20 July, 2011

Indoor Fun This Summer

Summertime for some means boredom, trying to escape the heat (in my case of 117ºF+ each day), and pulling your hair out trying to entertain the kids!  Some don't have the money to keep a summer long schedule going of travel, camps, and amusement parks.  So, what can you do at home if you're trying to save a buck and still have fun?  Lots!  Get creative and you can keep your kids entertained.

1.  Movie Day/Nights!  We've done lots of these so far and the kids love it!  We pull out the sleeping bags and create a camp out in our living room!  Bring out the popcorn and their favorite movie, and I have three kids in heaven!  For some reason, popcorn seems to be a huge treat in our home.

2.  Cooking!  I mentioned this in a previous post on bringing the classroom home with cooking, but you can do it for pure fun too!  Haha!  Make cookies, let them go wild with frosting and topping decorating.  Bake a cake.  Choose some fun pasta shapes and make pasta and sauce for dinner.  Pretty much anything you want to make can be fun for kids...they like the mess...and being with you!

3.  Art!  Ok, so I admit, I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to art projects in my own home.  I grimace at the thought of glitter, glue and paint.  And don't get me started on playdough.  However, I need to get over it because those are the most fun things when it comes to art!  Dive into some art projects with your kids...ongoing like a scrapbook, or a one day project like food stamp art!

4.  Make forts!  Another activity we've been doing more of.  I get a kick out of trying to make really cool forts with my kids.  I remember making the most amazing ones when I was little (well, in my head they were pretty cool), and now I see how excited they get too! So much creativity seems to spill out of them once they decide what their fort really is and what each of their roles are.

5.  Plan a party!  Help your kids create a guest list, invitations, games and snacks, and invite some friends over for a summer party!  It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want! 

6.  Sew!  My mom was super crafty...always sewing up a storm.  We made dolls, costumes, quilts...and it was always so much fun!  She let me pick out my fabrics at the store and away we went.  I remember how fun it was just sitting with her and bringing a project in my head to life.  If you know how to sew, or another skill like carpentering, teach your kids!  Let them create something special!

7.  Pretend School...or so they think!  Grab some school materials like a little white board or chalk board, some $1 learning books at the Dollar Store, some crayons, paper, and whatever else they want to be teachers.  Have them play school with you or their siblings, teaching what they know!  This helps to reinforce what they've learned over the summer, but they think their just having fun (and being the boss of the class!).

8.  Clean out the bedrooms!  Ok, so not exactly high on the "FUN" scale, but it could be!  You could simply tell them they have to do it, or make it for a cause!  Tell them their are donating to other kids who don't have much, if anything.  Make it a fun experience for them, putting them in charge of what they'll keep and what they'll share with someone else.

9.  Travel the World!  With your kids, choose a few places around the World you'd love to visit.  Research a little bit...find out the dress, the food, the arts & crafts of each place.  Then plan some theme nights!  Try making some of the local dishes to eat, or making some clothes, or even doing a favorite craft of the local children. 

10.  Get Active!  In my case, our options are swimming out in the heat, or escaping the heat in the mall.  While I hate to admit it, I have recently let my children start playing the XBOX Connect.  At the end of a session, my kids are sweating!  They have increased their heart rates, used their full bodies to engage with the games, and it's EASY enough for them!  So, I feel ok about it as a form of exercise for inside bound children when used within reason.

There you have it!  This mama's survival guide for coping with living indoors for the summer, whether you have to or not.  What tips do you have to share with others for keeping your kids entertained all summer...indoors!

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