Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Things to Do

For the past few weeks, the kids have had all kinds of activities to do: camp, VBS, a friend here each day. But starting next week, our days are blissfully blank for the most part. Since my youngest kids are 9 and 12, I have a tendency to let them do their own thing. The problem is that long, leisurely, empty days of summer with limited tech time lead to, "I don't know what to do." I find that it's good to be intentional about activities, even at this age.

So on our list of Things to Do:

1. Swim. We've been getting a pass to our local public pools for the past several years, and it is soooo worth it. I know some people are grossed out by the thought of public pools, but, well, I'm not. We have great pools, even if occasionally they have to close one because some kid pooped in it. Whatever.

2. Hike. We have a goal of heading to the mountains to hike and play in the river a couple of times each month. I'd like to say "weekly," but somehow that just doesn't always happen.

3. Arts & Crafts projects. I used to be so good about having all kinds of supplies and coming up with cool projects. I've slipped. My goal this summer is to have them each make a couple of Christmas presents for family.

4. Random science experiments. Duncan especially loves this. I have all kinds of experiment books and lots of supplies. Sometimes I just let him spread out the stuff, which might include everything from cotton balls to circuit systems, and let him do his own thing. Also, he loves to just mix stuff up: baking soda and vinegar, plus food coloring, dish soap, etc. Here’s a fun one: cover the bottom of a pie plate (preferably glass) with milk or cream (doesn’t work as well with skim milk). Put in a few drops of food coloring. Now, very carefully, add a few drops of dish detergent –and watch the kaleidoscope

5. Army guy/dinosaur rescue. Fill a plastic cup (preferably clear) with water, and drop in an army guy or other small plastic toy. Freeze until solid. Send the kids outside with a chisel or paint scraper (or other such tool) and let them chisel out the army guy. Duncan does this with a hammer and it only takes him a few minutes now, but when he was younger this would occupy a good 15 minutes.

6. Marshghettis: Give them a bunch of uncooked spaghetti (regular works better than thin) and mini-marshmallows and challenge them to build a bridge, an animal, a building, etc. They’ll get carried away with this one. You’ll even be able to write a blog, read a book, or—if you must—prepare dinner while they create. Also serves as snack time.

7. Games. Board games, card games, whatever. Inserting a game into the middle of the day breaks up the monotony. It doesn’t have to be a 2-hour game of Monopoly; even a 10-minute game of Crazy 8s somehow lightens up the Blahs. See my post on games for a few of our favorites.

8. Field Trips. It's hard to think of good places to go in the summer. My kids are a little too old for children's science centers, the zoo is too hot, museums seem too school-ish to them. I'm open to brilliant ideas for field trips!

9. Cleaning and organizing. I know that's weird, but my kids actually like to do this to a certain degree. This summer I've also engaged my 12-year-old in painting; in fact, she is painting our guest bathroom right now! I also have a plan to encourage them to find stuff to sell at an upcoming yard sale. Even Duncan enjoys doing this and thinking about the money he'll get.

10. Sewing: This one is for my 12-year-old. I have all kinds of project possibilities for her. She has a quilt to finish and then various fun things we've seen online to make.

11. Jewelry-making: Again, this is for my 12-year old. We haven't gotten into making earrings yet, but it's on our list of things-to-do.

Got any more ideas? Please share!

Linked up at Kelly's Korner


  1. I'm following via Friday Blog Hop!

    I like your list of summer things to do...I should start my list now!

  2. Thanks for the list...especially #5 and #6, I remember you writing those before and I thought they were great ideas. But I forgot, thanks for refreshing my memory. I was running out of ideas and starting to lose my mind a bit.

  3. I especially like the hiking idea! Bradyn LOVES to play in the moutain streams we have around here. It's such a nice retreat to drive to higher elevations and cool off. We've got to to that SOON!!!

    Great ideas!!

  4. I'm so jealous of you being so near the Smokies! I'd love to be able to go just for the afternoon. Even my uber-cool teenage sons like to play in the icy-cold streams, and of course anything that involves fire is good too. We get those charcoal-in-a-bag things and cook hot dogs and marshmallows (and sticks). We are in Memphis and we used to come a couple of times a year at least, but now it's been a while. I sure hope we'll get back this summer sometime. The good new is that now that they both drive, the Pigeon Forge go-cart places aren't such a draw anymore!

  5. oh em gee!! marshghettis?!?!?! LOVE IT!!!! I can't believe I haven't thought of or even heard of this idea yet.. my 6 yo and almost 2 yo are going to love this tomorrow.. i have the lil marshes and the big ones.. ha! so much cooler than typical toy building.. ok lemme stop.. Im getting a bit carried away.. lol

  6. Great list of things to do!!! I love the army guy rescure :) One thing we like to do is set the easel up outside and paint! We got the idea from Will's preschool teacher and it's so fun!

    I found your blog on the Friday Blog glad I did!


  7. I am visiting from
    Friday Blog Hop.
    ...and have found so many great new blogs...Hope you will stop by and visit.. I have a surprise giveaway that I will draw for on Sunday night.

  8. Can't wait until my girls are older enough to learn sewing!


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