We love playing at home. My two little girls spend most of their time together. They love being creative and imagining they are on adventures. Sometimes they are princesses hiding from the pirates, other times they are spies going through traps. These activities do not last all day though. The hours at home, until dinner and bath, can some days seem like forever. Having some easy and fun activities for the kids to do can make the transition into evening go smoothly. Here are a few of my favorite activities that we hope you can recreate in your home!
– A Picnic- We love to take our lunch to the yard. The kids love to help. They set up a blanket and help to gather their favorite snacks while I prepare the food. They usually are more willing to try new foods when they are outside having a picnic too. It feels like an adventure to them so they get adventurous with their food! They can even help clean up and it is a great way to start teaching them how to fold a blanket.
– Hop Scotch- This is such a fun activity even for the youngest of walkers. Following a pattern, looking at the shapes (sometimes I change it up) is a great lesson for the little ones. Even if they don’t truly follow along, hopping and jumping is also a great workout for mommy! It is a reason to get up and move. It is a great way to connect and give them a good laugh while you try your best at hopping. I also love to have the kids help me draw the squares in chalk and write in the numbers. It is a great learning tool for the toddlers!
For the older kids- Chalk Art Candyland– Chalk art has so many fun and amazing benefits besides the seeing the artistic side in your family. One of our all time favorite activities is Chalk art Candyland. Think advanced hop-scotch. We draw a full path of squares around our patio and add slides and princesses (or frogs, dogs, cats , stick figures) and create our own game. We make up the rules as we go. The activity can keep them entertained for a solid hour between drawing, playing hopping and drawing again. It is even a great mommy workout getting your hop on if you choose to participate. Forget the gym. This is going to be a new thing!
-Nature Explorer- This one is so simple. I grew up on a farm. I remember my mother sending me and my brother off in the morning with a sacked lunch and told to go explore the farm. Our backyard today is really small. We live in the city, but there is still so much to explore. There are snails, ants and birds all around. Sometimes the girls get lucky and find a ladybug or a butterfly visiting a flower. It is so cute to see them quietly tip toeing around to hear the birds and sneak up on the bugs.
-Using Nature- Using nature in arts and crafts is very important to me. We waste so much in art supplies and paper just to keep them busy every day. There are so many great things sitting in your back yard to turn into a craft project. You can paint pinecones and rocks. You can even create your own paint out of old berries or cherries from your refrigerator. Allowing them to pick what they want to use can be really fun and creative. I always learn so much about my children’s interests while letting them pick their own things. It can lead to some great conversations! -Rock Coloring- We have a lot of rocks around our property. Some from nature and some from landscaping. I put the kids to work finding their favorite 5-10 rocks. After they have completed their mission together they return ready to work. They each get a marker and go to work. Mia likes to use the rock to tell a story. Each rock being a different seen. Penna typically gets most of the marker all over her but luckily it is close to shower time so I just let her run around covered in marker marks until then. Make sure you use washable markers with the little one!
-Pet Care- My girls love playing doctor. I quickly became tired of being their favorite patient and I recruited our two old dogs to become the new victims. The dogs actually love it. They enter the small yard all together with their doctor kits and get to work diagnosing and treating our sweet mutts. They entice them to stay with small bits of dog food they hide in their doctors bag. The dogs feel loved and paid attention to. The past few years have been so different for them with small children getting most of the love. It is very sweet to see them all bonding and finding a love for our pets and our pets a deeper love for them.
Housekeeper- My girls will never clean up their room or playroom, but if I convince them to play housekeeper they will scrub my house. Literally scrub my house! I give them both sponges and put them to work. Sometimes it is my walls. My hallways get so dirty between kids and dogs. Sometimes it is windows and sometimes the mirrors….the list can be endless. Sorting laundry can even be fun…but never ask them to pick up their room during the game. It will quickly end as they will have you all figured out..
Family Cooking- My favorite way to keep the kids busy before dinner is to have them help cook! It is so simple. They stand on chairs around the kitchen island and wait for something to mix or pour. I like to speak to them like I am a professional chef. I explain my recipes and talk about rules in the kitchen. They feel very important helping prepare the family meal. I usually struggle to get them to try different foods. When they help prepare it they are so excited to try new things!
I hope these simple activities can give you a little bit of peace during these long summer days at your home!