1. Water War
Water fights are the hallmark of my summer memories but why not take it a step further and declare all out war? This activity is perfect for family gatherings where lots of children are present or anytime you’ve got lots of kids in the same place. What about arming the troops? You ask, after all water guns don’t grow on trees.
Thankfully water balloons are a cheaper and equally satisfying option. What’s that? You don’t want to spend hours picking tiny bits of plastic out off the ground. Then for slightly more you can try this inexpensive and environmentally friendly sponge water bomb.
As an added bonus, getting your older kids involved in the preparation will keep them quietly entertained for at least a couple of hours.
2. Summer Festivals
When you think of a summer festival you’re no doubt picturing wild rides and cotton candy. Those sorts of outings can be fun and perfect for building childhood memories but between the games, rides, snacks and face painting you may end up spending more than you planned. What you may not realize is there are a number of fun festivals without all the extra cost.
Check your city’s website, or visit a community center and check out their activity boards. It’s not unusual to find fun local festivals that are geared to be family friendly. These sorts of fairs are usually less expensive (or free) and have an educational slant, perfect for kids of all ages. Keeping an eye on your local paper’s events calendar can keep you up to date about upcoming fairs and festivals.
Gardening with kids can be frustrating but the rewards far outweigh the efforts. Gardening is an educational activity for all ages. Younger preschool age children will appreciate learning about how things grow. For older kids planting a vegetable garden teaches them about where their food comes from. It also encourages patience and hard work since maintaining a vegetable garden is hard work.
Gardening can become pricey if you’re worried about supplying your family with tiny shovels and matching gloves. Those sorts of accessories can be fun but ultimately unnecessary. All you really need are seeds, dirt and sunshine. Spending a few days a week in your garden gives your kids lots of opportunities to explore the world around them in a much more tangible way while teaching them valuable lessons about green living and sustainability.
4. Treasure Hunt at Local Park
Organizing a treasure hunt will take a bit of prep on your part. There are a few ways to make it easier on you though. By holding your hunt at a public park you’re saved the hassle of drawing a map, most public parks have maps posted online. Download one and use that to guide your children to their treasure. It’s important to hide it well(you don’t want it to be found before you get there). Depending on their age your kids may be able to run the activity on their own if younger you’ll have to help them.
By using landmarks to guide your kids to their treasure you’ll teach them to be more observant of their surroundings. For younger kids direct them to look for shapes or letters in their everyday world to direct them along. For older kids try using simple riddles to lead them on their way. As far as the treasure goes forgo candy (Chocolate melts and gummy’s get sticky) instead try for small toys. For extra fun why not hide eye patches, fake jewels and a few swords for a pirate adventure.
Summer can be a wonderful time for getting outside and having fun but sometimes it’s just too hot. For those days when the only thing more unbearable than the heat is the thought of staying inside while your wild brood bounces off the walls consider the library. Most local libraries have summer reading programs geared to kids. These programs are great to keep your child reading through the long school free months.
It’s not unusual for libraries to host other kid friendly activities as well, check their schedule for cool activities. Small crafts, story hours and even the occasional guest speaker can make an afternoon at the library fun for the whole family. Plus while you’re there you can pick up a new book for those days when all your kids want to do is run in circles and scream. Losing yourself in a new world where men fight dragons and children only speak when it’s convenient to the plot may be just what you need.