*Dawn G. of IL
Buy several different colors of clay and non-toxic paint. Set up an area in the garage, under a carport or in a play room. A large refrigerator box flattened out makes a great surface for the project. Then draw the town on the cardboard and have the children make houses, cars, people, dogs, etc. to place in the correct places of the town. They will end up creating their own town. This leads to hours of fun. They can use the different clay colors or paint any colors needed.
Angela C. of PA
Obstacle Course....You can set up an obstacle course for the kids to run through. Obstacles for the course can include, walking on a balance board, weaving in and out of cones or chairs with a spoon that has an egg on it, do a bean bag toss, jump into and out of hula hoops, blowing up a balloon and sitting on it to break it, crawl under a string stretched between two objects, run while balancing a bean bag on your head, jump rope 6 times....etc. The possibilities are endless. Older children can set up the course and be the referees for the younger kids.
Flora M. of ON
Put up a bird feeder in the backyard and have the kids keep the birdseed filled - the older kids could build their own bird feeder (with mom or dad's help). Then they can figure out what kinds of birds come and visit.
Nyla T. of SD
Another fun thing I do with my grandchildren is we find small stones and rocks. Wash and dry then try to think of what they may be, a turtle, bird, a vegetable, etc. We let our imaginations run wild. Then we paint the rocks as to what each represents. We use washable tempera paints. I have a bucket full from summers past.
When the grandchildren are visiting, I give them empty 'bank check boxes'. We mark each with the appropriate name. Then when we take hikes and they find "treasures" they put them into the box. We have shells, pretty stones, flowers, acorns, and nuts. Whatever they find and want to keep.
Denise D. of MI
When my girls were young; We would play school each day in the AM's. I was the teacher and they the students. I would prepare assignments the night before and teach them something new each day. They really loved it and were learning at the same time. Best of all it gave us quality time together.
Once a week I allowed my eldest daughter to have her girlfriends over for a Barbie Club. The girls got together and each week they would spend time doing a different project such as making their own clothes for their dolls or having the dolls do a fashion show. I provided the treats (cupcakes, ice tea or milk). The girls really got a kick out of this activity which didn't really cost a lot of money.
Pat S. of MS
I am a grandmother. I take three sets of granddaughters to our little town square. We go a couple of times a week. The girls make Kool-Aid, lemonade, and hot dogs. They set up a lemonade stand and we sell the items for a charity. We set up where most of our little town goes to work or on business. We are trying to raise money for the Homeless. I have Gabrirlle (10), I have Elissia (9), I have AnnaBelle (8), and I have Faith Omega (6) Sometime Ahgel goes with us. My granddaughters have such good hearts. They see homeless people and it hurts their heart. I try to instill love for every one in their hearts.
I am so proud that they came up with this idea. After we get a good amount raised. We will all go and buy soap, washcloths, blankets, toothpaste & brushes. We do non-perishable foods. We do canned meat, viennas, spam, corn beef, pre-made jello, pudding etc. Things like that. The sad part is...there are alot of families with kids that we are helping. It would be so good for everyone if you can get your grand kids or kids to do this type of thing. What can it hurt? CAUTION: Always be there with the children. May You Be Blessed. Do chores for someone who can't do it for themselves. It may not sound like fun but the kids get so much self-worth built up from helping others.
Danielle G. of NY
Each summer, I put together a packet of fun, educational activities for my niece and nephews. I adjust them so they are age appropriate for each child. The activities are grouped into subjects (Math, English, Social Studies, etc.) and the kids are challenged to earn a set number of points from the packet by pre-set dates (usually the third week of each month). Some activities are to create a book for a younger child to teach them about an artist; create a nutritional recipe for your family; and make a decorative item for your room that would have been made in the 1920's. Each month that they meet the challenge, there is a reward. Last year, we went strawberry picking for June, had a beach picnic in June, and a backyard slumber party in July. The kids love the challenge and enjoy the activities, plus they are learning at the same time. It is a win-win.
Cindy L. of WV
Well, I let my daughter have her own corner of our garden for weird things to grow like popcorn, white pumpkins, white radishes, little pumpkins, lemon cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and any other neat stuff she wants to grow. I also make her tend to it when it needs weeding or bug treatments. It keeps her pretty busy and entertained all the while showing her some responsibility. Every year it is the most fun when she and I hunt for the weirdest seeds or plants to try.
There are berry picking farms where you pay a certain amount to pick so many pints. What you do is let the kids pick then eat what they pick after. I bet they will want to do it again.
Karen G. of NY
This year I am going to let my daughter who is 10 yeas old, use my (old) digital camera. I think I am going to give her a scavenger hunt list...maybe one per week, and ask her to find everything on the list and take a picture of it....things like certain flowers, certain bugs, etc. After she gets done, we can use the photos for a scrapbook.
She and I love to scrapbook together, so this should be a fun activity for us to do together.
I think this will also help her to get outside and explore the world around her. Also, it will help her to learn how to take better photos.
Carol Y. of PA
When my children were young, I purchased a small tree identification handbook and then had them collect leaves. We "laminated" them with contact paper and then pasted them in a scrapbook. We held a contest on who could collect and identify by labeling the most by the end of the summer!
Kathy D. of TX
Have a teenager start a weekend craft group of younger children from the neighborhood. Start with making projects out of recycled items. That way it saves on money, and the younger kids remember all week for the upcoming project. Get plastic soda or water bottles, make an ocean in a bottle, or the 2 liter soda bottles to make a basket, a birdfeeder, etc..
Mary C. of NY
If you know of a nursing home nearby have the kids adopt a grandparent. They can make a card, color a picture, prepare a special treat, take someone out for a walk on the grounds or just visit for a time. Maybe your child will have an idea or two once you get started. Go once or multiple times. You won't believe the smiles you'll get. The recreation/activities dept can help pair you with someone.
Holly P. of GA
Help in the community food drive, giving out food at the local community kitchen. Be a Neighbor Day, which could include helping people load their groceries. I think it would be a good idea to do something that helps enlists the gift of giving helping others will enlighten them to what they sometimes forget to be grateful for also I think it will make them feel honored on how they are helping someone and touching their life.
Jennifer W. of KY
A great activity for kids is making homemade ice cream. its so easy and simple
You only need:
1 large Ziploc bag
1 small Ziploc bag
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt (regular salt is OK if you can't find rock salt)
Just fill the large Ziploc bag halfway with ice and rock salt. In the small Ziploc bag, mix cream, sugar and vanilla. Place the small sealed bag into the larger bag and shake for 15 minutes. When finished you can even have the kids add treats like cookies or even gummy bears.
Jean B. of KS
Select a large container or even a tiny-tot swimming pool. Take several coat hangers and twist them into various circles or ovals. Fill the pool with homemade bubble solution, turn the kids loose, and watch enormous bubbles fly over your neighborhood! You'll want to join them!
Lisa M. of KY
I have 3 boys who are bored and play way too much video games. So I play the ABC game outside each one has to name something he sees outside like A (Apple Tree) B (butterfly)..They are learning the names of the flowers and trees around us so they can use those. It keeps them busy for about 45min. We use it when traveling or specifics like only animals or states.
Robyn C. of NC
My kids and I always throw a "get wet in the sun, fun day" sometime during the summer. We go swimming throughout the summer so we pick a day to invite all the neighbors, family and friends possible for a cookout, slip n slide, water guns & balloons, pool party, and we also make our own slides using tarp or extra long plastic and add oil, butter, or other slimy things. We in general try to make the whole day as wet as possible and have as many water games and activities as possible ready and setup for the kids. They really love it.