Wednesday, May 11, 2011

100 free things to do with your kids from Digital Reflections


A little break from our summer activity to bring you list of things to do this summer, that wont break the bank, and if you are handy they will actually be FREE. If you are keeping up with our summer you know I am all about keeping the kids from being bored, but also about enhancing their education in the process and bringing them back to nature. (update on Wild West Week tomorrow).... so here goes (if its blue its a link for more information)

1. Library-check out books that have IDEAS - give reason for further hands on study (activity). Reserve books through your online service at your local library that have items of interest for your childs age group, how to make paper airplanes, science experiments, craft projects, etc. even as we are learning about different artists we are practicing our learning by completing art projects...get creative with the books you can get...

2. Library-STORY TIME - something about a different setting breaks up the routine for the kids, gives them something to look forward to.

3. Local Park - go early, pack a lunch, bring a drawing tablet, enjoy the outside before its too hot.

4. Take a field trip.

5. Visit a fire department.

6. Play in the water - but aside from the everyday play in the sprinkler, kiddie pool - make games with the water - use the water with paint brushes and paint the fence (it dries clear, lol)...put coloring in the water and stretch paper across a fence - fill water guns with this colored water and then they are really painting with water colors.

7. Build a fort, go to nearby woods, gather sticks, broken branches, etc. build a fort, or house this will provide days worth of enjoyment both in the gathering/building/playing inside.

8. Take a nature walk.. take along a journal, let the kids bring cameras, then go home, identify everything your photographed, create a nature book. Thats a whole nother days activities (paper, photos, glue, scissors, notebook) this is especially good saved for a rainy day.

9. Take an "Alphabet tour"... again camera(s) in hand, journals - letter guides for younger kids - drive to town/city - begin with the letter a (Apple street) b (building) c (colosseum) d(dairy queen) e(eatery) you get the drift - when you are done - each child has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.

10. Check out kids free days at your museums.

11. Make homeade ice cream (if you dont keep heavy cream on hand you will have to buy it, but hey its still pretty cheap entertainment/enjoyment). Make popcicles, smoothies, ice cream sundaes.

12. Go on a scavengar hunt

13. Host a neighborhood carnival (we're talking bean bag toss, use the water gun to shoot the ducky, egg on the spoon, those kind of games) - each neighbor hosts a game/activity and gives out a snack/drink - makes for a very fun day..

14. Go to an outdoor concert (most towns/cities have a website where you can see what/when and which ones are free.)

15. Check your movie theatre for free summer movies (usually morning showings)

16. Go to the beach.

17. Check out your local hardware store - they offer free kids club building projects.

18. Cook with your kids (my kids are still loving to cook the evening meals with me) but let them plan it, be apart of the shopping, table setting - make dessert!)

19. Host a cooking party - invite some friends (your kids arent the only ones home and wanting something to do) - have each mom bring a few ingredients and spend the day making cookies, treats, etc. (maybe you know someone who could use some extra love and attention - make a whole meal with these friends, let the kids make cards, and go make someones day brighter and happier).

20. Teach the kids frisbee golf.

21. Go fly a kite (why not make them first).

22. Do a sewing project together. Make a picnic or story time blanket, apron, or summer dress.

23. Make sock puppets - put on a puppet shows.

24. Go outside for reading time.

25. Make and blow bubbles.

26. Hide all the army men, mini animals, etc. in the sand pit - have a excavation. (even read a book about archeologists before hand).

27. Play dress up.

28. Have a tea party.

29. Make an obstacle course out of your back yard and have races.

30. Play jacks.

31. Go fishing.

32. Go on a bike ride.

33. Camp in your back yard.

34. Melt and create with crayons.

35. Visit a local state park.

36. Go bowling (a lot of the alleys offer students 2 free games over the summer).

37. Plant a garden using seeds from your vegetables/fruits.

38. Tour local historic sites.

39. Make a star gazing map.

40. Teach the kids to knit.

41. Check with a local farm - offer to help feed the animals.

42. Set up a lemonade stand.

43. Set up hotwheels races in the driveway. (my guys love this - they always want to see which of their 100's of cars is awarded 'the fastest" - have them make a trophy to give to the winning car - then next time - the new winning car gets the trophy.

