Everyone keeps saying this summer is different. That is true. And different is EXHAUSTING!
My household is considered COVID high-risk, which means we have barely ventured out since all this started. I am bored. My kids are bored. Sometimes I just need a break, but still want to keep my kids busy and engaged and off their screens.
Before you start sending me links to all sorts of fun at-home activities, I know there are a ton of ideas out there. But I am certainly not much of a Pinterest mom.
So let's keep it real! Here is a list of seven summer fun activities that I came up with for the exhausted mom. Each one requires less than 5 minutes of prep and includes items you probably already have at home.
1. Magic crayon coloring sheet
Have two or more kids? Ignite your kiddos' imagination by showing them how to draw or write secret messages to each other using this method!
- White crayon
- White paper
- Paints or more crayons
1. Without your child seeing, draw something on the paper with the white crayon. It can be something simple like hearts or something more elaborate. (You can even grab a coloring book and trace a scene onto it with the white crayon. Poof — set up is complete!)
2. Then have kids grab paints or crayons and color the page in, revealing the hidden design you made.
2. Frozen dinosaur toy
My kids love to pretend that an ice age came and froze the dinosaurs and they are paleontologists discovering their remains. Mom win: it takes a while for the kids to melt all the ice!
- Small dinosaur toy (or any small toy your kid loves will do)
- Ice tray or bowl
- Baster or medicine syringes (the kind that comes with child's Tylenol or Motrin)
- Paper towels
1. Find a few of your kid's teeny tiny dinosaurs, or any tiny toy you have on hand (something that will either fit into an ice tray or bowl).
2. Put the toys inside your ice tray or bowl. Fill with water. Set in the freezer.
3. Once it's frozen, bring out the cold treasure for your child to excavate.
4. If you're doing this inside, place the frozen treasure on top of a tray so it doesn't get too messy.
5. Get a second bowl. Fill with warm water, and let your child use the baster or syringe to "melt" the dinosaur/toy out from the ice.
3. Plastic egg water fun
If you have some extra plastic eggs from Easter, you can do this one!
- Plastic eggs
- Permanent marker
- Pool/baby pool/water table or sink
- Write in permanent marker on the outside of the plastic egg something educational you'd like to review with your child during the summer. You could do letters, numbers, sight words, simple addition problems, foreign language words, or more!
- Toss them into the pool and have your child go on a scavenger hunt gathering them.
- Each time they retrieve one, they have to either tell you what they found (such as a letter) or do the math problem, etc.
4. Sidewalk chalk maze
Have two or more kids? Have each of them create a maze and let them complete each other's mazes!
- Sidewalk chalk
- Sidewalk or driveway
1. Create a maze for your kids out of sidewalk chalk. The more elaborate the better! Give them a little prize — like a single M&M — each time they complete it.
5. Sidewalk chalk roadway
My kids absolutely love grabbing their go-carts and going around and around.
- Sidewalk chalk
- Driveway or sidewalk
- Your child's play car or bike
1. You and your child can draw a street scene — you can include things like a duck pond, stop signs, traffic lights, and orange cones.
6. Paper collage stories
I know my kids are going to love this one because they love to hear stories and make up their own!
- Glue stick
- Old magazines or catalogs
- Construction paper
1. Grab some old magazines or catalogs and let your kids cut out images that they like.
2. Have them paste the pictures onto construction paper in a unique way so that it tells a story.
3. Have them tell you the story and see how many silly details you can both come up with and how many different stories you can create.
7. Car wash
My kids love soaping up our car and hosing it down (and each other!). Have them bring out their own toy cars to do also. Sit back and relax while they giggle and have fun. Just remember to sit outside of the spray zone!
1. You know what to do. Head on outside and have your child wash your car.
I hope these seven summer fun ideas for the exhausted mom keep your kids entertained for hours today — and give you a break!
Helen Partlow is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Mt. Sinai & Macaroni Kid Port Jefferson, N.Y.