a child, you get to do it again. Then you borrow more books than you can carry, get home, and read even more! And it’s all FREE (as long as you take those books back on time)!
6. SPLASH // Get Wet and Wild
You can do this in a couple of different ways. One way is to visit your local splash pad. We LOVE splash pads because they have no admission fee and there’s almost always other kids there for Brynn to play with. It’s a fantastic way to cool of in the summer. The second way you can do this is to make your own little water park in your backyard. Fill up the kiddie pool, make a slip n’ slide (with this amazing and easy tutorial), and turn on the sprinkler. Invite the neighbour’s kids over, too – the more the merrier. Making the slip n’ slide might cost some money if you don’t have those tools at home, but ask your neighbours first!
7. BUBBLES // Go Bubble Crazy
Bust out the bubbles OR, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, make your own GIANT bubble blowers with some sticks, string, dish soap, and water! Find out how here – it’s SO easy. You can even find a bubble machine for cheap – we got one for Brynn for her birthday party at Walmart, and it was only $10. Since we already own it we can go bubble crazy for free, but I highly recommend buying one – they’re a blast and kids don’t ever seem to tire of bubble mania. Seriously, they can go for HOURS. Which means, as a mom to a toddler who can’t yet blow her own bubbles, I am blowing bubbles all day and night. Thank goodness they’re FUN, plus you can take some pretty adorable photos of your kids and their giant bubbles.
8. CAMP // Backyard Campground
Set up a tent in your back yard. Make a fire (if your city zoning permits you to). Grab the flashlights, sleeping bags, and pillows, and head to your campground. Tell scary stories. Make s’mores (here’s how to make them inside if you aren’t allowed to have a fire). Stargaze. Enjoy each other’s company. Then drift off the sleep under the moon. Camping is great, and it’s even better when you can run inside to use the running water or bathroom, isn’t it?
9. CLEAN // Time to Purge
SAY WHAT? You probably think I’m NUTS to put ‘CLEAN’ down as a fun and free activity to do with kids this summer, but hear me out. Cleaning underneath your bed, in your closets, and in your toy boxes is something we all avoid until it absolutely MUST be done. Right? So you likely have a ton of excess clothing, toys, knick knacks, and odds and ends that you and your kids don’t want anymore. Why not gather them up and have a garage sale? Teach them the value of earning money! OR gather them up and donate them. Teach them the value of donating to those who are less fortunate than us. Even doing something so simple as putting on some fun music, cranking up the volume, and handing them a mop.. I don’t know about you, but as a kid I LOVED to help my mom, and if she cranked the tunes and made it fun I couldn’t resist. And my toddler loves to sweep and put things away. In no time the house will be spotless and you will all sleep like babies. Well, except for the babies!
Can you think of another fun and free activity to do with kids this summer? I’d LOVE to hear about it in the comments, especially if it involves cool things I can make. Let me know!