Boredom Defying Summer Fun on a Budget

It’s finally almost summer and I’m already brainstorming about how we can make the most of our never ending really long summer vacation.

Yes, we’re lucky because we live right on the beach. But that’s off limits between 10am and 5pm when the sun exposure is at its worst. And while I love the idea of spending my afternoons lounging by the sea, just the mere thought of packing half our house (food, towels, buckets, shovels, rakes etc) with 3 kids in tow, then chasing them all over while screaming at the top of my lungs and praying no one drowns… well, it’s kind of discouraging to say the least.

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So after a very productive brainstorming session I’ve come up with some easy sunny day (or rainy day), indoor (or outdoor) activities that will be a definite hit with the kids! You won’t need to break the bank, and you don’t need a large backyard or even a balcony. So here goes…

Activity #1- Bubbles

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What you will need: Store bought bubble liquid OR to make you own bubbles, mix these- 1.4 liters water, ½ cup light corn syrup (this makes the bubbles really strong), and 1 cup liquid dish soap.

Who doesn’t love bubbles? No, seriously, who doesn’t love bubbles?! I used to go broke buying bubbles for 3 very clumsy, accident prone kids that go through several bottles of bubbles a Day. And don’t even get me started on that bubble machine!!! So I finally caved and made my own bubbles!

Let your kids blow bubbles like there’s no tomorrow! Blow, chase, catch, repeat!

Activity #2- Chalk

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What you will need: Chalks, sidewalk, chalkboard contact paper

When I was a kid, all my mom had to do was give me a box of chalks and she wouldn’t see me for the rest of the day. The possibilities are endless! Sidewalk masterpieces, hopscotch games, tic tac toe, even twister! If you want an endless supply of sidewalk chalk play ideas, check out these sidewalk chalk games!

When the sidewalk is not an option, there’s always blackboard contact paper for indoor play. They sell rolls of it at bookstores and hardware stores. Stick it on the wall, or on a big piece of cardboard and let your kids draw their hearts out. Bonus- My middle child, who is not particularly fond of writing or reading, is more than willing to both read and write if given chalks… he’s practicing his language skills without even realizing it because he thinks he’s playing!

Activity #3 (with lots of sub-activities)- Water Fun

What you will need: spray water bottles, old markers, really big syringes, containers for water, and lots and lots of water.

  • Water Spraying Just Because: You don’t need a fancy water table for endless water fun at home. You don’t even need to be outdoors for this one! If you own a water spray bottle, you’re about 90% set. Just this afternoon my boys spent an hour spraying water into the sink, aiming at cups and mugs that I had placed in there. I’m not exaggerating. I have no idea why they were so mesmerized by the activity, but it worked!
  • Spraying at Targets: A really fun game, and one that helps kids build aiming and fine motor skills, is spraying at targets. Get a large container and fill it with rubber ducks, or other floating objects. See how many they can spray!
  • Color Wheel Experimenting: If you have old markers lying around, they’re perfect for colouring water! My eldest, who is a little scientist at heart, discovered this a few months ago when he was gifted a microscope kit for his birthday. He would stick old, redundant markers into a container with water and wait for the water to turn the color of the marker. Then he would experiment by mixing different colors together to see what color he would end up with. It was a great color wheel learning tool! Give it a go!

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  • Color Spray Painting: Better yet, get several water spray bottles and fill them with your “colored” water. Get a sheet of paper and color spray! Who knew your old markers had nine two lives!
  • Learning about Capacity and Volume: Get two plastic containers. Fill one up with water. Have your child use the really big syringe to suck out the water from one container and empty it into the other. This activity is really great for improving those fine motor skills and teaching kids about volume and capacity. You can even do one big container and 2 or 3 smaller ones to demonstrate that smaller containers have less capacity and therefore can’t fit all of the water from the big container.

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When it comes to playtime and exploring, simple open ended games where the most important component of play is imagination never ever get old. I’ve discovered that it’s the simplest of things that give the most excitement, endless play and learning opportunities. And they’re age appropriate for all kids!

The above are just a guideline to get the ball rolling. I hope your kids enjoy discovering and exploring these funtastic activities as much as we did!

 

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