Friday, July 5, 2013

Activity Ideas to Keep The Kids Busy

Too many times one of the girls will run up to me and say, "What are we going to do today?" And my mind goes blank and I can't think of one thing fun to do. Or anything I have the energy to do after a long day at work. And then there are the endless days of summer - and no matter how many squirt guns you buy or soccer balls...the kids are always looking for something else to entertain them.

So I started jotting down different activities and ideas - summer fun, indoor fun on those rainy days and places to go that are easy on the budget.

Spring/Summer Outdoor Fun

Pool Time (even if you don't have a pool in your community, I encourage you to buy a kiddie pool. The pool is just non-stop fun for the kids. Sometimes they are in it all day.)

Car Wash (The two older girls love to help me wash the car. We get wet and soapy and have fun spraying each other with the hose. A bonus is I get a sparkling clean car and I made a chore into a fun family event.)

Bike Wash (same fun applies here. Give the kids soap and water, a garden hose and their bikes. They will be entertained all afternoon.)
Scavenger Hunt (Fun indoors or outdoors. I make a list with the name and drawing of about 10 items. Some can be found in nature or around the house - others I hide for them to find.)
Water Balloons
Picnic (Outdoor or indoor fun. I let the girls help me get the basket of food together. We bring my phone so we can listen to music. Sometimes we bring a few books to read.)
Painting (I let the girls paint rocks, leaves, paper plates and mason jars. Kids love to paint in general. So you can set them up in the yard or front porch so you have less mess to worry about it. They can paint for hours.)
Relay Race (This is fun if you have other kids in the neighborhood. Set up teams and grab a baton or even just a stick. Have kids stationed around the neighborhood and set up a designated finish line.)

Fly a Kite
Movie Night Outside (We bring blankets into the yard, popcorn and my Kindle and have a movie night at dusk. They love it.)

Pool Fishing (No real fish needed. Just make homemade fishing poles with sticks, string and paperclips. Or use fishing poles if you have them. Fill the kiddie pool up with water and throw different things inside. Items that are easy to pick up like plastic action figures, mini water guns or Lego pieces.)
Bowling (Indoor or Outdoor fun. You can fill up liter soda bottles with a little gravel or mulch. Line them up like pins in the yard and have the kids use bouncy balls to try and knock them down.)
Bike Race (If you a bike path near your home, take the kids for a friendly bike race)

Neighborhood Parade (Sometimes the kids will dress up, use pots and pans and parade around the neighborhood with their friends.

Plant a Garden (Even if you just get some pots and plant flowers to put on your deck or balcony - it’s fun for the kids. If you have a big enough yard, why not start a garden together? Or if you have a garden, let them help next time you are tending to it.)
Nature Hunt (My oldest daughter loves this. We will just start walking, and discover what plants, trees, flowers and animals we see.)
Make It Rain (We fill up spray bottles with water. The girls love their umbrellas so they dance around the yard with them and spray each other. Sometimes I will turn on the hose and let it really rain for them as they dance around. There is just something umbrellas that kids adore.)

Indoor Fun
Board Games (Invest in a 5-6 really good board games. My kids love Candy Land, Jenga, Sorry and Operation. And make sure you store them somewhere the kids cannot access on their own. Too many games have been lost or destroyed because the kids got a hold of them unsupervised.)

Build A Fort (But get really elaborate with it. If you have the space - make it a big and long fort. We use chairs, laundry baskets and plenty of blankets to make a fort and tunnel. They love it!)
Dance Competition (I let them dress up and dance their hearts out. Sometimes we just put music on and all dance together. Its great exercise and a fun way to connect with the kids.)
American Idol (The two older girls love to sing. So we will have singing competitions, and the grownups act as the judges. It’s a lot of fun - and if you have a karaoke machine it makes it even better.)

Baking (When we are stuck inside, I let the girls help me make cookies or cupcakes. Or homemade pizza. I let them get a little messy with flour and have some fun.)
Keep The Ball Up (Its crazy simple, but this is so addicting. You get a good bouncy ball and everyone has to keep it in the air. Whoever lets the ball touch the ground is out until we have a winner.)
Puppet Show (What kid doesn’t like sock pockets. They can even decorate old socks with glue and felts, wiggly eyes and popsicle sticks. Then put on a show.)
Masks (Use paper plates and string and let them make all different kinds of masks)
Home Gymnastics (Pile up blankets or even pull one of the mattresses to the floor. Let them summersault and stand on their head - and their own gym right at home)

Out and About Activities


Museums (Find out which local museums are free.

Community Events (It's a great idea to check out your community's homepage online. Many use social media as well, so you can Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. My community has movie nights in the park, free concerts and art on the avenue shows. There are even festivals and different events during the holidays. So many are free and tons of fun for the whole family.)
Skate Park (They are popping up all over it seems. It’s a lot of fun for the kids and a way to meet other kids in the area.)
Dollar Store Fun (Sometimes I will take the girls to a local dollar store. We have some really great ones near us. I give them each $5 dollars to spend and they have a ball.

Farms (I was surprised how many farms there are not that far from us. I never really even thought about it before I had kids. But there are some great ones who have strawberry picking, pumpkin patches, hay rides and petting zoos.

Thrift Stores or Flea Markets (These are fun because you never know what you will find. I love outdoor flea markets. The kids and I explore and sometimes make a whole afternoon out of it.)

Rec Centers (We have many locally. And if you have one near you, they are great for swimming, ice skating, gymnastics and other activities.)
Library (We have a great library. They have reading nights, face painting events and book giveaways. You can contact your local library for an event calendar. And also we love just to go there and look around, find some great books and read together.)


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