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What Do You Do in the Summer Months?!

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I received quite a few emails from readers asking for tips/suggestions/ideas for keeping summertime boredom at bay. So I am asking all of you to share your thoughts on how to keep your kids entertained throughout the summer months without spending any money. Here is one of the recent emails that I have received…

I am the mom of 2 amazing kids, a boy, 4 and girl, 2. I am lost when it comes to keeping them busy during the summer months. I would love to know what other readers do to keep their kids busy or occupied during the day. We love to go outdoors, but can’t when raining or too hot. Any ideas/activities would be greatly appreciated.

In addition to combating boredom, I have received a few emails about how to provide healthy snacks on a budget that are car-friendly/travel-friendly…

With summer break right around the corner (tomorrow, YIKES) and the kiddos being home full time along with a busy activity schedule, I am starting to panic about our food costs going up along with finding cheap snack and take along food ideas! (I am going to set our goal to grabbing fast food once a week) I am fairly new to couponing and would love to hear the ideas of moms who have struggled with this before!

Please share your suggestions in the comment section below!! Thanks so much! 🙂

Join The Discussion

Comments 134

  1. Laura L

    Every year around this time I begin searching the city website for free kids programs and activities. I also use various websites-such as makingfriends.com to find simple craft ideas that can be made with a lot of things we have around the house. We have very busy activity schedules and my kids love it when I make ham and cheese “pinwheels.” Just take the new crescent roll dough that is one sheet, unroll it, put on a layer of mustard (which the kids don’t really know is there) top with slices of ham and shredded cheese, we like monterrey jack, but you can use any kind. Roll into a log and slice up. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake @375 for about 12 minutes-until dough is browned. We take these everywhere with pretzels and grapes/strawberries and the kids always love it!

    • Christie Funkhouser

      Yum

    • Knight2boys

      Great lunch idea.

      • Lisa S.

        we have used this same idea but instead of the ham, use browned ground beef/turkey for a Cheeseburger roll up. can’t wait to try it with ham!

  2. Erin M.

    Check out your local library! We have events there for kids of all ages twice a week and everything is free! Puppet shows, pirate parties, and a carnival are on the schedule for this summer. Plus, by completing the summer reading program (me reading to my kids, 4 years and 2 years,) we score tons of free coupons for activities in our area. We also have a program at our local Movie Theater that offers a free kids movie every week on Tues and Wed mornings! With all this and meeting up with some other moms and kiddos at the park once a week we have free fun all summer!! 🙂

  3. Michele

    Being an artist myself, on those days that were too hot to play outside or raining or we days we didn’t have a pool invitation, I tried to encourage artful expression and learning basic life skills. All three of my children could wash their own clothes by the time they were 10. We also took advantage of local library activites as well as historical places nearby, but still within our state. Some of the art things we did were drawing pictures w/ water color pencils before a rain shower, then hanging them outside on the clothes line to see how the rain changed the picture. I also painted the door in the laundry room with chalkboard paint. That way we could side walk chalk on the door. We would sometimes make our own side walk chalk with toilet paper tubes, paris of plaster and unsweetened koolaid packets. Another idea with watercolors would be to mix a small amount with bubbles then blow the colored bubbles on paper to make pictures. Our most favorite summer activity that we did was to make a hallway into the “jungle”. We used butcher paper to cover the ceiling and walls and each day we would add things you would find in the jungle. They had tons of fun playing pretend in that “jungle” everyday. My children are either teens or grown now, and for now, none of them really care much about being artistic, but hopefully one day they will share some of these with their children. I hope you will too. We created a lot of memories doing simple things.

    • jamie e.

      Sounds like alot of fun! I might have to write some of these down for when I have kids!!!

    • Jessica

      Love the jungle hallway idea!!!!! How creative!!!!!

      • Tricia Hunt

        For my daughter’s tropical theme birthday we made the hallway “under the sea”. Picture of sea creatures on the wall and streamers hanging from the ceiling.Had a blast- the teens help plan it for the younger one.

