I have shared a few ideas over the past year —
Checking out your local Parks and Recreation department of your citywhere you can ask for the “gift of activity” from the grandparents. Instead of a bajillion tiny little toy parts to get lost, they could reuse a Zoo membership or fitness class!
How about DIY Treats? Make your own sidewalk chalk, playdo, or Popsicles with the help of the little hands! These are EASY recipes:
Let’s start with the sidewalk chalk:
1 cup plaster of Paris
1 cup water
Powdered tempera paint
Mold for chalk (small paper cups, ice cube trays, tissue rolls, etc.)
Mixing bowl and spoon
In a large bowl, mix the water and plaster of Paris together. Add the powdered tempera paint to the mixture. Once the paint has been mixed in well, set it aside for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into the mold and let it dry. This can take anywhere from several hours to a day (or maybe longer), depending on the size of the mold. Remember: The bigger the mold, the longer it will take to dry. Once the mold is dry, remove the chalk. If the chalk is still moist, let it air dry for another 24 hours.
Now the Playdo:
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
2 tsps cream of tartar (you can substitute 1/4 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar for each 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar. Be aware if you use vinegar, the play-doh will have a vinegar smell)
1 cup water
1 tbsp oil
Food coloring (blue and green are the best, but any color will work). A couple of drops will usually be enough. Too much and your hands will be bright blue for a couple of days.
First, combine flour, salt and cream of tarter in a saucepan. Mix liquids and gradually stir them into the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms. Remove from heat and knead until smooth. Store in a zip-loc bag.
Now, let’s go for the obvious ones: taking a walk, visiting the local zoo, going on a picnic, hitting the park.
Whether you are walking the dog together, walking as they ride their toddler bike or just on a “garbage mission” (to pick up litter as you walk around the block), the simple act of time together in a healthy lifestyle example is priceless!
The zoo is simply fun for all ages! Take your camera, take your treats along so you aren’t tempted to spend money on less than healthy treats, and enjoy a little adventure!
Picnics. Take a little drive or walk, spread out the blanket, whip out your packed meal and enjoy! You could lay on the blanket and make shapes out of the clouds…you could read a book aloud and so much more. Again, you are connecting to each other and avoiding the electronic distractions.
The Park. We are lucky to have a LOT of parks in Wisconsin, with a bunch of great play equipment! Seriously, little people can make new friends so quickly and just have a blast…if you don’t want to play with them, you can watch and work a little on that book you are trying to finish.
Teach them something.
Those of you that know me well, know that Ms Sarah (who is 4) reads at a second grade level and is almost finished with first grade math. We started when she was two, and did the “Your Baby Can Read” DVD series, then moved onto Dick and Jane Primers, then the great world of Dr Seuss. It just grew from there!
We also did Learning Charts and had a weekly theme that we build off of. After that, we went to States and Capitols! Made another learning chart and tied in the Flash Cards that we found in the dollar bins at Target.
We just started working on Countries…which I am making up as I go, LOL. Once I have it figured out, I will share. I have it figured out to two weeks per country, one field trip, books, songs, food, animals, crafts, and a world map. I sticking to the main countries like Eroupean ones, China, Japan, India, etc – not the ones that change every month, depending on their current revolution. I will aim for 26 countries and create a share-able plan
I hope this gives you a few ideas — it’s almost time to make that summer fun list that we talked about last year!