School has been out for a while now (at least it feels that way!) and I must say, there are always mixed feelings when summer time rolls around!
Of course, it’s great to have the kids at home, they love the break from school, and it’s always fun to get wet and dirty outside AND inside for 3 months straight! 🙂
And yet…there are also the moments when I just don’t think I can take hearing another episode of “My Little Pony”, or stop the boys fighting AGAIN, or drag the tweens out of bed in the early afternoon (they’re heavy!) FOR.THE.LAST.TIME!
To combat this
annoying. aggravating, amusing and adorable behavior, before summer began (OK, it was a little bit afterwards! OK OK I just finished putting it together!) I made a list of things to do during the summer and divided it into 6 categories:
1) Inside activities
2) Outside activities
3) Quiet activities
4) Arts and crafts
5) Science experiments
6) Fun foods to make
I’ve made a firm and binding commitment to myself, which I’m happy to say I’ve kept quite well so far this summer: Don’t do more than 1 (big-ish) thing per day! Yup. Haven’t broken that commitment yet!
The way it works for us is we have 5 week days where we do 1 activity on the summer bucket list per day, Saturday is our clean up the house so-we-don’t-get-kicked-out-of-the-neighborhood-day, (Kids: GROAN! Mom: FINALLY!) and Sunday daddy is here so that’s our summer surprise day! (What will it be? Movies? The lake? The park? Who knows?SURPRISE!)
Some of the activities are things the kids can do on their own, such as the quiet activities. By the way, the quiet activities are for the times when it’s not their turn to play games or watch TV, we are not eating, outside, doing their chores, or doing an activity. They can choose from one of the quiet activities to fill up their time.
I’ve broken the 5 days of the week into 5 activity slots as follows:
Monday–Arts and crafts
Tuesday–Make fun food
Wednesday–Inside games and activities
Friday–Outside games and activities
Of course, this is just a basic guide and we are very “bendy” and “flexible”, but it’s nice to have something to look to so we don’t end up with “summer’s block!” And naturally, the kids play outside everyday, and we got them a bunch of equipment to keep them occupied, such as a badminton set, a basketball and hoop, a volleyball, a kiddy golf set, jumping ropes, a frisbee, football and soccer ball, bubbles, sprinkler…and more!
As you can see, keeping 8 kids between the ages of 1 and 14 (the 16 year old has a summer job) is LOTS.OF.FUN!
OK so here is the list I made–some categories have a lot, and some not that many. We’ll see what we get around to!
Inside activities and games:
- Make a cardboard box maze inside your living room and have races
- Write and illustrate a story or make story stones and make up a story as you go
- Pillow fight
- Stay up all night and watch the sunrise
- Paper ball war
- Mini marshmallow poppers
- Paper planes and with straws
8. Treasure hunt at night with the lights off and using flashlights
9. Home game night (charades, 20 questions, eye spy, guess the character, 4 in a row, etc.) Here is a great file with tons of ideas for family game night Family question and answer night. See here for some neat question ideas. Fun and some meaningful too!
10. Camp inside! Watch a movie in your home made tent. Read stories with a flashlight.
11. Play Twister
12. Make your own board games! Here are some free printable board game templates!
Arts and crafts:
2. Make your own games and toys! Here are a few ideas—
3. Puffy Paint
12. Water color jelly fish (video!)
13. Q-tip painting
14. Dream catcher
16. Pressing flowers
17. No paint brush painting. Ideas: sponge, halved lemons, diced potatoes, credit cards, toothbrush, comb, marshmallows, small blown up balloons, leaves, twigs, bubble wrap, potato masher, whisk, fork, cookie cutters, toilet paper tubes–the list is endless!
- Make a tornado in a bottle
- Make your own catapult with box, or with popsicle sticks (extra fun marshmallow treat too!)
- Tower of doom with raw egg
- Homemade flubber
- Dancing cornstarch oobleck (with video!)
- Tiny bows and arrows
- Find the hidden pictures/find the difference
- Color by number
- Play dough/moon dough
- Read through a series or novel. Click here for free children’s classics for kindle. (Note: If you don’t have a kindle, there is free software you can download on to your computer which enables you to read kindle files)
- Easy Paper folding for kids, Darth Vader, Yoda finger puppet, Ninja star (Just some of my kids’ favorites)
- Girls: have a tea party with popcorn and lemonade
- Card games (stacking, spoons, Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy 8s, Skip-Bo
- Interesting coloring: Vintage “I Spy” coloring page, ridiculously cute animals, unique and plain awesome coloring pages for kids and teens at doodle art alley. Check it out! Other fun coloring pages are:
11. Printable mazes
- Fly a kite
- Float home made boats 1 and 2
- Do some community service (make cards and deliver to the elderly, for example)
- Plant and maintain a garden
- Mail letters to friends and family
- Play sidewalk chalk games Click here, here, here and here for some great ideas!
- Water balloon catch
- Water games—Check out this site for some fun water play ideas for kids (and adults!)
- Treasure hunt
- Scavenger hunt 1 and 2
- Relay races
- Home made ring toss from pool noodles
- Play with marbles and jacks
- Water guns and targets
- Ice eggs and ice targets with water guns and ice excavation sensory bins
- Pool noodle balloon toss
Places to go:
- Water park
- A different state
- 1 historical site
- Pick your own fruits or vegetables
- Fire station
- Local fair
- Local bakery
- Snow cones
Fun food to make:
- Home made ice cream
- Rock candy
- Baked donuts
- Strawberry gelatin salad
- Strawberries and cream sandwiches
Fun skills to learn:
- Magic tricks
- An instrument
- Cartwheels and hand stands
- Bird watching
- Training a dog
- Morse code
- Bird watching
- Skip roping
I’d love to hear what you are all doing over the summer! Add a comment or drop a line! Would be great to hear from you! Happy summer!