Yesterday was the official start of summer although we have been feeling the summer heat in South Florida for weeks now. School is out and the kids are ready to be entertained…yes that is right! If your kid isn’t in full time camp then you are on the hunt for fun, inexpensive and easy activities to do with them. Between the three of us, we have 6 kids and 1 on the way. One of us is always putting together some activity for the kids and we typically try to plan everything together. They have more fun together anyways. Just yesterday, I had my niece and nephew over and they played outside for hours! I took a small baby pool and filled it with water. I covered the top with floating balls and hid toys on the bottom of it to make it a treasure hunt for them. This was something simple that could be done with items you may already have in your home! With all the exciting activities we have planned for the summer, I narrowed it down to my top 4!
This was such a blast with the kids! Simple and easy. We went to the dollar store and bought colorful buckets. The next thing we did was buy the flamingos which we found at target. We filled the buckets with sand and then stuck the flamingos in each bucket scattering them around the yard. We used diving rings that we already had for the pool but you can pick those up almost anywhere! Each flamingo was worth a different amount of points depending on how far it was from where you were standing. The kids had a great time trying to get the rings around the flamingos necks and it’s always fun to have some friendly competition 🙂 Quick and easy right? Keeps the kids busy for a while and off their electronics.
I have to say my sister Katie came up with this idea and it’s definitely one of my favorites. The best part about the DIY Zoo is the preparation that is involved! The kids spend so much time using their imagination and having fun with planning what they want their zoo to look like. Here is the typical process we go through when putting this all together:
- Find your zoo location (we use our backyard).
- Have the kids create a map of what attractions they want to display in their zoo. We usually run around the house and see what type of stuffed animals or figurines we have and go from there!
- Once you create your map, have the kids come up with a ticket price and a ticket booth. You can use a small kids table if you have one. We charge $1.00 entry for anyone who wants to come visit the zoo.
- Set up time! Make separate areas for each attraction. We’ve done a feeding area with stuffed giraffes. And yes they charge an extra $.50 for the food haha. We have done play time with the dolphins where we’ve thrown a blow up float in to the pool and had guests toss toy fish to them. Elephant rides…although we use a wagon and just toss the elephants in there it’s still a ton of fun for them and it’s always a favorite attraction for them! Be creative. Use whatever you have in your house! That is the fun part about all of this. Let them use their imagination and come up with ideas on their own. You can even end the zoo with a small gift shop and have the kids do some arts and crafts. This keeps them busy for an entire afternoon. Be ready to call your friends to come over though 🙂
Water ballon and water gun painting
Yes this is messy, but it’s a ton of fun. You can do this in a couple ways! I usually bring out an easel with large paper and fill our water guns with different color paints. You can easily get water guns at the dollar store! I use washable paint of course 🙂 Let the kids make their own masterpiece and go to town! With the water balloons we make it more of a game. Fill up about 100 water balloons and hide about 10 that are filled with paints. The goal of the game is not get hit by the paint. It’s exciting to watch them jump up and down when it’s water! Make it exciting and suspenseful. Do it outside in the grass where you wont care if theres a mess!
Night time drive in movie theatre
This is a common occurrence for our family and one of my favorite activities we do together! During the day have the kids do all the preparations and later have a full blown movie night ahead. Have them create their own drive in cars. Any cardboard box will do! Let them paint them, color them, cover them with stickers. Whatever makes them happy! If you don’t want to splurge for the outdoor movie screen then you can always make it fun indoors. If you want to make it a grand event then have a few couples chip in with you for the screen and plan a small BBQ. It then becomes fun for both the parents and the kids! You can all share the screen and pass it around for the summer. You can even have the kids make some homemade candy and food throughout the day which is something else that will keep them busy!
One more thing: Our kids love playing with chalk outside and it doesn’t have to be so boring. Look at this site we found with some really cool and different ways to use chalk with the kiddos!
Enjoy and happy summer everyone.