  4. Johnisha

    I try to find fun things to do around the house with my 5 year old, especially while my 7 month old is napping. Little things like doing an inhouse scavenger hunt or a backyard picnic are favorites at my house. Sometimes my husband will even set up the tent in the backyard and we will pretend to camp. My dauhter loves this. Hope this helps.

  5. KellyJ

    There are many Library activities as stated. But also Michaels arts and craft store has different work shops. We have a museum in our area that even has a small kid section in it. So u might want to call around and see if yours does. I never knew mine did until someone told me. U could always call around to local stores, or food places in your area and Ask if they would be willing to take your kids on a mini field trip of their place and show them around.
    My town has a local chocolate shop that u can go in the back and see how it is made and do some hands on stuff.
    Get recipes online on how to make your own GOO.. Kids love gooey things. With a few ingredients they will spend hours playing with it.
    Playdough is always fun too. and U can make your own of that also. and just use cans, utinsels and such around the house for cookie cutters.
    Buy inexpensive white shirts ( U can use a michaels 40% off or another store) and get some clothing markers/beads/paints or whatever and have a design your own t-shirt day. Another Idea is to use old pillowcases and let them design those. My son loved his! And the nice thing about pillowcases is they are cheap for white ones usually at dollar general or somewhere like that. The same thing can be applied to a pair of tennis shoes. let them color a pair up make them look how they want. Add some cool shoelaces and they are stylin.

  6. Abby H

    Camping in the back yard is always the best! If you have a fire pit, you can roast marshmallows too!

  7. Lynn

    We’re never without a supply of craft kits around here! Our 2 1/2 year old son loves working with his hands on our ‘projects’. We find said projects in the dollar section of JoAnn’s. Just today I picked up a Tissue Art package (cute beach ball!), a paintable wooden mask and foam stickers in various shapes and themes (cupcakes and stars and flags) to make sweet ‘thinking of you’ cards to mail out throughout the year.
    I also keep Crayola Washable Kids Paint in full supply, along with heavy duty paper.
    Some more ideas on the cheap: nature walks (collect things you find), potato stamps, pasta art, and goop. Goop is SO FUN! Recipe:
    1/4 cup liquid starch
    1/4 cup white glue
    1/4 water
    food coloring

    Mix it all up in a sandwich-sized Ziploc and dump onto your play surface.

    Also, we check out kaboose.com all the time for easy, fun crafts, games, printables, etc.
    Enjoy!

  8. Kari Marley

    I’m going to put my 8 year old in charge of researching ways that our family can go “green”. We will also have 4-H projects to assemble, swimming lessons, t-ball, playdates at the park, open swimming at the pool, laundry and cooking lessons, and whatever else anyone might suggest here on this post!

  9. Vicki Miller

    I let my kids do a lemonade stand every year. Usually in May but so far, we have not done it yet. But they look forward to it and it teaches them about money and how it works. They make their own signs, put them up, make their brownies, lemonade, etc. and run their little stand. I am there to supervise. They always have a ball doing this and make around $30. We live in a huge, busy neighborhood. Some other ideas are:
    Yard Sale, (again helps them w/money)
    Block Party (hosted at a neighbor’s house; can rotate from one yr. to next, etc.)
    Slip n Slide, or sprinkler..swimming at different friends’ houses
    Volunteering at local Soup Kitchen or Soup Bowl (depending on age)
    Picnic outside under our own tree w/swing

    *Go to local farmer’s market or curb market and buy corn (still in silks) and/or peas, come home, let the kids peel them, snap them, wash’em and then put up in freezer. It really teaches them a lot of how food gets to us and how valuable it is.
    *Buy canvas or find some cardboard even, and let children do self portraits of one another. You will be surprised what they come up with!
    *Tour local animal shelter, help find dogs/cats homes.. There is so much local community stuff your child can do and participate in to learn more about everything around them! 🙂

  10. Rebecca W.

    We always check our library (year round). I have twin toddlers and there is at least one activity a week that they can participate in. As they get older there are even more…and they are all free!

    Also check meetups.com for a group with kids your age or a group that plays at different local parks each week…I just found a group near us and learned of all sorts of hidden treasures I never knew about!

