50 Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer.

Summer always worries me a little bit.  It means kids home all day, everyday.  It might mean boredom, laziness, and more sibling quarrels.  But it can also mean quality time, memories made and lots of laughter.  Summer can either be a time of survival - or it can be a time to expand on the very foundation you dream of building in your kids.  You can rack up ideas to send your children out of your home to "make things easier" or you can allow God to use the everyday moments to grow every family member and create magical moments together.  As parents we all deserve, and NEED, our breaks, don't get me wrong, but this summer will you commit to using the time given you to grow together as a family?  50 ideas right here that are simple, easy and cost efficient.  Feel free to add your own in the comments! 

(PS I will be editing and adding links and pics as I dig them up but I thought I had better get this posted sooner rather than later!  My kids' friends are wishing they lived with us to take part in our 50 things.)
  1. Take them to the local pool.  Park districts, a friends house, the YMCA, local gym.  Make it a weekly thing.
  2. Sprinkler fun outside.  Use your imagination and gather water balloons, water guns, spray bottles.
  3. Family movie day.  Don't forget the popcorn!
  4. Head to the local museum.
  5. Hit the zoo.
  6. Choose a place to hike - a local national park or any trail will do.
  7. Set up a tent - INDOORS!  Complete with blanket forts, sleeping bags and let the kids "rough" it out of the heat of summer.  They will love it!
  8. Have a "snow ball fight".  Don't throw away your used paper anymore.  Save it and tear it up into differing sizes, crumple it up and have a paper snow ball fight!  Couch cushions work great as forts.
  9. Sidewalk chalk paint!
  10. Set up an obstacle course outdoors.  Use items you can find in your garage.  Think balance beams, crawling over and under, stepping through and around.  Once kids get the hang of it they'll start rearranging and making their own unique course (make sure the items are safe).
  11. Learn a new language together.  Write out simple object words on post it notes and label items in your house.  As the kids start to learn, rearrange them and have them "fix" the mistakes.  Watch how they start to work together as a team to figure it out.
  12. Buy some seeds and grow some plants!  Put the kids in charge of watering and checking in on their "babies".  They'll learn basic gardening skills (you might too!) and enjoy seeing something grow from almost nothing.
  13. Scavenger hunts are always fun.  You don't have to make it complicated.  Make out a few lists of some random items that can be found outdoors (different leaves, birds, sticks, rocks, bugs, flowers, etc) and head out into the neighborhood or a local park to check off the items.  
  14. Ice hockey on a hot day!  Make up some extra ice cubes and create a couple of sticks and kids will have fun batting the "puck" back and forth on the driveway until it melts.  Just pull out another cube and keep playing.
  15. Ice sculptures/castles.  Chunks of ice or small cubes can make great castles.  Ice is easily held together with salt.  
  16. Budget a dollar amount and head to the Dollar Store.  Have the kids gather supplies to come up with creating a gift for grandma or grandpa.
  17. Make a game.  Cardboard, markers and a plan.  Let imagination go.  
  18. Buy each child a disposable camera and choose a theme - maybe it's letters of the alphabet, simple things in nature, shapes or animals.  
  19. Start a question jar.  When your kids ask you a question of how something works or what something does that you aren't sure of, write it down and add it to the jar.  When you're stuck in a "bored" day, pull one out and teach your kids about research and learn something new together.
  20. Hit the library and join a summer reading program.  Each child can read separately or you can choose a harder book to devour as a family.
  21. Devotional time can be fine tuned during the summer.  Grab a kid friendly devotional book, set a daily time and watch your kids' hunger for God grow.
  22. Learn to play an instrument.  Sign up for a class or simple figure it out at home.  No perfection necessary.  Experiment!
  23. Speaking of experiment, science experiments are awesome.  Lots of ideas on the internet depending on the age of your kid that are hands on and fun.
  24. Crafts!  Who doesn't love craft projects?  Walmart has some great boxed projects to do together.  No thinking required.  
  25. Art!  What kid doesn't love painting and getting messy?  Head to the butcher shop and ask for some paper.  Give your kids a huge space to work on and see what they can create.
  26. Make your own bubbles.
  27. Got a video camera?  Have your kids make their own TV show, commercials and all.  You will all laugh watching it on the big screen later!
  28. Sign the kids up for a sport through the park district.  Stay there with them during classes.  If everyone can't do the same class, yes it means lots of sitting for you and other little ones that can't yet participate but you know what?  Your kid will remember you being there and will appreciate it more than you know (unless of course they are older and begging you to leave them on their own, then by all means, just use your judgement.)
  29. Check into the local VBS programs at other churches you know and trust.
  30. Bake together!  There are many no bake recipes that don't require the use of a hot oven in the midst of summer (thank goodness for that).  Settle on a few and spend half a day whipping some up.
  31. Grab a map and mark off a 75 mile radius around where you live.  See what falls into the circle and what new places you might be able to explore in a day.  If your kids travel well, expand your distance!
  32. Find a local lake or park with water and plan a picnic.  Maybe while there you can learn to fish too?
  33. Homemade play doh!
  34. Tie dye shirts.  It's messy but fun.  My kids still wear the ones we made a few summers ago even though they are way too small on them.  
  35. Wash the car together!  Bathing suits and hoses = fun!
  36. Go ice skating.  Not so cost efficient but it's something to save up for.  It will be well worth it in the heat of summer.
  37. Make and fly a kite.
  38. Head out with a missionary mindset.  See who you can bless.  Load up the car with cold bottled water to hand out in the heat of summer.  Candies for children.  Notes and cards made by the kids to hand out.  Watch people's surprised looks seeing your family bless them.  If you can bless financially, do that too!  Pay for someone's gas, groceries or coffee.  What a great example for your kids to witness and definitely makes for great conversation later as you reminisce about the day.
  39. Visit a local dog park.  Many owners welcome someone else to throw the ball of slobber for their pooch.  Just make sure you approach the OWNER first to ask if it's ok and avoid dogs with yellow ribbons on their leashes (this is a signal the dog needs more space or doesn't react well to other animals or children).
  40. Learn to make soap!  
  41. Grocery shop.  Yes, that's on my list.  Give each child a mini list of things to find and a budget.  Teach them to read labels and compare costs while choosing items on their list.  A great way to practice math skills.  Plan on your trip taking thrice the time it normally does!
  42. Make mud pies!  Oh come on, get out some pie tins and molds and let the kids have at that dirt in the backyard.  They can hose themselves off when they are done.
  43. Build something with your own two hands.  It's easy to find some plywood, nails and a hammer.  Be careful with the little hands and definitely requires adult supervision.  From birdhouses to see saws - there are lots of things that can be done!
  44. Volunteer at a nursing home.  Many nursing homes welcome children and pets to visit the elderly.  Call around if you think your children would enjoy the opportunity to love on grandmas and grandpas.
  45. Mid-summer bash!  Why not plan a party, just for fun?  Call a few friends with children, put your money together to rent a bounce house, bring a few appetizers and bam, you got yourself a party!
  46. Make a pinata.  Learn paper machie.  Learn how to SPELL paper machay.  Fill it with whatever goodies you like.  Use it for the party mentioned in #45 or whenever the mood strikes.
  47. Write a story.  Work together on pictures and a story.  When complete, take it to Office Max where you can bind it up like an actual book.  Trust me, the kids will think it's the coolest thing ever and want to do it everyday.
  48. Visit local recycling center, many will give tours.
  49. Make sock puppets and hold a puppet show.  Use buttons, felt, hot glue and old socks.  
  50. Tour a firehouse and/or police station.  If you have friends that work there, even better.  :)

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