Jun 8, 2016

12 Super Cheap and Really Fun Things to do at Home with your Bored Kids this Summer


Do you remember as a child how much you looked forward to the end of school and for summer vacation to begin? 

Those days were good and I don’t remember being bored much or following my mother around waiting for her to organize something for me to do.  Rose colored glasses I suppose because it feels like a lot of kids are saying they’re bored about half the day during the summer. 

If your experience is the same as mine and you need ideas to roll out this summer for the kids in your life, here’s a list of 19 cheap activities they’re sure to find awesome! 

  1. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are not only fun, but they can be adapted to any age group.  They’re easy to set up and you can do them anywhere.  If it’s rainy and the kids are stuck inside, have them do an indoor scavenger hunt.  If it’s beautiful outside, you can organize one in the backyard.  Taking a long drive?  Great!  Make a list of things the kids can check off as they see them.  You can even do a scavenger hunt out of magazines! 

Get more scavenger hunt ideas and printouts here.

  1. Lemonade Stand

Everyone likes to stop at lemonade stands and support their neighborhoods fledgling entrepreneurs.  And for the kids there’s nothing like opening shop and actually getting customers! 

Properly shaded lemonade stands can give hours of fun for the kids and a sometimes much needed reprieve for the adults.

Being responsible for the costs and then enjoying the profits is also a great way to begin teaching children how finances work.  This is a great learning experience unless your young business owners eat everything themselves!

  1. Make a fort

Who can explain the enormous enjoyment a child gets out of building a fort?  I don’t know one child whose imagination doesn’t go wild at the concept of climbing into a small structure and pretending.

So when the “I’m bored’s” start coming your way this summer, pull out that big cardboard box you’ve been saving in the garage and watch creativity explode! 

For some added fun, take scissors and cut in windows and doors, based on the kids design, and give them some crayons or, if you dare, some markers, to decorate their little house, or cave, or pirate ship, with. 

If you don’t have a big box handy, try blankets over chairs, held down with heavy books.  This is a sure fire way to chase away boredom and the only thing you need to be prepared for is the impressive battle you’ll face when it’s time to cleanup!

  1. Backyard BBQ

Is it safe to say there are few things children like more than sticking things into an open flame?  Maybe that’s just my observation but regardless, kids get a kick out of everything that goes into a backyard barbeque. 

No fire pit?  No problem.  Hotdogs roast wonderfully over the open flame of a barbeque or even a burner for that matter.  Follow up your dinner of hotdogs, chips, and watermelon with the ever popular smores (and the open flame again of course), and you’ve just made a winning bid for parent of the year.

  1. Water balloon fight. 

Summer’s just aren’t complete without an epic water balloon fight.  Buy the kit that allows the kids to fill up their own water balloons and there goes another 2 hours with the project of filling up the coolers with their water missile’s.  Of course, your city will love sending you that fantastic water bill, but for a water balloon fight, it’s arguably worth it.

  1. String beads into jewelry

Seeing your child light up with the pride of accomplishment is one of the joys of life.  And setting up a jewelry factory for your kids is not only a great boredom chasing project but is is also guaranteed to give you that delight.

The great thing about this project is it can be accomplished at the drop of a hat.  All you need is some string and and some different colored beads.  If you don’t have beads, you can use almost anything at hand. 

Penne or macaroni pasta can be colored and made into beautiful necklaces, and cheerios or popcorn make the always popular edible jewelry.

  1. Pet rocks

A friend joked the other day that when her bored kids asked for a dog, she gave them each a rock.   I was super confused until she told me her great idea.    

Take your kids for a nature hike and, along the way, have them collect a rock or two.  When you get home, clean and wash them off and let the kids paint eyes, a mouth, a nose, and whatever else they want, to make their rock pet. 

  1. Have a campout in the backyard

Kids love to camp.  If you don’t have the time to take them on an official campout, try pitching a tent and sleeping out back.  You might be looking at street lamps instead of stars, but your kids won’t mind.  And the truly wonderful thing about camping out back is after the kids and your spouse go to sleep, you can sneak out and sleep in your own bed!

  1. Hold a car wash

On one of those really hot days when playing outside isn’t happening and your pretty sure if the kids watch one more tv show their brains will turn to mush, you can host a “wash our car party”. 

Get everyone in swimsuits, hand out a hose, provide a bucket of water with lots of suds and let them go to town.  There will be lots of playing and running around but eventually your car will get its wash, especially if the treats are only given out after the car has been washed and toweled off.

  1. Sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk is always a big hit.  It comes in lots of colors, washes off easily and even comes glow in the dark now so the kids can look at their works of art out the window as they get ready for bed.

  1. Dance in the rain

Surprise your kids one hot afternoon when everyone’s stuck inside because of a drizzle by suggesting they get their swimsuits on and go out for a rain dance.  Watch as they dance in the rain, splash in the puddles and make mud cakes before bringing them in for a toweling off and a snack.

  1. Water pearls

For some more watery good times, check out water pearls.  These tiny plastic balls, when placed in water, will grow to about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and feel like squishy fish eggs.

Kids love these things and find a ton of different ways to enjoy playing with them.  For some great ideas, check out this family's blog post on how their kids play with theirs: zitzmanfam.blogspot.com.  

Note: water pearls are a choking hazard so the recommended age is 3+ for these.

Hope you have a great summer and lots of good times with family!



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