  11. Catherine

    In the summer we love to go to nearby farms and pick our own blueberries, strawberries, etc. The kids have so much fun eating the fruit and occasionally putting some in their buckets too! I end up freezing a bunch to last us through the winter or you can make homemade jams….yum!

  12. Jennifer Myers

    I purchased a water bounce house end of the season marked half off and then had a $50 coupon!!!!! Pictured here: http://www.babyage.com/little_tikes/70054/little_tikes_rocky_mountain_river_race.htm
    I then rented it out to friends for $20 per rental for parties or summer outings. (A fraction of the price you pay for commercial bounce houses!) And had it paid off in one summer!!! Now our house is the hang out and the kids NEVER get tired of this bounce house. This was such a wonderful purchase. The mom’s sit in the shade and talk and the kids burn off all of their energy and are having too much fun to argue with each other.

  13. Tonya

    When my kids were younger, we would go to the Cobb Theaters to the FREE movies. If you live near one, check their website it has schedule for whole summer.
    We also purchased one of the above ground pool that you inflate the top. Cheaper than joining anywhere and closer to home =)

  14. Sara P

    When it’s too hot/raining and there’s no free stuff around town (we get free movies, story times, etc.) I pull out the craft box. You can easily stock up on kid friendly crafts from Hobby Lobby, Micheals and Joanns by shopping sales, using coupons and working the clearance isle. I also let my kids paint with food sometimes. They like messy things.

  15. Sakura

    My son loves camping in the backyard and running through any water!! At our local outdoor mall they have a really awesome fountain that all the kids play in. The water is timed to music! He loves going there and playing in the water.

    Snacks are simple, lunch meat, cheese and fruit. We always have water and crystal light with us, this way when we run out we can refill it at any water fountain!

    I love summer because my family turns into light eaters, lots of salads, soups and grilled items! My son will eat any type of finger food.

  16. jen

    I’ll start with one that hasn’t been mentioned….a HUGE cardboard box. Are neighbors having appliances or patio furniture delivered? Go to home depot, sears, appliance store or anywhere and ask them if they have big box they haven’t broken down. I caught the delivery guy as they unloaded a fridge last year across the street. My kids played with that box for over a month. I dragged the thing in and out of the garage. This year a neighbor gave us a box. It’s now got rocks, markers, paper and crayons in it. We drag it in and out of the garage. My kids spent an hour in my garage the last rainy day!

    http://www.kidsbowlfree.com 2 free strings of bowling a day for kids – you pay for shoe rentals.
    as mentioned, lots of theaters have free movies
    barnes and noble and borders are both doing summer reading programs
    lowes, home depot, michael’s and acmoore have kids workshops

    LIBRARY is a must. Mine has a ton of different passes for museums, kids play spaces, zoos, etc. We borrow movies. Summer is loaded with kids crafts, reading programs, story times, etc.

  17. Leah

    Join your local MOMS Club chapter! Not only will you have a ton of great ideas for your children to do this summer, but you might also find some invaluable support and make some great new mommy relationships!

  18. Teresa B.

    There is a web site and newsletter of which I recently found, grandparents.com,. There are printable activities on this site that my 5 year old grandson loves, mazes, color by number & connect the dot. You can search through this site based on your child’s age. There is also a guide called “100 free things to do with your grandkid” that is full of lots of great ideas.

    Inexpensive treats for the car: buy regular sized bags of pretzels, goldfish, marshmellows, raisins (try yogurt covered raisins or other dried fruits), nuts & popcorn (if your child is older than two) and mix them together and put portions in small baggies. Get travel cups (with lids & straws) for juice or water. Use empty plastic pop bottles with lids for drinks. Freeze water or juice the night before a trip and when you need them in the car, they will have thawed and remain cold.

    Do remember, that some days you will just get “all activitied out”. Have a great summer!

    Grandmas are just mommies with lots of practice.

  19. maura

    We get a season pass to the town pool and meet friends there a few times a week. I also got a pass to the museum of science in Boston which has a reciprocal agreement with roger wiliams park and zoo in RI and also the Ecotarium in Worcester Ma. So for the price of one membership we can go to three different places. Oh and we go to local craft stores on the days they have “make and takes”- these are free!

