When I was a kid, we spent all our time outside, in the summer. We weren’t allowed to watch TV during the day, and we didn’t have computers or Gameboys back then. We found a variety of ways to entertain ourselves, not the least of which were games. Some of the games we played needed equipment like balls, sprinklers, or other things of that nature, and some of them did not require anything but ingenuity and a good imagination. My friends and I played all kinds of games on those lovely summer days, like freeze tag, hide and seek, statue, and red light/green light. Sometimes we got a real treat and our parents would play with us, I still remember my mom jumping rope with my sister and I and my dad being the judge in our pet shows. Some of the best times we had as kids were activities that were planned, either by my parents or by us kids ourselves, like the time we had mini olympics on our block. That was one of the most fun memories of my childhood. Some people like to plan activities for their children, during summer vacation and others prefer to simply supply the equipment to the kids and let them loose to play however they choose. Either way, kids will have fun! Below is a collection of games and tips for ways to keep your children occupied, playing and learning, all summer long. Sidewalk Paint Your kids bored and want something to do ? For less that a dollar, you can make sidewalk paint that will keep your kids entertained for hours, and allow them to be creative! With this easy to make paint, kids can design toy car or bike roads, obstacle courses, or artistic murals. Anything concrete is their canvas, and it all washes off with just a spray of water. This paint can even be used to decorate for parties or holidays. Here’s the recipe:
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- food coloring
Simply mix the water and cornstarch and add the amount of food coloring needed for the color you want. Put it in a cup, add a brush and you are good to go. If you don’t want to bother to make your own, you can buy washable sidewalk paint and washable chalk, my favorite brand is Crayola.
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Neon Paint Tray , 9 piece kitCrayola Big Paint Brushes (4 Count Flat)Crayola 48 Count Sidewalk Chalk (51-2048)
Fun with Bugs
Some kids are fascinated by insects. Who knows, they may be the next world famous entomologist, so encouraging their interest is a good thing. Below are some fun activities that involve our six legged friends and will keep kids occupied for an afternoon.
- Insect Zoo – Use a variety of containers and let the kids catch different kinds of insects and then display them and write up small cards to stand by each container with information on each insect. Then invite people to visit the zoo.
- Bug Tamer – Give each child 5 jars and the first one to catch 5 different insects, wins.
- Insect Races – In a cardboard box, make a line for start and finish and let each child choose a type of insect. Release the bug at the start line and the first one to cross the finish line, wins.
- Insect Traps – Dig holes in the ground and sink plastic cups into the holes so that the rim is even with the ground. Put a dollop of peanut butter in the bottom of the cup and then cover loosely with grass. After a couple of hours, go back and see what you have trapped.
- Name that bug – Walk around the yard with your kids and as they catch insects, see who can say what kind of bug it is. Keep score and the child with the most correct wins his favorite lunch.
SEOH Insect Collecting Net Soft Nylon Net TelescopingBug Catcher Collection SetBackyard Exploration Critter CaseChildren Insects Magnifying Glass Technology Gizmos Toy Pupils Equipment Learning Resources Primary Science Viewscope
This insect identification book has 650 gorgeous pictures for easy identification and will be useful not just for backyard play, but also for schoolwork all the way up through college!
Smithsonian Handbooks: Insects (Smithsonian Handbooks)
Do you remember all the fun outdoor games you played as a kid? They are still around, as moe fun than ever. Share the fun with your child and give him the same fond memories that you have playing these games of skill!
Boochie, A Whole New Ball Game Children, Kids, GameMidway Monsters Ring Toss GameTriumph Sports USA 2-In-1: 3-Hole Bag and 3-Hole Washer TossChampion Sports Rubber Horseshoe SetTriumph Sports USA Backyard DartsAndroni Bowling Set (8-Piece)
Two Fun Squirt Gun Games Squirt Ball – You will need a squirt gun and a ping pong ball for each player and a grassy area. Mark out a course in the grass, using items as landmarks, such as go to the lawn chair, and then to the basketball, and then make one circle around the picnic table and then back around the lawn chair and back to the starting line to finish. Place the ping pong ball in the grass at the starting line and then push it forward by squirting it with the squirt gun. You cannot get closer than one foot to the ball with the gun, and if you run out of water, you are out of the game. Squirt Gun Shooting Gallery – A squirt gun shooting gallery is always a fun project for a summer day. The items to shoot just take a little imagination. There are many things around your house that you can turn into targets! The more elaborate your set up for the gallery, the more time it will keep your kids entertained. My suggestions for targets are: ~ Ping pong balls on top of pop bottles ~ Small plastic green army men, placed in rows ~ Legos – try to knock over increasingly taller stacks ~ Plastic cups with varying amounts of water in them
See Through Squirt GunNerf Super Soaker Zipfire 3-PackSquirt GunsNerf Super Soaker Microburst 2 Blaster
Backyard Water Games The best part of playing outside in the summer is in the water! You don’t need a pool to have a great time all summer long in the water, you just have to have a great imagination and a big arsenal of games!
- Water Balloon Volleyball – you will need four kids, two towels and a medium water balloon. Tie a rope between two trees or two lawn chairs. The kids will take each end of the towels and place the water balloon in the towel and use the towel to toss it over the rope and the other team must catch it in their towel. After a few volleys, raise the rope higher. Keeping doing so until one team drops the balloon and it breaks.
- Sponge Water Race – divide the group into two teams and give each team two buckets and one large sponge. Put the exact amount of water in each of the teams’ bucket and put this bucket near the team. Then take the empty buckets from each team and put them off a distance. The players need to soak the sponge, carry it to the empty bucket, wring it out, then take it back to the next in line who does the same, etc. This continues until all of the water from the first bucket is in the second bucket. You can decide if the winning team is the team that finishes first, or who has the most water in the bucket at the end of the race.
- Sponge War – put a pile of yellow kitchen sponges into a giant tub of water and let the kids have a water fight, using the sponges as the ammo.
- Beach Ball Tag – you will need a kiddy pool, two blow up beach balls and two squirt guns. Start with the beach balls against the side of the pool on opposite sides. With the squirt guns, squirt the beach balls, causing it to travel around the outside of the pool. The first one to touch the other beach ball with their own, wins.
Melissa & Doug Grub Scouts SprinklerBanzai Play Mat Jr. Sprinkle N Splash Water ToyDouble Surf Rider Water Slide! Wham-o Slip N Slide Blast Through Splash Pool Wall of Water on the Bumper (Colors May Vary)Intex 12ft X 30in Easy Set Pool SetFire Hydrant Garden Hose Sprinkler Splash Sprays 8 FtMelissa & Doug Sunny Patch Blossom Bright SprinklerIntex Swim Center Family Inflatable Pool, 103Little Kids Soak n Splash Water Limbo SprinklerOutdoor Summer Fun Gift Box
Bike Rodeo – Kids Love This! This activity is going to take more help from you, but it is something that kids have a blast doing. It is actually better if you make it a real event, like a party and invite your children’s friends, because the more contestants you have the more fun it is! For great ideas on how to throw a fantastic rodeo, here are some links to websites that will have you plan it perfectly! How to Have a Bike Rodeo A Guide to Having a Bike Rodeo Bike Rodeo Activities
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