Summer is the perfect time for activities to do with your kids. School is out and my little ones are restless and bored. I can only put them in so many summer programs before moths start flying out of my wallet like in the cartoons, so we make our own low-cost fun! And not just any fun, but the kind of fun I got up to when I was a kid. No video games, or tablets, or computers. Just good old-fashioned homemade fun. Here are 7 activities to do with your kids.
Table of contents:
- make homemade bread & butter
- do a bob ross painting
- build a blanket fort
- play kickball
- make a choose your own adventure book
- catch fireflies in a jar
- put on a backyard play/talent show
1 Make Homemade Bread & Butter
There is nothing quite as satisfying on a summer’s day as a crusty piece of bread slathered with butter. How much better would this treat taste if it was made by the very ones who were going to eat it? This will be one of your favorite activities to do with your kids. There are tons of great bread recipes online and in cookbooks for you to pick from. As for making butter, it is easier than you think. Just find a big mason jar with a tight fitting lid and add a pint of heavy whipping cream to it. Then put on some songs that makes you move your booty and have the kids take turns shaking it until the butter forms. It’s going to take a little elbow grease, but its worth it. Pour off the buttermilk (yes, that is how it is made) and rinse the butter until the water runs clear. You can do this while the bread is cooling. Best bread and butter you will have all year.
2 Do a Bob Ross Painting
Bob Ross was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting on PBS back in the 80’s, although with his groovy fro and mutton chops he looks like he boogied right out of the 70’s. He said that everyone could paint and he taught us how to draw happy trees and majestic mountains in a way that rivaled the ease of paint by numbers. Set up a work space for the kids and get some paints. Then all you have to do is go on YouTube and be ready to smile while you work.
3 Build a Blanket Fort
This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. My siblings and I would take over whole rooms - turning over chairs and tables, stripping beds of sheets and blankets as we made glorious tunnels and towers throughout the house. My kids can spend hours crawling and giggling through their creations while I take that time to actually drink a hot cup of coffee and maybe finish the latest Vogue magazine. More often then not, though, I end up crawling through the tunnels with them giggling like a loon.
4 Play Kickball
You think professional sports are competitive? You haven’t seen anything until you’ve had a family kickball game. There will be blood! It’s baseball with less equipment and more fun. Literally all you need is a kickball. This is a win-win game because you get to spend quality time with your kids and they get some much needed exercise and outdoor time.
5 Make a Choose Your Own Adventure Book
Kids love telling stories, so put them to work entertaining themselves. When I was a kid, we lived for these books. We spent the whole summer devouring them and when we ran out of new ones we made our own. Help your kids come up with a central story line and then play "what if" to generate twists and alternate endings. Once they give them to you, find the natural breaks in the story and insert the forks where they make sense and link them to the alternate endings. While you are doing that, the kids can be drawing the cover of the book and coming up with a name for it. This truly is a great activity and you will also have a keepsake they will treasure when they are older.
6 Catch Fireflies in a Jar
Okay, I personally think that bugs are gross, but my kids are fascinated with them. So in order to steer them away from ever, ever, EVER thinking that spiders are acceptable as pets (shudder), I will choose the lesser evil of fireflies. I remember spending many summer nights with my siblings filling jars with their twinkly butts. At night we had our own private light show in our bedrooms. The next day we would let them go and start all over again. It’s the circle of life. All you need for this activity is a clear jar and a lid with some tiny holes so you don’t wake up with expired night lights.
7 Put on a Backyard Play/Talent Show
This, out of all the things we did as kids, was my favorite. There is nothing better then hanging a sheet on the clothes line in the backyard to separate the stage from the backstage. Nowadays there is The Voice and America’s Got Talent, but this harks back to the The Muppet Show. Kids are natural hams and will jump at any opportunity to be the center of attention. Invite their friends to participate and invite their parents over to be part of the audience. Hand out fresh popped corn and homemade lemonade and prepare to be entertained by potential stars under the stars.
So there you have it, some old-fashioned summer activities to do with your kids. Not only will it be fun for them, but you will literally be sharing a bit of your childhood with your children and that kind of connection is priceless. What are some of your favorite childhood activities that you think kids would like today?
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