  20. Keli Sparks

    We went to the childrens museum in Austin Tx. over spring break, and they had a room filled with recycled stuff: cereal boxes, coke bottles, yogurt containers, butter tubs, peanut butter jars, corks, lids, etc. And they provided glue, scissors, tape, construction paper, pipe cleaners and let the kids create whatever they wanted. My kids had so much fun with the recycled “trash” that I decided to keep a recycle box at home that we can use for crafts. Family Fun magazine had some great “recycle craft” ideas in their last two issues, but my kids really like to come up with their own creations.

  21. Amy H.

    We go to the Regal Cinema free family movies each wk during the summer- they will have 1 that is PG and 1 is G rated so you could actually go 2x each wk (and it has A/C too!).

    We also go to our local library to checkout books, music CDs and DVDs and the kids like to play there in the children’s room, visit the pet guinea pig, play computer games, etc. We also participate in the summer reading program there and the kids get a free book each to keep. Sometimes they have free programs there for the kids- like arts/crafts, storytime, or someone brings therapy dogs or small animals for the kids to interact with.

    We purchase an annual family membership to our local zoo for under $60/yr and then we can go to the zoo as many times as we want. We can also use our pass to get into Zoos in other cities for free as well (if they are reciprocal members which many of them are).

    Last year we also purchased a family membership to the local Science Center and like the Zoo membership, we were also able to get into science centers/museums in neighboring towns for free using the reciprocal membership benefit. For a family of 5, it might cost you $10 each just to visit once, so spending just a bit more for an unlimited yearly membership is a great bargain!

    We go to parks/playgrounds in/around our town to play (change of pace from our own backyard). We have a free water spray park in our town too which we love and it is fun to pack a lunch there and run through the water.

    We go to McDonald’s indoor playland after lunch to play in the slides/tubes/etc and we just buy an ice cream or a drink there.

    • Amy H.

      Forgot to add, usually my kids do 2 weeks of vacation bible school during June (1 wk is free, the other wk at a different church is $25/family and includes t-shirts and water/sports bottles for each of the kids but is still cheap day care for 3 kids for 5 days in a row from 9am til noon!). They really enjoy it. This yr both of the VBS are being held during the exact same wk though so we had to pick only 1 of them to attend.

      I am also sending each child to Grandma’s house for a 1 wk vacation on their own (no brothers/sisters)…Grandma lives 150 milse away and has a pool in her backyard. 🙂

    • Samantha

      This is our 2nd year to have a zoo membership and we LOVE it. My daughter is turning 2, so we have to have the Family membership now, but my zoo let me get my mom’s name and my name on the cards and we added a guest for $20. My husband works 2 jobs and doesn’t get to go with us as much, so with my mom being the other named member, we can do any scenario below for FREE:
      Me + child
      My mom + child
      Me, my husband + child
      My mom, stepdad + child
      My mom and I + child
      Either of us plus any guest + child
      BOTH of us plus any guest + child
      And, of course…we can go by ourselves if we wanted to! Parking is included and this year ( in Memphis) they gave us 3 1/2 price guest passes and we get 15% off in the gift shop. Reg. admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids and $5 to park, so every time I wanted to take my daughter to the zoo, it would be $30 where the whole membership with a guest cost us $119 which my mom and I split.

  22. Jessica

    Summer or anytime during the year we paint in the shower – easy clean-up. We tape paper all over and just have fun. If paint is not on the agenda we use shaving cream. Other activites we may do – If its to hot for outdoor We bring the sand and water table inside – if you have young kids this is great . Actually any tote will do. In the kitchen it can be a boat race or a monster truck sand pit. Fill it with dried pasta or beans give them spoons, measuring cups, and they love it. Have a great summer

