100 favorite summer things to do was something I thought I could do no matter how busy things got this summer. I guess I was wrong. I am sorry about that! Many of our favorite things are things children of all ages can have fun with. Most are the things my children know they can do at anytime and I feel that letting them do things like this keeps them from saying I am bored all the time. I am lucky because my children never say I am bored I don't know if this is why but it might be. I can see now that I might not get pictures of them doing stuff like this before fall hits. I have started our new school year and I have less than 4 weeks before the baby is born. I "might" be able to still do it but just in case I thought I would post a long list of things we find fun to do and if you haven't done them lately you might want to give it a try. I think a lot of you will remember doing this stuff as a child and I am sure you do many already with your children. It is just a quick list so if you need some quick ideas they are here. I will add to the list as other things we do comes to mind. Many things on this list we do almost daily a few we have only tried only a few times but the children did have fun.
1. soccer (we are lucky enough to have 7 soccer balls and a soccer goal in our yard)
3. look for the moon
4. star gaze
5. paint pictures
6. jump rope
7. eat freeze pops
8. make ice-cream in a can or in our ice-cream maker
9. play red light green light
11. swing on the swing
12.swing on the tire swing (or be adventurous and stand on top of the tire and swing)
13. walk on balance board
14.play kick ball
15. sand box play
16. paint wooden toy cars (88 cent ones in walmart)
17. write or make large pictures with sidewalk chalk
18. play on the slip n slide
19. hide and seek
20. build a tent (with blankets)
21. identify trees, bugs, plants, flowers and such in our yard
22. go on a nature walk
23. have a picnic
24. puppet play
25. play in water table
26 play how many steps before the king/queen
27. craft time (construction paper and tape kind of thing)
28. have a pot and pan band (we live way away from town)
29. play tag
30. water balloon fights
31. sprinkler play
32. obstacle course
33. scavenger hunt
34. finger paint
35. play dough play
36. basket ball
37. tea parties (call it tea time with a snack for son to join in)
38. play leap frog
39. build buildings with cards
40. run laps in the yard
41. Ice cube chemistry
42. fly a kite
43. puddle stomping
44. play catch
45. cutting fresh flowers (often wild flowers or weeds to decorate the table)
46. Duck duck goose
47. make fruit salad
48. Spinning wool (drop spindles)
49. make bird feeders and feed the birds
50. play T ball
51. sticker play (just several sheets of stickers and some construction paper to make cards)
52. bowling (using our cheap plastic set)
53. box play (let the children decide what to do with the box
54. hide in a box (and scare Daddy)
55. have a box tunnel
56. make a box car
57. box boat
58. box house
59. Kiddy pool play
60. bug hunts
61. paint drive way
62. Make pop stick buildings
63. make and eat Icy jello
64. make mud pies
65. Dino dig
66. butterfly catching
67. Make and build with pompoms (pompoms and pipe cleaners can make all kind of animals)
68. Make our own bubble blowing solution
69. Make our own bubble wands
70. Build a kite
71. play croquet
72. dig up worms
73. make a home for the worms
74. have a worm race
75. tic tack toe
76. bubble catch (game to see who can get the most bubbles)
78. Make a house (using area under picnic table)
79. bike riding
80. parachute play
81. batting practice
82. pretend campfire
83. make pudding pies
84. make paper weights by painting rocks
85. squirt bottle fights
86. beanbag toss
87. football toss (using tire swing for target)
88. toothpick and gumdrop building (and eating)
89. Build ramps (from dirt, wood, even paper) and race cars down them.
90. start a rock collection
91. Jump rope
93. play tag
94. make smoothies
95. make up bug stories
96. fishing snack
97. rake grass or leaves and jump in the pile
98. sack race
99. balloon pop race (try to pop balloon first)
100. make a marching band
101. Master Jedi course
102. balloon box
103. Scooter races
104. Fly grocery bags
105. roll in grass (race across the finish line)
106. Make our own ice pops
107. Play doggy doggy where's the bone
108. play marbles
109. Make a treasure hunt
110. make Nature letters
111. cotton ball creations (make whatever they can think of with just cotton balls, glue, and paint)
112. cone races (running in and out of cones)
113. Make a ice-cream float for a snack
114. big ball play
115. bird watching (we have lots of feeders in our front yard)
116. reading books
117. act out the story after reading it
118. make some mud/stone soup.
