Summer means full days at the beach, long family barbecues, and…CHILDREN!
Is it just me, or do one hundred million kids come out of nowhere the second it’s warm out? I’m lucky that I love kids (and make half my living from watching them), but having an antsy child on your hands and nothing to do with them is the WORST. So, if you’re a mother, not a mother, a nanny, an aunt, a school bus driver…you name it, here are the activities I turn to again and again with “my” kids. Starting with…
There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as watching kids pamper each other. Grab buckets or big bowls, maybe a travel size shampoo and lotion, some kids nail polish (if you’re feeling up for the clean up challenge), and explain that they’re owners of an upscale spa resort, then let them go to town. If they’re stuck at first, suggest foot soaks, head rubs, or neck massages. The key is to do this outside, or if you’re in a pinch, the bathroom. Preferably the bathtub, since water inevitably gets everywhere. I’ve done this with both girls and boys, and it’s always a hit.
Make a paper fortune
You might remember doing this yourself, but if not…WHAT WERE YOU DOING DURING MATH CLASS? This is a great one to do on a rainy day — all you need is printer paper and some markers. Have your kids help with origami part (here’s a full tutorial), then let them take over from there, assisting with writing if need be. P.S. It’s always hilarious what “fortunes” kids come up with, i.e, You had pizza last night. You’re going to see a movie one day. YOUR BABY BROTHER IS SLEEPING.
“Does it float?” game
It sounds ridiculous typing it out, but within this game holds hours of giggly entertainment. All you need is a bucket, some water, and random small objects. You’re literally just seeing what floats and what doesn’t, but kids find this fascinating and hilarious. A coin: it sinks. A stick: it floats! A Jolly Rancher wrapper: it floats! Hahaha! You get the point.
Host a lemonade stand
This might be an obvious one, but lemonade stands are fun and timeless and the kind of thing that kids never forget (aka will love you forever for it). If you have time (and patience), let the kids squeeze the lemons themselves, and depending on the age, suggest that half the profit goes to a charity of their choice. Otherwise, Country Time and keeping the money works, too. : )
Freeze anything (well, almost anything).
This never, ever gets old. Hunt down some popsicle molds or an empty ice tray. Kids will go ape shit for any kind of homemade popsicle, and it’s fun because they can do most of the work — let them fill each one with orange juice or lemonade (add blueberries, sliced strawberries or spoonfuls of fruit yogurt if you feel like it), and pop it in the freezer. They’ll be checking it every ten minutes, but it’s sweet to see their eager anticipation.
And, of course, if all else fails, make a fort, or brownies with sprinkles, or just download the Frozen karaoke soundtrack.