Frugal Summer Fun Activities
When I was a kid, summer meant a lot of things: yard sales, plastic lawn chairs, water hoses, catching lightning bugs, thunderstorms, ice cream cones and sunbathing.
Now that I'm a parent, summer means trying to keep a preschooler occupied all day, all summer long! Below is a list of fun and inexpensive ways to keep kids from getting bored and blue during the summer.
Add these fun outdoor activities to your summer to-do list!
Never underestimate the power of water! Let your kids run around the sprinklers or through the water hose. Put them to use helping you wash the car, or let them wash their bikes or other outdoor toys that have collected dust since last summer. Get some big sponges in different colors and shapes to make it fun.
You don't have to go far to have a nice picnic lunch. Head out to your front yard or even to the park with a basket, a blanket and a bucket of toys: shovels, water guns, balls, a Frisbee or a wind toy if it's a windy day. Let your kids help out from picking out the lunch to packing the basket.
Pitch a tent in your backyard, and let the kids pretend they are camping. Build a pretend fire – or a real one if they are old enough – roast marshmallows, look at the stars and tell stories around the fire.
Go for a walk, and make it an insect adventure. Bring along a magnifying glass, and help your preschooler spot different insects from ants to ladybugs to spider webs.
Kids can help you in the garden easily by watering plants, helping get rid of weeds and spreading mulch. Kids can also paint and decorate flower boxes or signs for your flowerbeds or vegetable plants. With the seed packets, cardboard, glue and a stake, you can have the rows of your garden labeled in style. Waterproof the signs by covering them with tape.
Before you leave the house, write down a list of things that remind you of summer: a water hose, a lemonade stand, bumble bees, someone washing their car, a lawn chair, a lawn mower, etc. Take your preschoolers in a wagon around the neighborhood, and try to find as many things on the list as possible.
They aren't as popular as they used to be, but kids who love movies will enjoy packing up the car with a cooler, pillows, blankets and lawn chairs to watch a movie and eat popcorn under the starry sky. It's much cheaper than going to a theater, especially when you pack your own snacks.
Sometimes it's just too hot to play outside. These fun and refreshing inside activities can help cool and quiet down your preschoolers.
Let your kids pretend they are on vacation at a fun resort. Bring in the paddle pool (minus the water!), and let them sit around it on towels or in sand chairs wearing their bathing suits. They can pretend they are at a resort pool, and you can be the waitress. Take their poolside drink and food orders. Bring them fun fruit smoothies – blend yogurt, orange juice and ice with fresh fruit for a tasty frozen and healthy drink. Add toothpicks with cherries or pineapple slices and little umbrellas or crazy straws for fun!
Ice Cream Parlor
Open your own ice cream parlor right in the kitchen. Set up your kitchen table with bowls of sprinkles, crushed Oreo cookies or Graham crackers, M&Ms, chocolate syrup, strawberries or other favorite toppings for your kids. Let them build their own ice cream sundaes by scooping out their favorite ice cream into bowls and adding their choice of extras.
Bring in a bucket full of multi-sized stones with smooth surfaces. Let the kids paint animals, shapes or their names on the stones with acrylic paints. You can use the stones in your garden or walkway.
Play Dough or Jell-O
Have some fun with play dough by letting your preschooler use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. This is a good learning tool for identifying colors, animals and other shapes. For a cool and edible treat, use Jell-O instead.
Make a Postcard or a Scrapbook
Get some construction paper, markers and scissors, and help your little one make a postcard for a far-away relative. Let your child pick out a few pictures from a fun family event (a vacation, July 4th, etc.), and paste them on the postcard to send to a family member who wasn't there. Your preschooler can also help you pick out pictures, stickers and other art for a scrapbook of your family's summer vacation.