Whether you chose to keep them at home or you missed the three day window of booking a camp way back in January (who makes up these rules anyway?), you’ve now got eight weeks to enjoy and entertain your youngsters. Enjoy being relative. Like when being compared to a pap smear.
Thankfully you’re not alone! We’ve enlisted the help of the experts* at YummyMummyClub.ca to keep your kids entertained so you can save your sanity this summer. Whether you’re going it alone or rallying the mom troupes, check out these fun, (some FREE) activities for frolicking in the sun….or rain. We like to hedge our bets.
The More The Merrier: Things You Can Do With Other Moms
Contrary to the name, this party doesn’t have to occur on a Sunday, simply when you want a Fun-Day! (Sorry…things seem funner when they rhyme). This get together has the kids enjoying a favourite summertime treat and lets them control the toppings! Assign each guest one sundae topping while the host provides the ice cream and bowls. Then the kids create their own extravagant sundaes to eat and enjoy. Extra whipped cream can be saved for when daddy gets home. Ha! Whatever.
You don’t need to go out and buy anything for this fun activity. Send the kids searching through your house for any extra ribbons, paper, stickers or whatever else you have laying around. The kids then decorate their bikes and/or scooters and parade their newly bejazzled bikes around the neighbourhood.
Warning: If the moms have any bejazzled parts, they should keep them hidden.
Play Date Video
Video tape portions of a play date and then show the video to the kids later on with popcorn. Kids LOVE to watch themselves. It should go without saying….if you partake in any extra-curricular video tapings with your partner, be sure not to mix them up.
Rainy Day Scrapbooking Party
Using a digital camera, take pictures of each child or have the kids take shots of each other. Print 4 to 6 shots of each child and have them glue them into a plain scrapbook. Provide stickers, pens and pencil crayons and help them write a sentence or descriptive words under each photo. Let them decorate the cover and suddenly they have a memento of a day that’s momentous instead of unmemorable.
Ikea Ball Room
Kids are supervised while you and your friends shop or eat Swedish meatballs. ‘Nuff said.
It’s Show Time!
Bring out your kids inner William Shakespeare or Liza Minnelli. Provide dress-up clothes and let the kids practice a show of some kind. While they practice, moms can relax and visit with friends. When the show is ready for an audience, moms move in to watch. But be sure to keep heckling to a minimum otherwise the kids won’t want to do it again.
Going It Alone: When Other Moms Aren’t Available
Playgrounds, Local Beaches, Pools and Splash Pads
Unlike oil and vinegar, the water/child combination occupies kids for hours and leaves them exhausted and going to bed on time. Destinations are often within walking distance so you can pack a lunch and spend the day. Often FREE, these destinations are fun and fabu!
Added Bonus: It’s a good chance to meet other moms who live close by so you can do some of the “More The Merrier” play dates above.
I’ll Take Yours If You Take Mine*
Have a friend drop the kids off at your house for an afternoon so she can go grocery shopping/work/ or whatever and have her return the favour later in the week. Kids get a play date and you get childcare to save your sanity and allow you to do something all by your onesome. Like a much needed pedicure for your sandaled feet.
*This only applies to kids. Not husbands.
Libraries are great because (1) they are air conditioned for those hot hot days and (2) they are completely family friendly. PLUS many have summer reading programs which reward kids for reading (hello? Educational bonus points!).
Another Added Bonus: You can take your laptop and get some work done while the kids build on their own reading skills.
Farmers Markets and Farm Visits
'Tis the season to buy in season - so get out to a farmers market. Give the kids a shopping list (tip: print out images for a pre-reader grocery list, word list for readers) and teach them about eating what’s grown close by. And with so many “Pick Your Own” farms around, you can also teach them about the farming and growing aspect of what they eat. Another chance to add education without them even realizing it!
Goin’ Old School
Bring out the sidewalk chalk for a game of hopscotch, grab the skipping rope and teach them double dutch, swing your hips with a hula hoop or simply go running through the sprinkler. These games may seem old school to you but with so many kids growing up thinking bowling happens on a t.v., it’ll be all new to them.
A movie on a beautiful summer day? GASP! Who DOES that?! Well……we do. Have you ever stayed in bed until 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday cuddled under your quilt and maybe even drinking a coffee and reading? Kids are the same way! Watching an afternoon movie doesn’t have to be just a rainy day activity. Treat your kids to an afternoon flick every once in awhile even when it’s sunny and nice! And while they’re watching you can go snuggle under that quilt and have quiet time for yourself.
So whether you’re a “There’s Safety In Numbers” or a “Go It Alone” type of mom, we’ve got you covered for a summer of fun that’ll allow you to kick back and be a kid again or grab some time to be an adult with your friends.
*Experts being defined as “Mom’s who’s kids also don’t go to camp and out of sheer desperation have created activities enjoyed by kids of all ages lest the liquor store run dry”