Is it just me, or is it the request for electronics getting more and more frequent the longer Summer break goes on? We’re certainly not a no-electronics-allowed family, but I really try to mix it up and integrate some non-technology and creative activities as well. Bonus if we can work in a little learning along the way! With about a month left of Summer break, it was time to spice things up and go for some out of the box activities. Here’s what we’ve been up to!
If you’ve never used these self sealing water balloons, all I can say is YOU NEED TO! I used to despise the whole process of water balloons – but with these, my kids can fill them with the hose and get right to having fun!
We’ve taken the water balloon fun to the next level with playing water balloon baseball! A great activity that they can do together, or with my husband and I. They’re working on their baseball skills and getting soaked in the process – it’s a win win.
Another addition to our water balloon fun has been this slingshot. We drew some targets on the driveway with different point values and had a friendly competition to see who could rack up the most points. We quickly learned that this thing fires looooong and it turned into a competition to see who could hit the furthest tree!
Getting our Science on
Who knew that a container of vegetable oil, food coloring and Alka Seltzer could be so much fun? My boys have been begging to make lava lamps since seeing them when peering over my shoulder while I perused Pinterest. They were SO easy and have provided continued entertainment because you can reactivate them by adding more Alka Seltzer. The only thing we did differently than these instructions is drop a whole tablet of Alka Seltzer in rather than crushing, because it bubbled up a bit better that way.
Learning some business skills
Have I been denying the request to have a lemonade stand for at least 2 Summers? Why yes I have! But as I sit here typing this and my kiddos are at the end of our drive building their confidence and seeing their idea succeed, I’m glad I finally gave in! They gathered a few decor items from around the house, mixed up some lemonade and set up shop. The excitement they are having is worth the disruption to our normal routine!
A quick order of a few t-shirts and a tie-dye kit, and we were tie-dying within days of having the idea! The kit comes with everything you need – bottles prefilled with dye, rubber bands and gloves. We were able to complete approximately 15 shirts with this kit, but I think it’s safe to SOME members of my family used more dye than was probably intended, and you may be able to do a few more.
Anytime I’m giving my kids an opportunity to express their creativity and allow them to test their ideas, I feel like we have a winning scenario. They had so much fun testing out different ways to fold and rubber band their shirts and dye patterns. I think they ended up with some pretty cool designs, and they’re so proud to wear what they made.
These terrariums provided lots of fun between painting the pieces to go inside, deciding on their layout and planting wheat grass.
Cooking up some fun
Popsicle molds give so much room for creativity, and I like that they give opportunity to have a healthier refreshing treat than ice cream or store bought popsicles! This time we used our canned homemade grape juice. In the past we’ve used our cold press juicer [similar option] to make whatever type of popsicles we can with the fruit we have on hand.
Does it take longer and make a bigger mess to have my kids help out in the kitchen? Yes, absolutely! But do they cook something at least once a week? They sure do! Whyyyy do I do this to my patience and my kitchen?!?! Because it’s an interest they have, it allows them to practice reading, measuring, and following directions… and because I’m telling myself that someday they’ll be men who aren’t helpless in the kitchen when they’re out on their own. Not that I personally know any men that fall into that category, but you know, #raisingsomeoneshusband. They love trying out new recipes, and I love the confidence I see rising in them as they make a plan and set to work completing it.
We recently loaded up our bikes and headed to Potato Creek State Park for an afternoon of exploring. After our bike ride, we headed to the nature center to check out the kids section. We were lucky enough to be there while the park ranger had a turtle in rehabilitation out for some exercise in the grass. My boys loved learning about the defenses this creature naturally has against its predators from an expert – but the nature center was worth a stop regardless of this added bonus!
Another favorite nature activity of ours is to print a scavenger hunt before heading out to hike a local park. You can find tons of nature scavenger hunts on Pinterest, but it can also be as simple as everyone making a list of what they’re searching for before heading out. I’ve found that this fun little game makes for a lot less resistance when I suggest we pack up our hiking shoes and water bottles for an afternoon of exploring.
A Little Bit of Learning
Over each Summer break, my boys and I pick a few book/movie combos to read/watch. At my son’s request, I picked up Wonder (watch the movie!) and The Invention of Hugo Cabret (watch the movie!) for this Summer. Book and movie combos is one of my favorite things to do personally, and I love that this is becoming a tradition for my kids as well!
I keep these hardcover books on hand at all times! They get used for writing stories, drawing pictures, writing animal facts… whatever my kiddos think of doing with them on any given day. We’ve even thrown them in my purse with a few markers and taken them to the zoo for my kids to draw what they see once we’re there. I like that it’s a different way for them to practice some skills from school, and they like that the books are blank and they’re free to explore with them.
I hope you and your littles find lots of Summer fun as you soak up these final few weeks at home together! Check out more of my favorite Summer break boredom busters:
As our Director of Operations, Steph is single-handedly responsible for any structure that exists here at LIY. Between communicating with our amazing brand partners, organizing blog content, managing the team, Steph loves organization *almost* as much as she does the latest cookie recipe she came up with from scratch. Give her a puzzle to be put together, a candle to burn and new sprigs of green growing out of her garden, and you’ve just explained the perfect day in Steph’s world.