119. add flowers to stone soup and make perfume (pretend kind lol).
120. do an animal walk (take turns acting like animals).
121. Build totem poles with decorated coffee cans stacked on top of each other.
122. Dance in the rain
123. play hot potato
124 make a book
125. bounce/ jump on the jumpolene (our inflatable jumper)
126. Try to hulahoop
127. Play tennis (on our concrete wall)
128. Popcorn race
129. make masks (simple ones from paper plates or paper bags)
130. build a cup tower (using paper or plastic cups)
131. ball wars (what we call tossing ball pit balls at each other from behind forts we build)
132. Snowball fights (using paper from wrapping or newspaper wrinkled in balls).
133. have a plastic egg hunt (we do this year around)
134. have a sword fight
135. set up a store
136. make a mini golf course
137. try walking on stilts
138. Play football
139. Play hot and cold blindfold game
140. have an egg and spoon race
150. make jewelry using anything fabric, beads, pipe cleaners or anything else in the craft box.
151. water cup races
152. simple sew projects
153. snack necklaces (licorice and fruitloops)
154. build a trap to catch a wild animal
155. do a nature animal craft
156. explore hobbit holes
157. JUMBO art
158. Make animal tracks
159. build a robot
160. build something using just rocks and sticks
161. Make dolls
162. Make action figures
164. Make spider webs
165. Go looking for real spider webs
166. build something from a simple wood kit.
167. workbench activities
168. toddler workbench activities
169. Play with ice cubes
170. Play with colored water
171. build boats (from things laying around the house
172. tissue paper art
173. make pretend ice-cream with plastic dishes, ice-cream scooper and wet sand.
174. build the largest sand castle ever (my children think so anyway)
175. Make and kneed real bread dough
176. go under the limbo stick
177. put on a performance (skits they make up themselves)
178. Go fishing (make fish from paper and paper clips and pole is stick, string, with magnet on end
179. Play button button who has the button
180. Do secret surprise painting
181. Have junk craft time
182. color and string noodles
183. bean art
184. Make our own icy (crushed ice and juice)
185. play dress up
186. Make musical instruments
187. Go exploring
188. sword tree battles
189. small plastic people adventures
190. play freeze
191. make sculptures with salt dough
The things I listed I do first with the children then most of the time they can do them without me showing them. Some I have to join in so we have enough people. I know the list should be a lot larger when I did a quick count a few months ago I had over 300 things and many things on this list I didn't have on my old list. I couldn't find my list so this is my new one. LOL! I think many of the things on this list are things children do all the time and parents remember doing years ago ourselves. I think a few of them I might need to add a few notes so everyone has a good picture of what they are.
#41 is ice cube chemistry. What we do is take an old ice cube tray and put small amounts of things from our kitchen in them and then I let the children mix them up. They get stuff like colored water (using food colors), baking soda, baking powder, vinegar, and what ever else they would like to try to explore with. I give a tiny spoon for the adding dry stuff and a medicine dropper to add in the liquids. They love doing this. They think they are real chemist. LOL!
#49 is make bird feeders. We have used pine cones covered in bird seed then hung them in a tree, we have cut holes in milk jugs, plastic containers, and even stuffed old nylons. We don't make the beautiful kind of feeders most people think of but they still work well if our feeders have food in them we have birds.
#53-58 box stuff. My children know they can have stuff like paint, markers, scissors, glue tape, paper, bottle caps, ribbons, sticks, toilet paper cores, wrapping paper cores, large sheets of paper, paper plates, foil, streamers, dowels, cups, yarn, fabric and other stuff to create with. As long as they put away anything they don't end up using I am happy to let them have all they want. If my porch or front yard ends up with that stuff laying around they are not allowed to make another box project for a month.
