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10 Summer Activities that will Satisfy Bored Kids AND your Wallet

Summer: the ultimate free-for-all.

Instead of being entertained and engaged for 5 to 8 straight hours every day, kids are now looking to you with those big eyes that say “I’m bored.”

Here’s some fun and thrifty ideas to beat summer boredom that will keep both your kids and wallet happy.

Make a tire swing

A simple summer classic, tire swings can easily be put up and taken down as often as you’d like. On the days that the park is too crowded or it’s too hot to make the walk, hop on the tire swing and let the fun begin!

Simply hang a tire from a sturdy branch with strong rope and you’ve got yourself a swing.

10 Thrifty Summer Ideas Guaranteed to Beat Boredom, not your Wallet
Photo by Flickr user twred

Have a cooking day

For those days that the air conditioning is more comforting than the wicked heat, rally the troops into the kitchen and come up with some fun recipes to make as a family.

On those especially hot days where turning on the oven is a no-no, check out this list of no-bake desserts that are sure to beat the heat.

Cooking with Kids

Backyard obstacle course

Who is the greatest obstacle warrior of them all?

Have a competition in your backyard that will be sure to keep kids busy for hours. Make an obstacle course out of wading pools, tires, and ropes to test kids’ balance and agility. For some great obstacle course ideas visit here.

Scavenger hunt

Keep kids entertained and having fun by sending them on a scavenger hunt. Hide clues throughout the house and yard so that kids will have to follow clues to get to their final destination. Place clues underneath rocks, hide a message in a balloon, or even bury clues in the yard so kids will have to dig for them.

The final destination could be anything from a surprise ice cream cone to a special screening of their favorite movie.

geography for kids
photo by Flickr user artstreamstudios

Rainy day fort

What better place to set up camp than in the comfort of your own living room?

Grab some pillows and blankets and build a fort worth writing home about. Shut off all the lights and bring out the lanterns so kids feel like they’re really at camp. Kids can share ghost stories, eat s’mores, and play flashlight tag all just steps from their bedrooms.

Photo by Flickr user designerBrent
Photo by Flickr user designerBrent

Have a boat race

Toy boats can be made out of anything from wood to Tupperware—as long as it floats, it can be a boat!

Go to your local creek or simply fill up a pool in the backyard and let the races begin. Kids can use straws to set their ships sailing and see whose boat is the quickest. For some ideas on how to construct your own boat, check it out.

Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes
Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes

Tie dye

This is a great outdoor craft as it can get pretty messy!

Grab some white pieces of clothing such as socks, t-shirts, or dresses, and get ready to dye! Tie dye kits can be purchased at any craft store, or simple fabric dye will work just the same. Be sure to follow all the instructions provided to avoid too many stains.

Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner
Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner

Dress-up box

Kids love to pretend, and what better way to create a living story than with costumes.

Raid your closet for old bridesmaid dresses or bedazzled jean jackets that you knew would come in handy one day. Most thrift stores are a gold mine for dress-up boxes. Fancy hats, heels, and costume jewelry can be found at a fraction of their cost if you know where to look!

Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}
Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}

Backyard water wonderland

This is a great activity for those unbearably hot days. Drag out the inflatable pool, sprinkler, water guns, and even water balloons and have an all-out water blast–bored kids no more!

For an extra cool dip, float some ice cubes in the pool and call it the “cool off zone.” When kids get overheated from running around they’ll get a quick chill of relief.

Photo by Flickr user jennyhud
Photo by Flickr user jennyhud

Fly a kite

Check your local forecast and plan for the next windy day. If your kids have never flown a kite before, I recommend picking up a cheap starter kite. You can find them at any super store or even some dollar stores.

Keep in mind they probably won’t last long, but it will teach your kids the basics of kite flying. Once they’ve mastered it, consider purchasing a good kite that will last all summer.

Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh
Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh
Written by Sarah Antrim
Parenting Resources

Reuse, Recycle, Repin: Pinterest-Inspired Crafts for Kids

Is perusing Pinterest your favorite way to unwind online? We’ve got a great pinning assignment for you: Search the site for fun, easy, and inexpensive ways to entertain your kids with at-home crafts! Here’s a sampling of some projects that we just love — all involve recycling and reinventing common household materials to create fanciful, colorful art projects that are perfect for rainy days, days off, summer vacations, winter breaks and more!

By Amanda Austin

Kids love crafts — and so do their creative caretakers. That’s because making original artwork keeps children amused while challenging their imaginations, fine-tuning their fine-motor skills, and exploring their world in a way that’s hands-on fun. Pinterest is a great place to find an almost endless supply of ideas for all ages. Here are some of our favorites to entertain your children the next time they cry “I’m bored” during a quiet weekend, rainy day, school holiday, or summer vacation. Plus, all are made with items you likely have on hand, so there’s no need to run to the craft-supply store first!

Turn “Trash” into Treasure

Pinterest is teeming with projects for kids created from products you have around the house — or would normally throw out. Here, a few clever selections:

  • Instead of recycling your empty toilet paper tubes, save a few for this adorable toilet-paper-tube snake project.
  • Are all those broken nubs of crayons driving you crazy? Melt them down to make multicolored recycled crayons with the help of this easy tutorial, or have your children glue longer crayons to canvas and use a hair dryer to melt them into unique crayon art.
  • Paper grocery or lunch bags can be embellished to become adorable paper bag puppets, with a wonderful bonus of “puppet show playtime” when the craft project is complete.
  • Every home has dozens of mismatched buttons cluttering junk drawers and sewing boxes. It’s almost as though they are just begging to be turned into beautiful button art.

  • Or dig through your craft cabinet and use up odds-and-ends in “combination” projects, such as this stunning “starburst” artwork made with glue, salt, and watercolors.

Preserve Kids’ Tiny Handprints

What mama doesn’t love adorable handprint art? Plus, these personalized pieces make great gifts to send to far-flung relatives and friends — or to give as a thank-you gift to a favorite teacher or after school instructor. If you’re stuck for unique ideas, Pinterest has you covered. Consider searching with a theme in mind: Maybe, for instance, you can connect your handprint artwork to a recent activity or outing. Here, a few ideas:

  • Planning on paying a visit to a flower show or butterfly garden? Check out this Very Hungry Caterpillar handprint project idea to create before or after your trip.
  • Did your kids get along swimmingly with the dolphins and fish at a recent aquarium visit? This fish aquarium handprint idea is the perfect project to commemorate the trip.
  • For a little girl who loves to dance, check out this ballerina handprint project. It’s the perfect craft to make before (or after) a recital — or to give to a cousin or sister after her big solo.
  • You can also create a handprint craft that helps you preserve special memories of the whole year. This tutorial gives you ideas for a new themed handprint every month. When you’re done, glue the handprints into a calendar. Add a few notes about what you did as a family each month, for a touching memento.

Make Your Own Craft Supplies

DIY-ers and penny-pinchers rejoice: Pinterest is the hottest go-to source for “make-your-own” art supplies. Plus, creating one of these items can serve as a kid-friendly project in its own right! Consider these options:

  • Have a child who loves to sculpt? Create some homemade “play dough” in every color of the rainbow using — surprise — colored gelatin as an ingredient!
  • For kids who love lightweight modeling foam, grab the shaving cream and cornstarch and whip up a batch or two of foam dough, using this super-simple recipe.
  • Pinterest can even help make bath time colorful with this washable, non-staining homemade bath paint. With this craft, the art-making and the cleanup are an all-in-one event!

Pinterest has scads of ideas for making unique art projects with your kids in ways you might not have thought of on your own.

If you find your child has a flair for fine arts, take a few minutes to call up the art-class offerings on Activity Hero — there, you’ll also find some great ways to nurture your child’s muse through camps, classes, and drop-in art sessions.

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