Need creative ideas for summer? The first week or two is always a blur, but once optimal routine sets in you may find yourself fresh out of ideas for the summertime. When you need a quick, fun activity you don’t want to get sucked into hours on Pinterest; you need something to do with your children to keep things lively and creative. So, here you go–30 ideas for 30 days worth of fun and creativity.
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You can use this list/calendar as a guide by doing one of the activities daily. Or if you want to spread them out, you can choose to pick an activity a day Monday through Friday lasting for the next 6 weeks. If you want to get crazy, you can mix all the ideas up and then allow your children to pick one a day. Make yourself a “creative jar” so you can be spontaneous. It’s entirely up to you.
1. Scavenger hunt-
For preschoolers keep it simple and use markers to draw pictures. Have them find something blue, something brown, something round, something sharp, something soft and something hard. For the elementary school aged child, use more complex ideas such as something that tastes good, something you would feed your dog, something that starts with “T.” Keep it fun and straightforward.
2. Paint with water bottles-
Take some water bottles (the kind with the squirt lid) fill with water and have a contest to see who can “paint” the most creative image on your driveway or blacktop. Keep it even more interesting by saying the picture is completed when the bottle of water is gone…no more water refills.
3. Make popsicles-
Use some fresh fruit, blend with a small amount of water and then put into popsicle molds for a wonderful afternoon treat. Our favorite is 2 bananas, 6 strawberries and ½ cup water blended and poured into molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use old yogurt containers and freeze the delicious fruit blend with a fork stuck smack dab in the middle.
4. Eat with chopsticks-
Find a fun meal; it can be anything you want, and learn to use chopsticks together. Use them for an entire day. If your child is very young, take your chopsticks and a small bouncy ball and secure the bouncy ball between the chopsticks at one end so your child can master it with more control. If you didn’t know already, you could also buy trainer chopsticks.
5. Make carrot spaghetti-
Using a vegetable peeler and long carrots (not the mini baby carrots) slice off long shreds of carrot and then make into a fresh “spaghetti” of sorts allowing your child to eat their vegetables with their fingers. For added fun, dab a bit of ranch dressing over the top and have them eat their “spaghetti” with chopsticks!
6. Play hopscotch (it’s only fun if mom joins in too)-
Grab a stick of chalk and a few rocks, the rules are simple, and the game is quick. Simply draw out your squares, put numbers in them and when you roll your rock, you have to skip the square where the rock landed while you are hopping on one leg down the row of blocks.
7. Make your own playdough-
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
½ cup salt
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup flour
Put all ingredients (except food coloring) into a saucepan and stir over medium heat until a solid forms, add food coloring and cool before enjoying with your children. You can even add 1 drop of essential oil for a scented play dough experience, like having an aromatherapy sensory toy!
8. Have a backwards race-
This can be done running, jumping, talking, singing, counting, whatever you do, do it backwards. Kids seem to enjoy it if this also translates to meal time and they get to eat dessert first!
9. Finger paint-
Beyond handprints, use your fingers and some non-toxic paint, and then have fun. It is best when you can do this activity outdoors so clean up is a breeze. If you are not brave enough to endure the finger paint, or if it is a rainy day, use Q-tips and call it painting with stilts.
10. Flower hunt-
This can be done as a scavenger hunt where you look for a flower that is white, one that is yellow, one that smells good, one that smells bad, etc. What makes this activity even more fun is if you save some of your treasured finds and then press them in a book. After a week or so, when the flowers dry out, you can make bookmarks by ironing the flowers between layers of waxed paper.
11. Take a picnic-
Pack up something simple and grab a flat sheet then head out. You can make this one as elaborate, or as simple as you choose. Go to a park you have never been to or sit in the middle of your yard and do be sure to lay on your back for a quick game of cloud shapes afterwards.
12. Make a dandelion crown-
This can work for girls or boys, boys can turn their “crown” into a chain, and every little girl wants a flower crown. Simply find the longest stem dandelions you can and begin by braiding the stems together, add more dandelions as you braid until you start a chain. (Similar to French braiding but much simpler). You can finish off the crown with a bread tie or allow the chain to go on for as long as you like.
13. Play in a sprinkler-
Every child should have the experience of running barefoot in the summer through a sprinkler, be sure your kids don’t miss out on this nostalgic childhood experience.