#61 paint driveway. This is a memory I have from my childhood. My mom would bring paints out to us in the summer and ask us to paint the driveway to surprise my Dad when he got home from work. We didn't have a paved driveway (I think a paved one would also work) we would pick up tiny rocks and paint them laying them along the edge of the driveway. My Dad would make a big deal over how nice it looked. When it rained the paint would wash off and we would need to paint it again! LOL! Any washable craft paint works for this one.
#63 is eat icy Jello. What is icy Jello you ask! LOL! It is regular Jello put in small plastic cups (yogurt cups work well) put in the freezer instead of the fridge. Don't freeze it solid. It ends up icy and jello like. My children love this on hot days. I have to admit that the way I first made this was I forgot I put some jello cups in the freezer to cool down just a little faster than in the fridge and it got icy. I never told my children I messed it up because if I told them that they never would have tried it. It is a big hit in our house (sometimes mistakes work out for the better).
#74 is a worm race. I got this from a Science book a few years ago. You take a large piece of paper and draw a large circle on it. In the center of the circle you put a small circle. Each person picks a worm and at the same time you all put your worm in the small center circle. The winner is the worm who gets to the line of the large outer circle first. I guess you could do the same thing with ants, frogs, any other small moving creatures.
#81 is bating practice. What we do is tie a whiffle ball to a string and hang the string from a tree branch or a clothes line. Then the children can swing at the ball over and over again with a bat and I can be playing or reading to the other child.
#82 is pretend campfire. We have done this several ways over the years. My first one was sand glued on paper with paper towel cores made to look like logs with yellow and red foam flames. I have also used small night lights for the fire, and the children often make them with just rocks, leaves and sticks from the yard. I then have them get a stick and let them pretend to roast marshmallows, make smores , and hot dogs. I let them have real food just not real fire. A pot with a lid with popcorn (all ready popped) inside is another thing they pretend to cook. They shake the pot pretending they are making it.
#83 pudding pies is just crushed cookie crust or already made crust with instant pudding dumped inside then a dab of whip cream on top. We sometimes mix in cool whip in with the pudding. Gram cracker crust work well for this. 5 minutes in fridge and a child has mad a pie all by himself. Even a 2 year old can do this without a problem.
#85 squirt bottle fights. Collect ketchup, mustard, shampoo, and soap bottles wash them out and fill with water. Then squirt at each other or see who's squirts the longest away.
#95 make up bug stories. How we do this is we will often take magnifying glasses (but not always) and adventure hats (also not needed). We will search for bugs (like an ant colony in the yard). We then will watch the bugs like worker ants and we will make up a story about them. Like this ant's name is fred and he is 80 years old he is looking for his brother. He LOVES to eat sugar. We will sometimes write the story down on paper but not alway. Sometimes we will drop some sugar or crumbs of food near them to see what they do. Once I did this a few times with my son when he was around 2 he was able to watch and make up his own stories without me. Even my daughter can do it now.
#96 fishing snack. This is one AmySue told me about when my oldest was a toddler. Use pretzel sticks for poles and peanut butter for fishing bait. Dab the stick in the peanut butter and try to pick up cracker gold fish with the fishing pole.
#100 Marching band we all pick an instrument from our music box and then march around the yard making noise or ummm.... playing music. LOL
#101 Master Jedi course. I set up an course for my children to do with light sabers. Things like run in and out cones., jump over things, knock things down and such.
#102 balloon box. Large box of balloons to dig out prizes in the bottom, jump in, and toss balloons around.
#103 scooter races are little scooters (skateboards would also work for this) sit on them and kick a ball around or lay on tummy and use hands to move you (we call it swim) to a finish line. Little games like that on a little board with wheels.
#104 fly grocery bags. Tie string or yarn to handles of a plastic grocery bag. This is the easiest kite I found for a small child to fly. All they have to do is to stand back to the wind and hold the string and the bag will fill with air and go up fast. A kite a 1 year old can fly is easy fun for all! I do let the children decorate the kites (bags) with ribbon, paint, stickers and such before they fly them. That also keeps them busy and happy longer.
