Nearly free summertime kids activities
Summer is every child’s favorite season. For many, it’s a chance to set aside all but the fun-to-read books and get outside for play time.
But every parent knows it won’t be long before those dreaded words – “we’re bored” – are uttered.
Be prepared with some free or inexpensive activities that will keep them busy, and spark their imaginations. Here are 5 free (or nearly free) summertime kids activities:
What do kids love most about Easter egg hunts? Why, searching for treasure. Nothing is stopping you from playing a treasure hunt game in the summer, though we recommend avoiding chocolate on a hot summer day if you’re treasure hunting outside. Coins – even pennies – will do the trick (though quarters are a bit more inspirational).
Get them to use their imaginations by writing out a list of hints to each hiding place. “Rock on” could mean a dime is under the rocking chair, time to towel off could mean a quarter in the linen closet. This doesn’t have to cost much at all. Make your clues complex enough and you’ll have the gang putting their heads together to find the coins.
Make A Construction Paper Story Book:
Construction paper, colored pencils, crayons, yarn and a paper punch are all it will take to turn your restless child into a budding author. Offer a little help with the writing portion of the group for the youngest in the group – but let them do the drawing.
Once a few pages of the story are created, punch a hole in the corners of the pages and tie them together with yarn. Make it a family activity by starting the story something like, “Once upon a time there was a little boy named Eric who loved dogs.”
Grow plants from seedlings:
Pick up some inexpensive seed packets. Start with an empty egg carton. Cut the top of the carton off and place underneath to catch water. Poke a small hole under each “cell” for drainage. Add potting mixture about three-fourths full. Plant the seeds, about three per cell, in the cells and cover with soil (check the packet to see how deep to plant). Mist the soil, place in a sunny spot, and tell your kids this is their “pet project” to care for. Once seeds have sprouted, it’s time to thin them, until there’s only one seedling per pod. Then it’s time to transfer the plant.
To make this more of a science project, try doing this with several cartons, and vary the placement of the carton in various parts of the house. Which one sprouts the most quickly? Do some not sprout at all? What if you don’t water one (you can cut the cells apart, to ensure you aren’t wasting too many seeds). By the time the experiment is done, you may have a child with a green thumb.
Make a love book:
Many parents have been given a coupon book filled with coupons like “one cleaning of my room.” Turn the tables. This summer, consider all of the things your child most likes to do with you, and write out a dozen ideas.
“This is good for one afternoon baking cookies,” for instance, “Mom will make your bed on this day,” or “Good for one day of making projects.’ Just tell them of any limitations (in other words, tell them to read the fine print to discover that it’s one coupon a day, and Mom or Dad have to comply after work hours).
Set up “pretend” shop:
Since it’s seasonal and fun, we suggest they set up a fruit and veggie stand. It takes only sturdy table and a few boxes that come complete with dividers. Each divider could have a photo of veggie or fruit being sold glued onto a wall.
Next, challenge them to come up with inventive ways to make some common veggies. Sure, you can purchase plastic fruit and veggies, but it’s much more fun to create green beans from green pipe cleaners, or oranges from big pompoms. Or, let them play with real fruit/veggies and make a healthy snack at the end.
Finally, have them decide what each apple, orange or bag of beans should cost, and have them take turns on checkout with friends. That’s right – you’re sneaking in a few math lessons. And while you’re at it, bring them to a real grocery store and see how come they came to the cost of a true bean, orange, or any other veggie in the box.