  23. Michelle

    Let them play, play, play, let them use their imaginations, and be creative, and it doesn’t have to cost a mint!! They’re so scheduled throughout the school year, that they need to learn what it is to be a kid again. Let them chill, every minute of every day doesn’t have to be jam-packed with activities. Growing up, my Dad was in the Military, we just didn’t have a lot of extra money, but what he spent on us was his TIME. He had a cheap flat-bottom boat and he took us kids out almost every weekend. (There were 4 of us, looking back I know it was a break for my Mom, too!) He would let us “explore” by laying across the front of the boat on his stomach and paddling in the shallows to let us reach in and get shells, rocks and anything else we could find, he’d do this for hours!! I don’t remember very many gifts, but I sure do remember those fishing trips. Mom packed peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and sometimes, moon pies, and we usually had a cooler of water, but we had a ball. Looking back, those are such precious, precious memories. Now, I can’t spend a lot on my kids, there are five of them, and it’s a job to just make ends meet, but I want to spend my time on them. It’s an investment I’ll never regret, and we’ll all reap the rewards for a lifetime. Have a wonderful summer and love your little ones up!!

    • Sara

      I agree 100%!! I have many of the same memories and hope my kids will too! 🙂

  24. Julie Ann

    Last summer (I had a 2 & 4 year old + newborn) I found a really cool plastic mat at a yard sale for 25 cents. It had a roads and drawings of a gas station, library, fire station, etc… We recycled old cereal boxes and made them into 3-D town to go on top. We painted the boxes w/ old house paint and decorated them w/ construction paper. The boys got so into it they went on to create all the buildings they regularly visit (church, preschool, museums, etc…) They have “PASSPORTS” that we carry everywhere (little black notepad freebies from back-to-school time) so they could remember the places they go. 1 year later their town is still their favorite toy. The boys even saved jobs for daddy to do when he got home from work (which allowed me peace and quiet while making dinner too 😉

    My other mommy “bible” is Family Fun magazine. Tons of ideas that are VERY age appropriate. I tear out pages and keep them in a rainy day binder.

    • Ashley

      Wow….love this idea!! We have a rug that looks like a city and go through cereal like crazy! Can’t wait to try it

  25. Dana

    Love all the ideas…

    1. Creation Station: fill a large bin with things you’d just recycle anyway (cereal boxes, paper towel holders,etc.), include tape, scissors…and let them just create.

    2. Sticker tag…first one to use up all the stickers wins. Try to get rid of all your stickers before you get all of them on your back.

    3.My neighbors and I are going to rotate our houses for “movie day”. Some of our kids are too little for the movie deals. So we’ll turn our living room into a movie theatre…pillows, popcorn, movie.

    4. We have all tile…my kids love to sit on the floor on a big blanket and play with playdo.

  26. JJ

    There is a nationwide chain of movie theaters that offer free movies on Tuesday and Wednesdays during the summer. Most are in the early morning, but when it’s hot, who cares! It’s fun to be able to take the “younger” crowd and know that IF you need to walk out, you’re not losing 20 bucks!!
    http://www.regmovies.com
    Just call ahead, I used to find lists of movies they offered but can’t seem to find it tonight

  27. ashsme

    We live around alot of factories(utz potato chips, martins potato chips, harley davidson, and rutters farm) and they always offer free factory tours. And most of the time you get free samples at the end of the tour! Of course this is a better idea for older kids, but for the younger kids you can always to a play date, playdough, dancing, puppet shows, or go to the park!

  28. Julia

    I am planning to use the daily activity calendar that is found in the latest issue of Thriving Family (a Focus on the Family publication).

  29. Tracy

    Here is a radical idea…plan ahead! I find that we often give up schedules in the summertime. Try using all these great ideas and put together a weekly/monthly plan. By having a plan you eliminate a lot of the stress each day generated by the worry – what are we going to do today? Also, little kids love routine so structure in snacks, lunch, naptime, etc. to make for a happier and more restful summer. The same can be true of snacks. They really need less variety than we do so feeding them the same thing over and over makes them happy! Try freezing yogurt tubes and bringing them along! Juice pouches and boxes also freeze well for travel.

