I know many families that almost dread summer, especially in Central California.
There are days here where you CAN NOT go outside, because the temperatures are over 100-degrees and the air quality is poor. The valley we live in traps heat and sometimes smoke from close-enough wildfires that unfortunately happen surrounding the valley.
This post is about those 20-30 minutes after work when I just want to do something with those gifts the Lord gave me that is simple, fun, and not too messy.
Other than the obvious, “try to go outside before it gets too hot” or “wait until it cools down a little” answers, (and the planned vacations in other parts of the State,) I put together a list of the top ten things I want to try with my kids INSIDE this summer.
These things aren’t really fancy, just fun stuff I found on the inter-webs that I look forward to trying out and doing with my kiddos. Obviously, this post was written for the mom who is looking to do some indoor activities, not just the standard “10-things to do with your kids this summer” gig that’s already on the Pinterest boards.
My primary criteria for making this list: That ALL my children are able to do the craft/activity.
This means I had to find crafts for a short-interest-span 3-year old, a very mature 4-year old girl and an 8-year old boy. Believe me, I looked far and wide to get this list together. You bet I’ll be making other lists as I go along though.
A quick shout out: I love you mommy bloggers!
Other rules to make my list: It had to be made inside and used inside, it had to be “making something” or a game inside (no puzzles or reading for example,) and it cannot involve any kind of painting (something we do outside as a family anyway.)
Inside Activity No. 1: Make Slime
We made slime last year and it was a hit! Instructables is my favorite website other than Pinterest and I created a collection of slime recipes for my children and I to try out. We used a simple recipe with ingredients I had at home. I know we will be doing this one again!
Inside Activity No. 2: Make Ice Cream-In-A-Bag
Inside Activity No. 3: Make a mini marshmallow (or pom pom) popper
I’m almost ashamed to say we haven’t done this yet! This one is going to be so fun. Who doesn’t love marshmallows or pom poms?
Inside Activity No. 4: Make a Piggy Bank
I saw this cute recycled bottle bank and immediately recalled how my kids need to see the money, not just keep collecting it. We could specifically call the savings for summer-fun goals, and other than cutting the hole on top, I would try to get all three kids involved with the decorating, cutting paper, taping and gluing parts.
Oooh – How about using some washi tape to decorate it? I could use up some of my scrapbooking paper that’s been around forever. There could be so many possibilities. Now I just have to save some spools of thread for the feet…. Or think of something else.
Inside Activity No. 5: Make candy bracelets
It will be interesting to see which types of candies and cheerios or fruit loops my kiddos put on their bracelets. This craft could easily be done with more children this summer.
Inside Activity No. 6: Balloon Rockets
Now I’m really starting to feel like a bad parent. How could we not have done these yet? My oldest is able to help blow up the balloons, but I know my younger two will only be able to tape the straw on and let the balloon go. I hope daddy helps out with this one because I can see my 3-year old being thoroughly entertained by this.
Inside Activity No. 7: Sticky Spiderweb Throwing Game
I’ve got the painter’s tape already. We have the perfect doorway in our home for this. Now to just find some recycled papers to crumple up…. It’s for a Halloween-themed post, but this can be fun anytime!
Inside Activity No. 8: Plan and Have an Inside Photo Scavenger Hunt
This is based off of a Boy’s Life Photo Scavenger Hunt, but toned down for the younger ones.
This activity is going to require much more work than the other listed above, but I could see it being a hit with all three of my kids. I know they all love looking at photos, but the prep of taking photos of things will have to occur in the morning, then theirs the downloading, maybe cropping and finally printing at my local Walgreens. (It’s the closest and cheapest.)
Inside Activity No. 9: Make & Play with Magnets
There are so many cool things we could do with magnets. The pocket sized magnetic fishing set shown above is just one of the many possibilities, although I know my three-year old would be playing with it more than helping make it. He’s not one to put things in his mouth though, so I am taking that into consideration for my kiddos.
I would also lump together making fridge magnets into this activity, as those never seem to get old, and usually that involves glue. What child doesn’t love to play with glue?
Inside Activity No. 10: Scrapbook Together
My three-year old is coming up with some seriously funny zingers. He’s a mix between the humor of my husband and the serious-ness of my personality. I used to be an avid scrapbooking mommy, but the hey-day of choosing to make time for that has gone. Now I’m in the phase of going to Cub Scout events, planning parties and going to church events, the list never seems to end.
But I want to remember the everyday events of eating dinner together and answering questions are just the things that I want to remember in the future.
I bought a simple book at Target for about $7.
The plan as of right now is to write down memories with my children about the “everyday” things that we take for granted. I want them to tell me about one thing that each of them are thankful for. I’ll print out photos of events or life, (whoa is that a concept to have printed photos!) and we’ll paste them into the book as the summer goes by.
It’s not going to be fancy, but it’s going to be ours and it’s going to be great!
I hope some of you can do some of these things too this summer.
I have many family friendly crafts for various age children on Instructables:
Feel free to come check me out and let me know you found me through my site. I’ll set aside a little online gift just for you.