1. First of all, my day to day fun activities usually are very inexpensive and I grab and use what I have one hand first before going out and spending any money 0n supplies.
2. Use your Resources! The library is full of books with great ideas, plus they have activities all year long too. Keep a craft/supplies box, trade supplies with friends and best of SHARE your ideas! :) (it's always nice to share right?)
3. Don't be so worried about the mess. Yes if you get out paint there is probably going to be a bit of a mess. Let them get a bit dirty without you being uptight or upset about it. Enjoy the creative moment together and clean it up when they are all done - better yet, have them help!
4. Be willing to improvise - use what you have on Hand, go with the flow, be flexible.
All these ideas are just a jumping point for you. Take them and tweak them for your family size, kids ages, likes and dislikes and apply them for all year round!
- Schedule the fun! Kids love some structure or to know or count on certain things. Sit down as a family and "plan" some fun. EX. - First Friday of every month is family movie night. Then make is special. Whether you go the theater or stay home. Bake a goodie together before hand, have a sleep over in the living room, etc.
- Create a summer journal - when school let out for the summer we created summer journals. Just a fun way for my kids to to stash away the magic of summer and create an informal scrapbook. It's full of their thoughts, handwriting, pictures they drew and pictures we took and simply printed out and glued in.
The first page of their journals also contains a current picture of them, weight, height, current friends, shoe size, favorites, etc. Just a few fun statistics to read when they are older.
- Create a Summer Fun Calendar/Schedule. Ask them what they want to DO this summer - list it on one side of the paper and title the other side - Things we DID. Keep a running tally of all the fun! They can't say they never did anything fun this summer when it is all listed out! Other ideas - Books we want to READ/Books we READ, Places we want to go/Places we WENT. Also have them help you compile a BOREDOM BUSTERS list they can refer to when they get bored! Hang it up where they can see it (at their level).
- PICNICS! Who doesn't love to have a Picnic! I shared a 2 sided handout full of different picnic ideas for Summer/Winter/Rainy days. (click HERE to download a copy)
- Camping outside in the backyard
- Try a new park each week - don't forget about school playgrounds too.
- Go on a Nature/Scavenger Hunt - give your kids a small paper sack and have then collect certain colors, textures, etc.
- 100 days of Summer - Activity ideas from Memorial Day to Labor Day (click here to download a copy)
- Letterboxing.org - It's like a local treasure hunt that your kids will LOVE
- Mary Poppins Bag - (refer to my previous tutorial on how to create this) Extra ideas - Print out a map, games, dot to dots, mazes, etc. Convert an old metal cookie sheet into a game/lap board. I sprayed painted one blue, took a paint pen and drew a tic tac toe board on side and then drew some X's and O's on the tops of some small magnets. Create an I SPY BOOK to slip in too!
- The "mary poppins bag" theme can easily be adjusted for a fun day at home too! Pick and theme and have activities lined throughout the day.
- Spin Art
- Paper Plate Masks - We create these all the time! From Jack Sparrow to Power Rangers to Princesses. Cut out the some eye holes for your kids if they are too young to use scissors and let their imagination RUN! Add yarn for hair, use construction paper to add hats, crowns, etc. Then use some elastic thread and a hole punch to make it slip on and off easily!
- Newsprint Paper - Does your local newspaper get rid of sell the end of the newsprint paper rolls? Ours does for only a couple of dollars on a certain day each month. Snatch up a roll or two! These are great for activities all year long. Cover the table and then color/paint. Trace their bodies and have then fill in their features, draw clothing etc. Hang a long piece outside on your fence in the summer and let them paint, or fill spray bottles with water and a couple drops of paints and spray the paper. Then it can dry while it's hanging and you can let the kids run through the water to clean up!
- T-shirt Capes - These are a great no sew item to create. Be sure to click on the link for the tutorial.
- Muffin Tin Monday - Oh your kids will LOVE you for creating such a fun lunch! Ooodles of ideas and answers to all your FAQ's about how to do this!
- The Crafty Crow - HUGE amount of crafts for all sorts of topics/types and ages
- Book/Activity - Take a book, read it together and create a fun activity that goes along with it. Take a look at what Nic did with her kids and the book Sweet Dream Pie - GREAT family activity!!!!
- Mini Camps - Gather your friends/neighbors and set up some mini classes/camp for summer or during the school year too! 1 wk they go to so and so's house for a Sewing Class, then the next week go to another house for Painting Project, etc. (remember - use your resources!)
- Papier Mache - we have had fun creating our own pinata. Create masks, globes, etc.
- Decopauge - fun for ANY age and so many uses too!
- STAYCATION - make the most of staying in town! Be sure to visit the link for ideas, instructions and print outs!!! they are fabulous!