#110 make nature letters. Fun ABC practice for little children (my children like this anyway). You can first write a letter on a piece of paper (for a very small child) then let them glue sticks, leaves, rocks, grass and such on the letter or older children can make an A B or C from the stuff found outside without it on a paper to copy. A child can make a entire alphabet or write words in the yard using just sticks, rocks and leaves. Writing with a stick in dirt is another thing we do a lot.
#114 big ball play. We have some LARGE balls. They are like exercise balls. My children roll over, bounce on, and other busy play with them. They often make up games to use with the big balls.
#117 act out a story. My youngest does this on her own but my son often needs ideas. One of the ones he loved was making his own sword (stick painted up) and pretending to be Hook he goes out hitting our trees trying to scare out Peter Pan. A few times the nasty crock got him (more than his hand) before he could find Peter Pan. We like to play pooh sticks and several other things we find in our story books.
#118 Mud or stone soup. I am sure many of you have made this lots of times as a child. You take a pot, bowl, or just a hole in the ground. Add in some water, leaves, rocks, maybe grass for seasoning and stir with old spoon or stick.
#119 perfume just like stone soup only we often like to use flowers, weeds, grass and water to make our lovely perfumes.
#124 Make a book. My son has always liked this one. I take some paper staple it up one side and have him write or draw me a story. This has been sometimes pictures, stickers, or written stories. When he was 2 his favorite character he created was furious M (he often made a W by mistake). We didn't have words in the books back then just a bunch of M's he would tell us the story that went with it. Now his books are very long and they have lots of writing (he doesn't like to draw much). I have loved all his books. It is something that keeps him happy and busy. My 2 year old is starting to write me books now. Hers are often scribbles and she calls them Daddy chases me then tickles my tummy. LOL!
#128 popcorn race. Make some popcorn and put it in a bag or bowl then give children a large spoon, cup or small container and have them scoop up the popcorn and race it to fill an empty container. This game works well with my 7 and 2 year old. My 2 year old gets a larger cup to carry and a smaller bucket to fill so it makes it that she can win as easily as her big brother. He has to work a lot harder to fill his large bucket with his tiny cup.
#135 set up a store. This can be a store that sells leaves, sticks, outdoor toys like balls, food pretend or real, mud pies, costumes, paper masks, or whatever the child picks. We use our cash register but when I was a child I remember using an old silverware sorter and paper or leaves for money.
#136 mini golf course. We are very blessed to have over 15 acres so my husband took the mower out in paths in our big back yard. Now the tall grass is the rough the cut is the fareway. T. and Daddy dug holes and put in small plastic cups to line the holes and we made flags with small dowels and foam flags to mark the holes. That is our back yard course. We also have a front yard course. That one my son made up himself. It involves a sprinkler, 2 child size pools, a tree, a soccer goal and such. From this I can say that a parent can make up a "big" course or a young child can make up one alone with no problem! My Mom says just turn a coffee can on it's side a stick and a ball and you have a golf course. If only she told us that before we got so carried away with the ones we made. LOL!
#151 water cup races. Just like popcorn races. A large bucket or inflatable pool of water and empty buckets to fill on the other side of the yard. Use cups, spoons, or buckets to run the water to the empty buckets to fill it up.
#152 simple sew projects. We use plastic needles, yarn, and plastic canvas sometimes. We use felt, yarn, plastic needles to make things (finger puppets are a big hit with us). We also use needle and thread. We sew with fabric. Most of the time it is a make what you want kind of thing not a planned craft.
#154 trap to catch a wild animal. Let me say this is pretend. OK to be honest my son thinks he will someday trap a wild animal but let me tell you how he does this so you can see that no animals will be hurt in this adventure. He uses plastic sandbox buckets or old pots and pans propped up with sticks and the bait is nuts or leaves and sometimes special nut water. LOL! It keeps him busy. Yes I do sometimes spring the traps and take the bait so he things a wild animal came by but got away before he could get to it. (giggle).
#155 nature animal craft is when we collect things on our nature walks then try to make animals with that stuff. Making animals from rocks, leaves, pine cones, and other things we find can keep us busy for hours we use glue for this.
