School will soon be out for the summer and the kids will be home all day. For me, it is my favorite time of year, I love having my kids home. Being able to do activities with them, letting them help out around the homestead and teaching them things they won’t learn in school. That being said, sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to get things done without little helping hands.
Here is a handy list of free activities to build or create that will keep your little ones busy this summer, while keeping in mind that play is a child’s work.
Depending on your children’s ages they may be able to do these activities independently, with some help or you may need to supervise all activities, use your parental discretion.
Free Kids Activities:
- Make some Bubbles – You don’t have to buy bubbles and bubble wands, make your own. Here is a great recipe from Happy Hooligans for giant bubbles (includes instructions to make your own bubble wands).
- Bug Hunt – Create a bug exploration kit and head outside for some exploring.
- Book Party – Grab your favorite books and head outside to a comfy spot for a book party. Set up some pillows and blankets outside to create a cozy reading space.
- DIY Water Table – Get a Rubbermaid tote and fill it with water, add some recycled bottles and plastic containers and your toddler will have a blast. Check out this great tutorial at Stretchmarks (a new Mom Blog) to find out how to build your own water table.
- Build a Fort – Forts can be built inside and outside with whatever materials you have on hand, pillows, blankets, boxes, etc.
- Make a Mud Kitchen – Grab some old bowls, pots, pans and spoons, head outside and find some dirt. Add some water and your kids will soon be serving up some mud pies and dirt lemonade.
- Create a Music Wall – Provide a musical outlet for pent-up energy by making a music wall from recycled materials, check out this site for inspiration or visit Fun at Home with Kids for a music wall tutorial.
- Make Musical Instruments – Let your little ones make their own music by creating their own instruments from recycled materials.
- Write a Letter – Write a letter to friends or family and take a trip to the post office to mail it. If your little one isn’t writing yet, let them draw a picture to mail.
- Paint Outside – Grab your paints and head outside for some artistic inspiration. Paint on paper, canvas or your little ones can paint rocks, sticks or whatever else strikes their fancy (make sure to use non-toxic washable paint).
- Build a Bird House – Use up the scraps of wood lying around the homestead and let your kids build a bird house or bird feeder.
- Make a Boat – Using recycled material or wood, make a boat and decorate it, then test it to see if it floats.
- Mud Painting – Grab some paper and head outside to add mud, leaves, grass and other natural materials to your masterpiece. Let it dry outside.
- Run through the Sprinkler – A summer time favorite.
- Bake Cookies – Pull out your favorite cookie recipe and make some for yourselves and some to share with friends.
- Afternoon at the Movies – Invite some friends over, have everyone bring their favorite movie, pop some popcorn and hang out on the couch. Great for rainy afternoons.
- Make Your Own Puppets – Use paper bags, old fabric, buttons, thread and other craft supplies to make your puppet. Put on a puppet show when they are done.
- Build With Ice – The day before fill different sized containers with water (add food coloring for more fun), put them in the freezer. When they are frozen pull them out and use them as building blocks (use outside or in a container to control the mess).
- Build a Water Wall – Provide hours of water fun for your little ones with recycled materials by creating a water wall. Check out Learn With Play at Home for a DIY with recycled materials (the tutorial shows bought items, to make this activity free, use what you have around home).
- Write a Summer Journal – Set aside a notebook and make a summer journal, encourage kids to write about their favorite and least favorite experiences throughout the summer.
- Write a Book – Foster your child’s imagination and encourage them to write their own story with words or pictures.
- Create a Fairy Garden – This is a great way to encourage imaginative play, the kids help me set up our fairy garden in the spring and they play in it throughout the summer, until we put it away in the fall. One year we planted succulents in the garden to add a whimsical feel, this year our fairy is living with some veggies. The fairy and accessories we ordered from Amazon.com, but you could make some with paper or use dolls you already have at home.
- Plant a Vegetable Garden – A great way to encourage kids to get involved with their food while teaching them valuable life skills. There is no need for a big or fancy garden, a small container garden will work well for little hands. For more information on how to start a container garden and why check out, Why Start a Container Garden?
- Paint with Flowers – This is a fun indoor or outdoor art project, use flowers that you have picked as paintbrushes to create one of a kind art.
25. Create a Tinker Box – Add old electronics, toys and screwdrivers to a box and let your kids take them apart and put them back together again. This is a favorite table top activity in our house.
Places to go with kids for free:
- Museums – We are able to get free family passes through our local library for all of our local museums, check with your library or the museum for special rates, discounts or free days.
- Library – Take the kids to your local library and let them get their own library card.
- Hiking Trials – Check out your local nature trails, bring along a bird guide for some species identification.
- Picnic in a Park – Pack a lunch or snack and head out for an afternoon of play in the park.
- Splash Pads – Many communities offer splash pads for free summer time fun.
- Community Pools – Check with your local pool for free swim days/times.
- Fishing – If you have the equipment, head out to your favorite fishing hole and maybe catch some dinner.
- Join a local 4-H club – There are lots of different clubs that may interest your child, including animals or crafts.
Do you have any other family favorite summer activities? Please share, we would love to try them.
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