In Stay-cation Mode?
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Are you staying close to home this summer? Since our homeschool schedule is flexible, we take a week of vacation just before school gets out for summer. It is a great time to travel, and most places we tend to go aren’t crowded yet. But, because of my husband’s work schedule, we usually spend the rest of the summer at home.
We consider ourselves to be local legends in a sense, because many of our neighbors hit the road for most of the summer. We love to explore our city’s attractions, and off-the-beaten-path locales while we have longer lazy days. Of course, we love to hop in the car and visit some of our city’s museums, parks, ice cream parlors, and movie theaters.
We also enjoy doing things as a family that support our community and local businesses. But for the most part, my kids just want to spend the day playing outside. We also have a troop of buddies that come to play in our yard, taking advantage of our big skateboard-friendly driveway, and our magical fort/playhouse in the woods.
Surviving Summer at Home
As any mom will tell you, however, the reality of the long summer season, is that kids inevitably play the ‘I’m bored’ card all too often, and Mom is the one who usually has to deflect it. Before long, you begin to feel like survival mode has kicked in.
Many times, starting off with a structured activity leads to unstructured play. Giving kids an idea usually gets them going, and then their imaginations will take over. With a few inexpensive playthings, you can mix things up for variety.
Summer days really are fleeting, and the school year begins all-too-soon. So make the most of unstructured time and do more than just survive summer–THRIVE it! Check out our summer list of playtime essentials for ideas, and if all else fails, declare “NAP TIME!” I guarantee the kids will go running outside! 😉
It doesn’t take much to make a summer at home fun for our kids and their friends. Read on for a list of affordable and easy playtime ideas. These items are easy to mix and match and use for multiple activities!
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Here are some of our tried-and-true summer playtime essentials:
- Water! It will be the main ‘toy’ kids will flock to during the sweltering weather
- Water squirters
- Foam swords, or pool noodles for ‘battling’
- Summer themed books for sharing, when it’s time for a rest. (Our local library is a regular summer destination)
- Balloons (just remember to pick up the pieces and discard safely)
- Comfy waterproof shoes, a must for backyard running around to avoid boo-boos!
- Hula hoops
- Sidewalk chalk
- Flying discs
- Bug nets and a magnifying glass
- Toy cars and trucks
- Swim trunks
- Kiddie pool (for cooling off, refilling water squirters, rinsing off feet, washing toys)
- Sand buckets
- Rashguard shirts
- Skateboard/Scooter/Bike/Trike/Wagon/ANY riding toy!
- Nature journal and color pencils
- Seed packets, garden tools, watering can
- Inflatable balls
- Ring Toss
- Small plastic animals
- Sandbox (it can be a small storage box of sand)
- Cones and markers
- Plastic bats and balls
Activities you can do with items from the summer essentials list:
- Set up an obstacle course
- Freeze small toys in large block of ice (use a drink carton) for ‘excavating’
- Have a water balloon or water-squirter ‘war’
- Play tag
- Have a relay race
- Plant and tend a garden
- Play capture the flag
- Play hide-and-seek
- Study outdoor nature finds
- Make a collection (rocks, leaves, texture rubbings, colors)
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Draw a roadway with sidewalk chalk for toy cars and trucks
- Have a toy car carwash
- Run around wild and free!
- Play farm, jungle, zoo, animal rescue, dinosaur world, veterinary hospital
- Play ball
- Set up a backyard Olympics
- Camp out
- Have a backyard picnic
- Play hopscotch
- Play driveway tic-tac-toe
- Go on an ‘expedition’
What other ideas do you have for easy ways to thrive this summer? How are you a local legend?
Don’t forget your older kids. They need less screen time and more activity time, too! Even my older kids still like to play, and it’s good for them! You’re never too old for an old-fashioned water balloon war, are you?
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