Summer is a great time for doing fun things with the kids – but it’s easy to run out of ideas for activities. Sharla Feldscher - the KIDFUN author whose blog www.kidfunandmore.com offers one easy tip a day for parents and caregivers of children who are 2 ½ to 8 - provides these tips to keep the kids entertained and happy in very easy ways.
Get the kids started with these KIDFUN tips or join in the fun. After all, what could be better than sharing a laugh or a smile together! Here are some ideas for the kids to do with you – or without you. The activities are provided in three categories – the Great Outdoors; At the Pool or Beach; or on a Car Trip.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS:
* Painter for Hire: With a bucket of water and several size paint brushes, the kids can paint EVERYTHING! – the steps, a table, a bench, toys … themselves!
* Lunch in the “Tent”: Okay, it’s not really a tent – it’s a sheet! Throw it over a jungle gym, a table and crawl inside with PB & J and a juice box and cookies! After lunch, give them crafts to do “in the tent,” too!
* Beach Ball Flips: Some schools have giant parachutes for all kinds of games. Families can have the same fun with a sheet, where everyone holds on and tries to flip a bouncing beach ball OFF it! Lots more games, too.
* Walk Like The Count: Take a walk and make it a challenge … guess how many steps away is the traffic light, the fire hydrant, the red car parked five cars away. It’s fun and not so easy! Make that walk go much faster than expected.
* Follow Me: Another bit of fun for a young child is to walk in variations – be a giant taking gigantic strides, be a mouse with teeny steps, be a soldier and march … fly, twirl, hop, jump – let your child be the leader and then you give it a try.
FUN AT THE POOL AND BEACH:
There are so many easy-to-do activities to do at the pool and beach. Don’t dare bring an electronic toy!
* Treasure Hunt in the Sand: Hide a penny in a designated spot, smooth the sand on top of it and with a popsicle stick, poke around to find that penny! Take turns.
* Sand Bowling: Dig six holes in the sand, in a pyramid shape, like the pins in a bowling alley. Smooth the area in front of the holes … you know, like a lane! Then, roll a tennis ball down the lane, trying to get it in a hole. Try it again and again.
* Draw it in the Sand: To fill an idle moment, smooth an area of sand and make that the drawing board. The “crayon” is a small stick, popsicle stick or, perhaps, the flat end of a shovel. Make a picture, smooth it over and make another … and another!
* Basketball in the Pool: Using the largest Tupperware bowl or cake carrier you have, take a nerfball or some kind of soft ball and play basketball in a swimming pool or the wading pool in the backyard.
* Squirt Away!: The best part of being at the beach or pool is that getting wet IS the plan … so if you bring a cleaned out basting tube or a new spray bottle, the kind you can buy at the dollar store, fill it with water and let your child start spraying, with permission. Maybe Aunt Annie doesn’t want to go in the pool but would love to have her arms and legs cooled down. The perfect job for a child!
Kids don’t need TV’s or handheld electronic toys to have fun … you have each other!
Okay, pretend it’s the “good old days” … remember way back when you actually took a car ride and were NOT entertained by electronics?? Remember, the games you played, try it. Your child will be just as happy – maybe happier sharing a laugh with you.
* Wave if You’re Famous: Before the trip, make a sign on cardboard, even a piece of paper, that says “Wave if You’re Famous” … have your child hold it on the window and watch to see if people read it and do it! Let’s make friends along the way. Bet you’ll all laugh at the expressions on people’s faces!
* What Do You See?: This is so simple – and obvious, it’s almost too easy to mention. But, look for things and take turns sharing what you see. For a preschooler, making observations together is fun and awakening. Pick categories, too. What red things do you see? What round things? You get the idea.
* Billboard Explorations: Don’t you look at billboards and are sometimes amazed at how a company chooses to advertise a product? How ‘bout those 3-Dimensional Chick Filet billboards with the cow popping out of it! Talk about the billboards and ask your child what they are advertising, would they buy, how would they sell it if they created a billboard. Clue them in to advertising strategy. It’s all around them – help them “get it” at a young age!
* Count the Trucks, Count the Traffic Lights: Pick a number – like 18 – and take turns counting trucks, for example, until you reach that number together. Then pick another item to count like gas stations, traffic lights, stop signs. It’s simple but it’s a time filler and nothing is more important than filling time in a car.