Half way through summer vacation, time starts to drag. I’m all out of ideas for how to keep the kids busy, and they start bouncing off the walls. I decided to ask some of the moms I know for their summer ideas, so I can freshen up my family’s routine.  Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Visit the dollar store. Give each child ten dollars and let them go crazy. Your kids will get a lesson on budgeting and doing some simple math. I let my kids buy whatever they want, within their budget, and to do with it whatever they please.  My son loves to take things apart, so he chooses the most complex items he can find and goes to town dismantling them as soon as we get home.
  • Paint with water. Send the kids outside with a tub of water and foam brushes. They can “paint” with water on the sidewalk or the fence.  The kids have a blast, and there’s no clean up at all because the water evaporates.
  • Books on tape. My daughter always wants me to read books to her. I love to do it, but I can’t drop everything and read every time she asks. So we found—and fell in love with—books on tape. Kids can read independently while still enjoying a read aloud.
  • Pick up some craft-store kits. The kids can choose a craft they want to try, and you’ll have all the supplies they need pre-prepped in the box.  Or consider getting your kids a subscription for a monthly craft, cooking, or STEM box (you’ll find many choices online). Every month your kids will get a new project in the mail!

Another difficult part of having children home all day is the constant food requests. Half an hour after I’ve finished cleaning up breakfast, a brave soul approaches to ask for a snack, and then it’s lunch time. If I’m not careful, I can spend over half my day in the kitchen. I’m trying to encourage my kids to learn  some simple recipes themselves, so I particularly appreciated these cooking tips.

  • Pop some corn. I taught my daughter how to air pop popcorn. She’s allowed to “flavor” the popcorn with spices, Parmesan cheese, or even salsa. She has fun inventing new recipes, and I don’t have to worry about her eating junk.
  • DIY eggs. We recently got one of those egg cookers that uses water vapor as a timer. It’s safe and simple to use. My kids can easily cook an egg or two, and make bacon and cheese omelets or hard-boiled eggs. They love making themselves breakfast–and I love the cooking break.
  • Make a frozen treat. I just bought one of the new frozen fruit ice cream makers everyone is talking about, and I love it! You take slightly defrosted frozen fruit, put it in the machine, and out comes “ice cream.” It’s healthy and so easy that the kids can do it themselves!

These tips have given me some fun options to shake up our summer. Do you have summer tips to share?