10 Creative and Hands-On Activities to Do With Your Kids
We’re here… the half-way point of summer. For us, that means the vacations are over, the kids are getting a little bored (I am too), and it’s too hot outside for anything but water activities. Time to mix it up.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 engaging, hands-on activities that kids of almost all ages can participate in and enjoy. A lot of them are indoors! Yay! Some make me cringe a little (the mess!), but my kids love every single one of these ideas and they provide literal hours of entertainment that make these late summer days fly by. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Make Cloud Dough - Also referred to as Moon Sand, Cloud Dough is easy to make and will provide hours of fun for your kiddos. Cloud Dough is moldable and clumps together for easy clean up, but it still tends to get a little messy once little hands are involved, so I like to either take it outside or put it in a deep, rectangular container for indoor play.
Make an Indoor String Laser Obstacle Course - Do you have an aspiring American Ninja Warrior or Mission: Impossible fan in the house? Put up a String Laser Obstacle Course for them to work their way through! This activity works best in a hallway, or even up/down the stairs if your kids are old enough to handle the incline and increased difficulty.
Make Slime - Ok, Mommas. This one makes me cringe a little. But kids love slime! So every once in a while, I give in and we make it. There are tons of different types of slimes to make, from traditional to fluffy, unicorn, and beyond. Search for a recipe that's just right for you and let's get messy!
Make Ice Cream or Popsicles - Making homemade ice cream will take you down memory lane to high school chemistry, and I guarantee your kids will think that you are an actual magician when you're done. Grab the ingredients, set aside five minutes, and enjoy the fruit (creaminess?) of your labor.
Open a Lemonade & Book Stand - Mix up some Crystal Light (or fresh-squeezed lemonade if you're feeling adventurous) and head out to a shady spot to set up a Lemonade & Book Stand. A good friend of mine recently held a kids' book sale at the end of her driveway and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. Her kids went through their book collections and set aside any books they had grown out of, had duplicates of, or were just done with, and sold them for $1 each. Then they bought new books with their earnings. Adding lemonade to the stand just makes it sweeter for everyone.
Paint Rocks - For some reason, my kids love washing rocks. Once they're done washing and drying, why not decorate them with paint or Sharpies? Decorated rocks will add some colorful flair to your garden or flower bed, or check out Frisco Texas ROCKS for a fun and creative way to spread encouragement and joy in our community by leaving painted rocks around town.
Make a Homemade Bird Feeder - Our kids love identifying all the "customers" we get on a daily basis at our backyard bird feeder, including the squirrel we have affectionally named Fatty and BunBun the rabbit. You kids can make their own feeders out of almost anything (see link), so you'll be identifying your own customers in no time!
Go Backyard Camping - Or if you're like me, go backyard stargazing until 9:30 then head inside for a good night's sleep. Either way, whether you camp out in a tent all night or just spend some time outside in the quiet as a family, your kids will cherish memories of these family "camping" trips. Be sure to roast up some s'mores while you're at it, and don't forget the deet!
Make Play-Doh - Sure, it’s a lot easier to just buy fresh Play-Doh, but making your own turns it into a magical experience. It’s super easy to do and is actually less mess than you think. A bonus- it’s technically edible if your kids “accidentally” decide to take a taste.
Practice Spelling with a Sand/Salt/Flour Tray - To banish summer brain drain, spread a layer of sand, salt, or flour on a rimmed baking sheet and let your little reader practice spelling words with their finger or a dry paintbrush. For an added pop, put colored construction paper under whatever medium you're using so the words show through brightly. This strategy can also be used with simple math problems, single letters, or just for play with younger kids.
Summer is a great time for us to get to spend a little extra time with these little humans who just keep growing too fast. Hopefully some of these ideas will help your summer togetherness be a little more fun and harmonious.
This article also appeared on the Hope Fellowship Church blog.