  30. Ashley

    Days can get very monotonous so we change it up a little by making a bug lunch! My son is 3 and tells all of his frieds about these (and ask for them all the time)! Several ideas we have used: Lady bug- cut an apple in half dig out a few small holes and poke chocolate chips in. Worms – cut hot dogs into thin worm-like strips and microwave. Ants – just raisens. Butterfly- use cookie cutters for sandwichs or use peanut butter on pretzel to hold them together and a small grape for the head. Catepillars – line grapes up in a row or put a little green food coloring in mac and cheese and pretend its a bowl full of them. Bugs on leaves- spinach leaves with a few gummy bugs on them. Gummy worms are always a favorite and whatever juice we have on had is bug juice!! Muffin Tin Mom has a lot of fun luch ideas on her blog as well…every Monday she has a new theme and serves her lunches in muffin tins to change it up a little!!

  31. Jilly

    My daughters love to play library. They set up on the piano bench a stack of books, markers, stamps, and paper. They make tickets and due slips. I bought some library card pockets for the backs of books at a school supply store. Anytime you walk by the library, you have to check out a book. Keeps them busy and they rediscover old books they forgot they had.

  32. tabatha

    I love being a sahm but the summer can definitely be challenging since everyone around us is usually traveling and its also my husband’s busiest time if the year. This year we have started a garden and early every morning the kids want to water the plants. Then we go out after lunch every day to play in the sprinklers (which waters the herb garden at the same time). I have a little beach mat that I lay out on and just enough under the sprinkler where I can lay out and relax while watching the kids wear themselves out playing in the water. If I just dont feel like being at home I take the kids to the park, or an indoor play area like McDonalds or Chick Fil A (after we have already eaten) and meet up with other moms or use that time to clip coupons/stack my deals. If you are looking to save gas/money/time I advise investing in a play set of some sort. TRU always has great deals going on. Just yesterday we bought a swing/slide/seesaw combo and little tykes infant swing for 87 dollars TOTAL between sales and coupons.
    also a LOT of theaters do free summer movies!! I know Cinemark does a 10/5 punch card. This is a great thing to do especially if its rainy, you aren’t up for playing outside, or you are already on the road and need something to fill the time (i do this between dr apt’s like dentist and vision check ups for school….works REALLY well when we have to have shots too)

  33. Lora

    We put out the kiddie pool and sprinklers on a hot day and let them cool off then we have gogurts or homemade popsicles. My kids are also signed up for Vacation Bible School which is so much fun fo the kids and it is a week long and most churches have them.

    Snacks: I get most of my kids snacks at Trader Joe’s and they have dried fruit that is sulfur free and the bananas and mangos are a reasonable price and we pick some up at Farmer’s Markets too. You can also get a food dehydrater for aout $65 and dry your own seasonal fruit which I am going to do this summer.

  34. Nicole

    We joined a local theme park Six Flags. We got season passes for $49 each!! We spend a lot of time there. We also got our group of friends together and we meet once a week at one of their houses, she has a pool. We also join our librarys summer reading program and they have crafts activitites etc. I also bought a slip n slide and a kiddie pool for days when we are at home. Then there is vacation bible school so we tend to do that for one of the weeks.

  35. elizabeth

    We have a healthy snack area in the fridge. Preportioned cut up fruit. 100 calorie cheese packs (I got a lot for free). Hard boild eggs. (the kids love to peel them). apple sauce cups. yougurt. Preportioned veggies and dip. I also freeze turkey sanwiches and pull out in the morning as needed. Every couple of days I make a new pasta salad. Friday is pizza day. We buy frozen dough, cheese and sauce from SAM’s. Its a quick and easy dinner, and the kids have a lot of fun making their own. Eack Pizza (extra large size) costs about $2 to make. I get the dough from the place that sells the pizza and hot dogs. I have noticed that falure to plan often results in my kids getting stuff out, making a mess and me having to clean it up. I also don’t spend my whole day making snacks and cleaning up.

  36. Jackie

    The Little Gym of Colorado Springs is a great place to take your kids durning the Summer months! They have classes with gymnastics, karate, sports, and dance for ages 4 months to 12 years. We love going to the Summer Camps that they offer also. Check it out!

  37. Dianne W.

    A few weeks ago, I started writing down a list of things that my 6.5 yr and 4 yr children can do here at home and another list of things we can do away from home. Already I see a great benefit in this. I normally draw a blank when looking for something to engage them when they are bored (and getting in trouble with each other). Now I can just look at my lists and give them a new and fresh idea.