44. Have a LEGO building contest (using x# pieces, only using blue pieces, creating something a certain height, create something that moves, etc.)

45. Make a doll.

46. Hunt for animal tracks. (get a book from the library to help identify them).

47. Have a dress up party (doesnt have to be halloween to wear those costumes).

48. Learn bird calls.

49. Use magazines to make mosaics.

50. Check your craft stores for make and take craft projects (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.).

51. Tour a factory.

52. Make musical instruments and become a 'home band' sensation! (think - pie pan tamborine, papertowl holder rain stick, string and cereal box guitar) - dont forget to dress the part!

53. Make tye die shirts. (play some groovy tunes, too)

54. Take a picnic to dad/mom/grandma/ etc... give them a nice break from their work day.

55. Make a tent in the living room.

56. Go to an Arboretum.

57. Make a bird feeder with pine cones & peanut butter (and bird seed of course).

58. Paint with fruit and veggies (and anything else you will let them paint with - think q-tips, old toothbrush, sponges, leaves.... etc.)

59. Play charades.

60. Have a "BORED" game day - pull out all those dusty games and let each child pick a game - if its nice outside - take em out on your picnic blanket.

61. Walk your neighbors dog.

62. Blow up Diet coke with mentos.

63. Make sillouettes.

64. Check out local VBS offerings - a lot of time you can volunteer while your kids attend.

65. Learn/Go Orienteering.

66. Make a compass. (ties in to 65)

67. Gather friends and have a "clean" the park day - celebrate your good deed with a picnic and play time.

68. Sculpt with homeade SALT CLAY.

69. Collect Seashells. (then sort by color/size. etc. - make a seashell necklace or use the shells to decorate an empty jar - adults should use the glue gun).

70. Play "I Spy" as you walk around your neighborhood.

71. Go to a farmers market.

72. Check with a local pizzaria to see if you can come in for a tour (they will probably want you to buy a pizza - so it may not be "free" - but fun!)

73. Check your newpaper for local summer festivals.

74. Make school related activities fun - create your own matching cards (I make mine using these cute digital supplies found here and here). Use maccaroni for math reinforcement, make a clock with a paper plate, help with geometry by giving building tasks, etc.)

75. Learn (play) street games.

76. Make Taffy.

77. Make a checker board and your own checkers. then play for a bit...

78. Make your own board games.

79. Make a Milk Carton Boat - and head to a pond.

80. Have a Christmas in July party and ask all the guests to bring donations for your local food pantry.

81. Participate in a free activity at Bass Pro Shop.

82. Have a major league team in your area - call about free kids tickets this summer.

83. Take a trip to tour your state capitol, local courthouse, etc.

84. Gather, paint, make pet rocks.

85. Plan a theme week (keep checking back here for more details about our themes this summer).

86. Volunteer at a local charity/Habitat for Humanity.

87. Have a pajama day, enjoy movies and popcorn (great for a rainy day).

88. Color.

89. Make a Windchime.

90. Write your own poems.

91. Do a toy swap (pack up those forgotten toys and swap with a friend - kids love new "to them" toys as much as they love :NEW: toys.

92. "Play" school.

93. Make paper dolls for boys, for girls, or for the more advanced.

94. Travel around the world. Have English scones for breakfast, Chinese Stir Fry for lunch, Italian for dinner. Make a craft to go with each country, get a library book with photos of these places. (maybe even see if you have a friend your child can become pen pals with.)

95. Have a switcher-oo day, you send your kids to someone elses house and their kids come to yours... kids LOVE this... just plan a few activities (you can choose from some on this list) and give them a great day as your friend will do with your kidos.

96. Play tennis, soccer, kickball, football, etc.

97. Make slime.

98. Make glowing fireflies. we get our glowsticks at Target's $1.00 bins and they come with 10, so its practically free.

99. Make a sandcastle. If you dont have a sand box, gather up all sorts of containers and some water jugs and head over to your local park - spend the day building a great sand castle together -lots of kids will want to get in on the action so its a great social time, too.

