School is out and you've got all Summer to spend with your kids. Though this time can be an opportunity to bond, often families get sucked into monotonous days of too much TV and too little activities with engagement. Unfortunately, admission prices to water parks and indoor playgrounds can break the bank when you've got more than one child.
Here is a list of fun (and free!) activities to enjoy with your preschool-aged child(ren) this Summer:
Here's a little secret . . . it doesn't even have to be your neighborhood! Shhhh. Sometimes we drive over to the big, fancy, fenced-in playground in one of our town's newest home developments. The fact that we get there by car and not just walk to our own playground makes it seem extra special. My kids act like we just walked into a theme park every time we discover a new playground.
Wash the Car
This is something my husband does with the kids that makes them feel like they are helping out. While he is doing the actual washing, we give our 5- and 2-year-old sponges and tell them to scrub the tires. I've yet to come across a kid who didn't like helping to wash the car.
Feed the Ducks
We are lucky to have our home back right up against a pond with a whole flock of ducks. They've even been known to show up on our doorstep. This is probably due to the fact that last summer my children single-handedly supplied 75 percent of their food source in stale hot dog buns and saltine crackers.
Backyard "Water Slide"
Regular slide + hose = water slide. Bonus points if you splash a little bubble soap on the slide for speed.
There is nothing better on a hot day than a nice cold popsicle. A great way to give into the frequent treat requests without feeling guilty about artificial dyes and high sugar content is to make your own. You can use almost any juice, and we like to add a little pureed fruit in as well. Our favorite combo is orange juice and strawberries.
After a good afternoon thunderstorm has safely passed, put their bathing suits on and send them out to jump in puddles. Grab your camera because this makes for awesome pictures!
Library Story Time
Our local library has a weekly story time which includes a simple craft at the end. It's a nice way to get out of the house for some social interaction without spending a dime.
Sidewalk Chalk Paint
A couple Summers ago, I discovered a simple recipe for sidewalk "paint": corn starch, food coloring, and water. Mix those ingredients in a small bowl, and let your child paint the sidewalk or driveway using a foam craft brush. As it dries (almost instantly) it will look just like sidewalk chalk, but in the fluid strokes of paint. The best part? It washes away completely with water.
Living Room Fort
There's nothing better than a big sheet draped over the living room couch and chairs. Fill the fort with pillows and put on a favorite movie. This is a great activity to do on a day with bad weather.
Make Your Own Pizza
You don't have to be a chef! Premade crust, jarred sauce, and a bag of shredded cheese work just fine as a basic DIY pizza. Let your little chefs top with their favorite meats and veggies. Food tastes better when they help make it!
Whatever you do this Summer, remember that it isn't the grandest activities that make memories. Years down the road, your kids are far more likely to remember the simple moments their parents had with them. Go ahead and crawl in that fort too!