#156 Explore hobbit holes. We have lots of rabbit and groundhog holes in our yard. We name our hobbit friends that live in them. We sometimes make signs for the doors and we tell of the adventures they are having. We also have rabbit from Pooh adventures living in our yard. We have made them sidewalks and left gifts to surprise them at the front of the holes.
#157 jumbo art. We use butcher paper, newspaper rolls, old gift wrap, side walk, or even the block wall on our garage to paint or color. We use chalk, tempra paints, water colors, pastels, and such to make large pieces of art.
#158 animal tracks. We look up then copy animal tracks in the yard or sand. We like to also make up our own scary monster tracks and such. We have learned about a lot of animals by finding real tracks in our yard.
#159 build a robot. We do this with boxes or by making ourselves into robots. We use things like foil, strainers scarves and such to make our own costumes building robots not costumes we use things like cereal boxes, foil and bottle caps and such. We can be very creative with this or very simple.
#161 make dolls. My children like to use the wooden pegs I get from the dollar store to make dolls. They use yarn, wool, cotton balls and such for hair. Paint or draw on faces. Fabric scraps or ribbons for clothes. Dish bottles, creamer bottles, milk jugs and other recycled materials can also make dolls.
#162 action figures. Just like the doll idea only they are made to look like toy soldiers, army men, space men, Star Wars creatures, or other BOY kind of figures. We use paint, fur (not real the craft kind), fabric scraps, foil, bottle caps and such for them. We then instead of playing house with them we line them up and roll marbles to attack or do more boy kind of play.
#163 tape. Give a child a roll of masking tape and they will find a way to keep busy and happy for a good hour or so. T. makes stickers for his little sister, builds traps, makes machines and all kinds of other things with tape.
#164 spider webs. We take tack nails and hammer them in a board then wrap string around the nail heads to make our own spider web.
#167 workbench activities let a child use a hammer, nail screwdriver and such
#168 Toddler workbench activities if you don't feel good with letting a young child use real tools let the child use golf tees in a container of clay and a plastic hammer. Foam and a plastic saw. or a plastic tool set
#180 Surprise painting. Use white crayon to draw a picture or write a note then have the children color over the paper with water colors to see the surprise you made them. The crayon will show after the page has some watercolors on it.
#181 Junk craft time. This was my favorite as a child. We got to make things using empty bottles, paper towel tubes, tissue boxes, foil, and other empty boxes and containers to create whatever we wanted!
#183 bean art. Making pictures with different beans. Just glue them to paper to make pictures.
#186 musical instruments you can make rain sticks, guitars, shakers, bells, tambourine, drum, maracas, kazoo, and many more from things around the house.
#188 sword tree battles. I didn't like my son being agressive fighting or trying to kill people so I came up with a way for him to be a boy but NOT talk of killing people. I made monsters and ghost like things for him to fight. To make them I stuffed the sewn end of pillowcases and tied them to make a head and left the body hang (like a ghost). I put a piece of velcro on the back of the head and I put strings or rope over tree branches with velcro on the ends to attach the "creatures" to the strings. He can go swing at the hanging evil monsters and knock them down but not kill people. If he talks about killing people he looses his "creatures" and swords. Not perfect but a system that works for us.
#189 Plastic people adventures. Using little people, army men, Star Wars figures, playmobile men, wooden peg creatures or such and have them fight in castles (made in sandbox), fight in trenches (ditches in our yard) or explore new places (under branches and other places in yard. I would rather if this game stayed with men exploring but my son often makes wars and stuff with them.
Please keep in mind that a prego mom who isn't thinking clear wrote this. If you don't understand something you can write me. I would love it if you shared your children's favorites with me! I am sorry if I listed something twice. Like I said my head isn't thinking well at all anymore. I am sure this is full of grammar and spelling mistakes. I hope this gives someone an idea of what kind of little things we do when we are not doing school work. Like I said many of them are things I don't have to join in with so I even get to sit and watch a bit. That is perfect for a very tired pregnant mama.