100. Enjoy an art lesson.

Most importantly remember the simplicity of childhood is found in the quality of the time spent together - enjoy each moment, create an environment of joy and excitement, learning and fun and I am certain this summer will be one we all remember for a very long time.

(basic paper yellow alpha by katie pertiet at

Please note that if you use this list in part or in whole you should please credit and link back to digitalreflections. Thank you. Found Here:

Arts and crafts:
*make a pet rock
*potato painting
*finger knitting - check out this blog post.. imagine childhood
*salt clay:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cooking oil
Food coloring
mix wet add to dry -mix both and let kids sculpt something and cook 300degrees 1-2 hours
*give the kids watercolors and paper and let them go outside and paint what they see (fun if you can get a cheal frame (ikea) or some canvas and then hang their paintings
*place a box or bin in the kitchen and collect items that would usually be trash during the week - such as papertowel rolls, glass jars, egg cartons, food boxes, junk mail, etc... then add some basic craft items - like yarn, glue, etc. and let them have a fun craft time
*tie dye tshirts
*shrinky dinks - or do you remember melting plastic spoons and forks
*spaghetti art - its messy its fun - cook pasta - put out paperplates of paint - hang LARGE paper across a fence or hanging from a tree - they throw the pasta at the paper - its makes cool designs, patterns, its fun - but messy (did i say that already)lol
*get large (butcher paper) and take a light and shine it on the child standing in front of paper and trace their shadow - then the kids can color and decorate their selves
*make goo - using baking soda and water - we like to stick our army men in them or just play in the 'quick sand'
*paper mache eggs - any easter crafts would be fun...
favorite kids craft blog:::
crafty crow

*let kids plant some veggies or flowers from seedlings or sprouts - they can make a chart and watch it as they grow
*go geocaching - or go trail blazing (something we like to do) mark a path going out on some trail or in nature in general with ribbons - etc. have the kids mark in a nature journal the coordinates using a compass and then let them find their way back using their coordinates and see how close they get to finding their ribbons, etc. - its fun
*take pinecones and coat in peanut butter and roll in bird seed let the kids hang it from tree branches
*give the kids disposable cameras and take a nature or neighborhood walk, its fun to see what gets their attention and what is at their eye level - they can make a little photo journal with the developed pics
*get magnifying glasses for the kids and take them in the back yard, let them do a macro discovery day - and find all the things on and under the ground, its great when they move rocks or leaves, or find snails or rollypollys...
*make birdfeeders (you can buy little kits from a home store) the kids paint them, and build them (may only require glue or possibly nails - which your oldest should be able to do with supervision)
*make a fort/teepee/hut
*make boats and go to a creek or pond and see how they float -check out this blog post
unschool me
*pack a picninc - have each child responsible for one item to add to the picnic basket (making sure they count how many people and how many items -its a great counting reinforcement) then go somewhere new to enjoy the picnic, or just the backyard :o)
*visit a science center or arboretum

*go to story time at the library - check their activities
*visit a firestation, postoffice, polica station, etc... then when you go home have the kids dress the part or make puppets or invite neighbor friends over for some role playing
*read them their favorite story then let them dress up and reinact the story
*get a book on cd and let them listen to it (while you tend to the baby) and then let them make puppets and act out the story with their puppets
*pick an era and do a day in the life (requires some prep time and thought - but its soo fun)
*play hide and seek - check out this blog post teach mama with the kids favorite things - print out the kids favorite cartoon or toy - printing off several of them for each kid then hide them (easy for the younger and harder for the oldest) then either outside weather permitting or inside have a hide and seek party
*go to the zoo and have the kids pick out their favorite animal then come home and make paper plate masks or paper bag puppets

Spring Break Boredom Busters

just because:
bake bread
make homeade icecream
make cards and deliver to a childrens hospital
rake a neighbors yard
have tea time
deliver cookies to a friend