14. Make a suncatcher-
Use waxed paper to cut out a shape (heart, circle, square) and then use Elmer’s glue to add scraps of colored tissue paper. Once hung in the window your waxed paper shape (circle, square or diamond) will look almost like a stained glass window with the colored tissue paper and light shining through.
15. Make a slingshot-
This is almost a scavenger hunt in itself because first you need a “Y” shaped stick and a large rubber band. Once you have found two of these items that work well together, watch out, and be sure to have eye protection available. It works really well to take your invention to a nearby water source (pond, creek, lake) and shoot the rocks into the water. If not available, use marshmallows as your shots.
16. Blow colored bubbles-
Bubbles and food coloring are all it takes.
17. Make Paper Mache’-
A balloon, newspaper strips, some flour and a little water is all you need. Mix equal parts water and flour for the glue and dip the strips of newspaper in them before laying in thin layers over the inflated balloon. Let each layer dry thoroughly before adding the next. After drying overnight, check for any remaining wetness and then either layer some more or stick a pin inside to pop the balloon so that you now have a hollow shape you can paint, fill with candy for a homemade piñata, or make a hot air balloon craft.
18. Homemade lemonade-
If you don’t have fresh lemons to squeeze you can use 1 cup lemon juice, 2 cups sugar and fill a 2 quart pitcher full of water. If you want to do it like the carnival and fair workers, add ¼ cup sugar and 1/8 cup lemon juice to a plastic cup, fill with ice and water and invert a second plastic cup over the top, then shake for a lemon shakeup.
19. Make a window greenhouse-
Using a sandwich baggie add 5 cotton balls saturated with water, 3 bean seeds and seal the bag. Tape it to a sunny window and watch as days go by and sprouts start to grow.
20. Plant some wildflowers-
You can buy a packet of these at your local dollar store and plant them inside in a sunny spot or outside in a container, water often and enjoy the beautiful colors that spring up.
21. Skip a rock-
You need to visit a creek or a pond for this one, but a rock skipping class can last for quite a while. Look up rock skipping on youtube if you are unfamiliar with techniques, this is definitely an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
22. Breakfast for dinner-
Ask your child what their favorite breakfast items are and make dinner out of it. This is even more fun if you let your child help with the meal prep. Your toddlers can put the eyes and nose (using chocolate chips or raisins) onto a teddy bear shape that you make too.
23. Blindfold food challenge-
This can be as entertaining as you like, depending on the age and daring nature of your child. The challenge is to guess what is placed on the tip of your tongue and the experimenter can choose whatever they like from the refrigerator, watch out, this can bring lots of laughter, and again this is one that mom should join in on!
24. Go barefoot in the mud-
A unique sensation, and if you don’t have mud, simply add water to the dirt and make some fresh mud to do this one with. Join in with your child if the mood strikes you, definitely a fun activity everyone should try at least once.
25. Banana boat dessert-
Take a banana (peel on) and slice from one end to the other, slightly open the slit to add chocolate chips and nuts and then bake the “banana boats” at 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until soft and melted. Eat by scooping out the cooked banana and toppings with a spoon.
26. Climb a tree-
It’s a rite of passage for any child to have climbed a tree. For the younger ones, find yourself a sturdy pine tree (the branches are lower to the ground). For the older ones just give some tips about sturdy branches. Now let them turn into the little monkeys you have seen them be.
27. Jump rope games-
If you can’t remember any of the jump rope rhymes from your childhood, just look up a few on the internet. Bonus points if you can teach them to double dutch!
28. Play string games-
Another youtube opportunity if you don’t already know how to play string games. All you need is about 3 feet of string tied into a knot to form a continuous loop. Even little ones can get in on this and it helps with fine motor skills.
29. Tie Dye coffee filters-
These can be used for decoration or turned into bookmarks when folded. Take a coffee filter and some markers, then have your child make dots or lines with the marker before misting with water which creates a tie-dye pattern.
30. Ice cube melt challenge-
This one requires a bit of forethought as you need to take a small toy (Lego man or mini toy) and put it in a small amount of water in your refrigerator. For each of your children, you’ll want some little Dixie cups or other small containers filled with water. The object is to melt all of the ice off and free the item trapped inside. You be the judge to see who can do it first.
Summer is such an amazing time in our children’s lives, the weather is usually beautiful, there is little to no school happening and time is plentiful. Enjoy the days with your kids and be sure to let them see mom having fun and being silly right along with them. Enjoy, they don’t stay little long.
30 Fun Ideas Your Kids Can Begin Today