Monday, June 13, 2011

102 Fun (and Low Cost) Summer Activities Week 2

Yay!  It is week two and time for more fun summer activities!  I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire fun and creativity for you and your kids this summer.  If you missed last week's ideas look for the link at the top of my blog that says "102 Summer Activities" or Click Here!  I will add each week to the existing ideas and compile a complete list that you can print and save :)  Enjoy!

16.  Build a fairy house.  Did you know that fairies wander your backyard every night, and if you build them a house they might just stay for an extended visit.  Fairy houses can be built out of anything you find in nature (although when we built ours I cheated a little and used a glue gun to hold it all together).  A fairy house can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose.  My daughter likes to leave little gifts in the house such as berries or little flowers for the fairies. 

17.  Bake a cake, or cupcakes, or cookies, or, well, anything!  Kids love to help in the kitchen and nothing is better than baking up a sweet treat to enjoy.  Younger kids can help with stirring and licking the bowl and older kids would be great at measuring ingredients and reading the recipe…what a fun (and sneaky) way to practice math and reading this summer.

18.  Take photos.  Nowadays many of us have old, unused digital cameras.  Why not let the kids use it to learn the basics of digital photography?  Taking pictures can keep a kid busy for hours.  Once they are done taking pictures load them up on the computer and let them edit their photos.  You can even have a couple of the good ones printed for them.  This could go hand and hand with scrapbooking.

19.  Water Gun Battle.  Stock up on some cheap water guns at the dollar store, fill ‘em up with water, and set your kids loose in the back yard.  Might be a good idea to set out a big bucket filled with water for easy refills on the water guns.  If your kids are older, you might want to come up with detailed battle games such as capture the flag, etc.

20.  Make a car wash kit and then wash the cars.  This is a fun activity for the kids while saving you the chore of washing the car yourself.  If your kids are older and do a good job, they could have a neighborhood carwash and earn a little extra money washing cars for the neighbors.  If your kids are too young to wash your car or you do not feel comfortable allowing them to, consider setting up a matchbox car wash.  This is fun and less likely to scratch or dent your vehicle J

21.  We have all seen the video on Youtube, but have you ever thought about making your own Mentos Diet Coke geyser.  This will keep the kids talking all summer.  Just make sure you do this one outside.  Using diet coke will make the mess a little less sticky!  This science project is so fun the kids will not even believe that they were learning something scientific!

22.  Learn about fireworks.  It is almost impossible to go the entire summer without at least catching a glimpse of fireworks, if not actually going to watch an entire fireworks display on the 4th of July.  If your kids are anything like mine they will probably end up asking, “how do fireworks work?”  And if you are anything like me you will probably look at them and try to come up with some sort of answer to satisfy their questioning even though you have no idea whatsoever how the heck fireworks actually work.  So grab a box of sparklers and have fun with them outside and then impress the kids with your knowledge of how it all works…or at least let them check out the website below so they can impress you with their knowledge.

23.  Start a summer journal.  Most kids already do this at school throughout the year so it would not be a stretch for them to journal over the summer.  You can purchase a fancy journal or just print pages and put them in a folder…whatever works best and is most inspiring for your kids.  Some kids will just like to write whatever pops in their heads, but others would probably enjoy journal prompts to spark creative ideas.

24.  Has your child played one too many games of Angry Birds this summer?  Harness that fascination and teach them about the real birds in your backyard.  Click the link to learn more about birds and consider getting a bird field guide from your local library to start identifying the birds that you see in your own backyard.

25.  Make a bird feeder.  This goes along with #24 and would be a great way to attract birds to your backyard.  Making a bird feeder is a fun and rewarding activity for kids.  Not only will they enjoy making the bird feeder, but they will also have a blast watching all the birds feasting on their project.

26.  Design your own t-shirts.  This could be as simple or as elaborate as your choose.  Many times you can get plain t-shirts on sale at craft stores for less than $3.  Now you have an empty canvas for your creativity.  Use puffy paint, tie-dye, iron-on transfers, be jewelers, or fabric markers to decorate.  Let each kids design their own shirt or come up with a “family” design.  No matter what they do, I bet your kids will be begging to wear this shirt all summer long.

27.  Plant a vegetable garden.  You may cringe at the thought of this especially if your thumb is not all that green, but take a deep breath and bear with me.  Gardening can be fun and easy especially if you choose to do container gardening.  There is no land to dig up, weeds to pull, or seeds to grow.  Just grab a pot, fill it with soil, and stick a plant (purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot) right in.  It could be anything from tomatoes to pepper to cucumbers.  Usually if you purchase your plant at your local garden center it is going to grow in your climate, but it would not hurt to talk to somebody who worked there just to make sure you are on the right track.  Go when your garden center is not busy and you can probably find an expert who will offer many tips and tricks to you and your kids.  Kids will love watering and watching their gardens grow and you will love having extra veggies to add to dinners and salads.

28.  You have probably heard of a pub crawl, but how about we make it kid-friendly… a Playground Crawl!!  Take a tour of your local playgrounds.  This can be done in one day spending 15 minutes at each playground, but it might be better to stretch this out over the entire summer…sort of like a playground “bucket list.”  Make a list of all of the playgrounds in your local area that the kids would like to visit and then spend the summer checking them off your list.  You can spend the whole afternoon at one playground or just a couple of minutes depending on your mood for that day….not only will the kids have a blast playing at different playgrounds but they will also love keeping track of the list and making sure it is completed before the end of summer.

29.  Make homemade ice cream.  This is so easy, fun, and tasty.  Forget about a fancy and expensive ice cream maker…I bet you have most of the items necessary right in your kitchen.  Your kids will be amazed that you can actually make ice cream in a couple of ziplock bags!

30.  Go to the movies.  Check the list and see if your local movie theater offers free or low-cost summer movies for the kids.  If not consider seeing a matinee showing for cheaper tickets or how about playing M&M’s movie cash game for a chance to win free tickets or get $3 in movie cash good towards the purchase of movie tickets.  I purchased three bags of M&M’s for 50 cents each and scored three movie cash coupons worth $3 each.

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