    A couple of suggestions for the original poster with the 2 and 4 yr olds:
    > An “Easter Egg Hunt” type of activity inside the house. You hide some of their toys in odd places and they have to look for them. (Even a 2 yr old can play that.)
    > Making an indoor tent by spreading blankets or sheets over the backs of chairs. That seemed to hold my kids focus for quite a while (until my younger one would want to pull the sheet off.
    > A big box is great, but it has to be big enough for both of them – or you have one for each.
    > Dot markers (like Bingo stampers) have been fun. They don’t wash off as well as other markers, so be aware of that. I put newspapers on the table first. I have seen Dot markers and Dot marker coloring books at Michaels. You can also make your own coloring pages or print some printables that they can use the dot markers on. Just make sure that the pictures are big with few details as the dot markers are definitely NOT for fine details. (Make sure they dot with them, not slide them – the foam wears off when being slid.)

    One idea I am going to do is to take and print pictures of things they already have in their toys/games storage. I plan to put the pictures in a “grab bag” and when they give me the “I’m Bored” whine – I will have them pull out a picture. If appropriate, I also will have them pick a slip of paper out of an other bag – it will have locations on it such as “under the dining room table” or “in the (dry) bathtub” or “in the corner behind your bed” – and they will need to play with the selected toy in these odd locations. It (hopefully) will inspire them to see new life in what they think is a boring old toy. Hopefully this will work…!

  38. Liz

    After running errands with my 3 small children the thought of getting home and making lunch seems exhausting, so I tended to hit the drive through for our lunch on the way home–unhealthy and expensive. I found a backpack cooler at a yard sale last year and now I just toss frozen PB&J sandwiches (in the summer I try to always have these in the freezer to just grab), whatever fresh fruit I have on hand, and sippy cups of water in it. By the time we’re done with our errands the sandwiches are thawed. I stop at whatever park is nearest, have a picnic, and let the kids run off some energy for a bit. I get my errands done, we have a healthy lunch, and my kids’ my-mom-is-the-greatest meter is through the roof! 🙂

    My kids are little, so I really am just starting my “traditions” but I had the idea of having themes to study for the summer or just until we’re ready to move on to something else. My 3 year old is into fairies, so I thought we’d take our time w/ every fairy book in the library, go on fairy finding walks, and make fairy houses out of collected sticks and nature treasures. Hopefully it turns out as fun in real life as it seems in my mind!! 🙂

  39. alison

    on days i need to get stuff done around the house, i pull out the home-made activity cards for my 3 and 4 yr old. basically they are activities they like to do, most of which i can get them started on then run and do a load of laundry, etc but still be involved with what they are doing. we have about 10 cards and they get to take turns picking which activitiy we do next, each activity we set the timer for 15 minutes, sometimes when they are really enjoying it they pick the same card again. They play great on their own after we do an hour or so of “activity cards” have fun!

  40. Jennifer

    Look at your city’s website and find nature centers and hiking trails. They are usually free and lots of fun.

  41. AmazonsRock

    We take advantage of the library programs. Our 3 oldest participate in the reading competition. For each milestone in the reading program, they earn tickets to area places: the amusement park, the train museum, the movie theater, etc. Our 2 youngest (almost 2 & 3), have a great time with backyard adventures. We create neighborhood scavenger hunts, obstacle courses, and just have fun swinging or doing log rolls down the hill.

    The 3 oldest are in soccer, so convenient and healthy on-the-go snacks are a must! I love the snack-size ziploc bags. This allows us to buy the larger bags of snacks and make our own personal sizes. All of the girls enjoy helping us make the trail mixes and granolas.

    And when we don’t have the time for any of this, and need to grab a snack on the run, I love Walgreens. They always have a 5-pack of snacks (pretzels and cheese, raisins, trail mix pouches) for $1.

  42. momma

    just cut it out sorry bwhenyou got caught ve inter tment grab your clothsand get gone talking about girl love youe you the one but its over now go head in take a bow for making me belive you faith for realy had me going now its over now now but its over now

  43. momma

    i didnt say all of that

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