Summer is drawing to a close. School is about to start back up, and maybe has already begun for some of you! But, summer isn’t quite through yet! The days are still warm and it still stays light outside well into the evening. So, savor every moment!
When my kids were young, I liked to try to do some fun things that weren’t a part of our normal school year- to make summer days more fun. These are simple, inexpensive or free ideas that really just let kids be kids. There’s no need to get fancy or expensive. Kids’ imaginations are the best toy, when encouraged to be used, and simple fun is usually the most fun!
So- before summer bids farewell for another year, here are some simple, yet fun ideas you can enjoy with your kids.
1. Have a marshmallow fight– the kids all love this one. Mom and Dad can join in. Purchase several bags of marshmallows, head for the backyard and have at it. One rule we established was that you can’t take a bit and then throw it, because it gets all sticky and yucky. The family dogs love this. We’d reuse the “ammunition” if we could get to it before the dog did:)
2. Cook s’mores- nothing is better than marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate- a winning combo. We sometimes toasted our marshmallows on the grill, or sometimes built a bonfire, which was a favorite with all. Sometimes we’d invite friends over to enjoy them with us.
3. Make targets and shoot B-B guns– This one needs adult supervision, but we taught all our kids gun safety rules with the B-B guns. The kids LOVE making targets. We hang each person’s target on a different tree, line up in a row, and Mom or Dad will tell each one when it’s their turn to shoot. After the round is done, everyone runs to see how they did and back for another round to try to break their record.
4. Play under the sprinkler-Easy and fun. Just turn the sprinkler on a good hot day and have at it.
5. Play with Play Dough– Make a fresh batch of homemade play dough and play on a kid’s table or picnic table out under a tree. A couple of my kiddos would do this for hours on a summer day. We have molds of animals and food and little plastic knives. Great fun. Here’s an easy play dough recipe.
Homemade Playdough– from Homemade with Love by Marilyn Boyer
- 1 c. flour
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 c. water
- 1/2 c. salt
- few drops liquid food coloring
- 3 Tbsp. cooking oil
Mix and cook in saucepan on medium heat until mixture coagulates into a ball. Cool. Store in air tight container.
6. Make homemade popsicles or yogurt pops– (recipe included)
Fruit Yogurt Pops- Good for you!
- 2/3 c. yogurt
- 2 generous Tbsp. honey
- 1 c. strawberries or other fruit
Put yogurt in blender. Turn on low and add strawberries a few at a time. Blend till smooth. Add honey and blend. Freeze in popsicle containers.
7. Make a town in the sandbox or garden- All this takes is a little sand or dirt and a bucket of water. My kids used to love building all the stores, hospitals, houses, etc., and then making the roads to connect it all. They do get dirty, but boy do they love it. They can even make sign posts and name the roads and subdivisions. My boys really enjoyed doing this and got very elaborate in their creations.
8. Play with play kitchen outside, putting water in the sink- nothing excites little ones like having water in the sink of their play kitchen! I’ll bring all the play food and dishes outside to the deck or patio and this provides hours of fun.
9. Wash doll clothes by hand and hang them up to dry on the clothes line- yes, clothes lines are out of date, but boy is it fun for little girls to have a basin of soapy water, scrub up all their dollies’ clothes and get to use real clothes pins to hang their wash out to dry. We’d hang a special line down low for the day so they could easily reach it.
10. Collect wildflowers and make a scrapbook labeling them. Use a field guide book to identify them. It was so much fun finding a wildflower no one else had found yet and fun showing off the scrapbook to grandma or a friend.
11. Make homemade ice cream
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- 3 c. sliced strawberries
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 c. whole milk (we use raw milk- has it’s own cream)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Clean strawberries and slice. Blend strawberries, sugar, and milk in blender or food processor using blade attachment. Pour strawberry mixture into ice-cream maker and process according to freezer’s directions. Serve at once when processed or store in freezer.
12. Decorate cupcakes. I will make up a batch of cupcakes and icing. Let the kids ice the cupcakes and then choose toppings- M&M’s, sprinkles, gummies, coconut, chopped nuts, crushed butterfingers or heath bars, crushed oreos, etc. Be sure to take a picture of finished product! Take a few over to your neighbors to enjoy.
Please comment and share with us some fun summer activities you’ve done. We’d all love to get more ideas! Enjoy these final days of summer!
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