**Post by guest blogger Gretchen Kingsley**
We are in full-blown summer. Hot and humid…every day.
My daughter is not yet of school age, but despite that, there is still a shift that happens when summer comes. The normal daily activities seem too mundane and we both go a little stir-crazy during the day if we spend all of our time in our normal weekly schedule. Most cities have wonderful summer activities for children to participate in. But even without these opportunities, there are so many fun and novel activities that you can do at home.
And the best part…they’re free.
My daughter is not even 1 ½ years old but I really believe that these activities can be fun for most any age. My experience with children is that if it is not a normal activity, it is a novel one and one that they will have good memories of even when they are 20. Modifications may need to be made based on your child’s age but get down and play with them. They will LOVE it.
Enjoy the summer and play!
- Water Play: sprinkler, hose, buckets of water. It doesn’t matter. It’s the getting wet part that’s so loved. Especially on those really hot days. No toys are necessary. Give them buckets, Tupperware, spoons or scoops. Yesterday, while Chris and I landscaped, Isa played with the hose, in the mud. She LOVED it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture.
- Playing in Dirt: Give your children gardening tools or kitchen utensils to dig in the dirt. (Or a big pile of pea gravel like we have right now!) If they are old enough, you may want to give them specific instructions on what not to dig up (my brothers hit a gas line when they were young!) but otherwise, let them have at it. Dirt is good! Before going inside, spray them down with a hose. It may just turn into water play.
- Local Parks: We are blessed with parks all throughout our city. Plus, splash pads are becoming the new addition to city parks. They are perfect for the summer heat. Play on the swings and then run over to the fountains of water. My daughter is young enough that visiting the same park nearest us is fine but if your children are older, it would be great fun to visit a different park each week. You’ll get to know your city and your kids will love the adventure!
- Library: Public libraries offer a lot of fun activities for children during the summer. Check out your local library for their weekly activities. We go once a week and Isa is young enough that the small train set that she plays besides other children with is great enjoyment.
- Picnic Lunch: I still remember doing these as a child. My mom and I would walk to a little park near our home and eat lunch. Somehow veggies become so much more exciting while eating on a blanket in the grass. If it’s raining outside, throw down a blanket in your living room.
- Go Scavenging: Hike/walk your local trails. Go on an adventure. Pretend you are living in another time or that you’re searching for something. Let your kids allow their imaginations to run wild. Let your imagination run wild with them. Or actually go scavenging for something specific. We have a lot of wild black raspberries that start appearing at the end of July. Eating fruit right off the vine that you found in the wild is so much tastier than eating it in your dining room or kitchen.
- Make a Treat: …and share it with a friend. Let your kids decide a special treat or dessert that they would like to make (homemade ice cream!) and invite a friend or two over to enjoy it. They will be so proud of their delicious creativity.
- Skip a Nap and Read Books in the Shade: We don’t skip naps yet. It would be too ugly. But I can imagine a day when my daughter is a bit older and we spend that normal hour or two outside “resting” with books, some lemonade, and laughing.
There are so many other things that I could write but they don’t necessitate a category all themselves. Get creative but don’t feel like you have to be super-mom. Pinterest has amazing ideas that I have dreams of doing with my children but know that I never will. I’m crafty but not that crafty. But you don’t have to create these amazing things with or for your children. All you need is to spend special time with your child and allow yourself to have fun. Memories will be made.
This post is linked to: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, at Frugally Sustainable, WLWW at Women Living Well, Simple Lives Thursday at Gnowfglins, Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom, Welcome Home Link Up at Raising Arrows, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Homesteader Blog Carnival at The Morris Tribe, Better Mom Mondays at The Better Mom, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network, Titus 2 Tuesdays at Cornerstone Confessions