Do you dread summer when your children are out of school because they’re bored with nothing fun to do? Even if they’re in childcare most days, it’s not easy coming up with low-cost ways to keep children occupied. The answer is to turn the ordinary into something fun. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Make a temporary playhouse/fort/pirate ship. Drape a blanket, sheet, or tablecloth (not plastic) over a table or a few chairs to make a playhouse. Large appliance boxes also work well and are fun to decorate, but can be hard to find.
- Get some medium-sized cardboard boxes from the grocery store, cut holes in the bottoms that fit your child’s waist, and draw headlights on one end and tail lights on the other. Your child can decorate the “cars” and take “road trips” or have races. Add shoulder straps made out of ribbon or duct tape, and use inexpensive orange cones (available at many dollar stores) to race around. This sit-in car may be better for a younger child or smaller space: http://jbmumofone.com/2013/09/08/how-to-make-a-cardboard-box-car/. And here are some other fun ideas for making toys out of boxes http://www.ivillage.ca/18-amazing-diy-kids-toys-you-can-make-cardboard-box
- Make any meal a picnic! Put a plastic tablecloth on the floor or on the ground outside and eat there.
- Cut sponges into shapes and make prints using washable tempera or poster paint. For longer lasting prints use poster board. The sponges can be washed out and used for cleaning later.
- Save some jars or bottles, tear newspaper (or any paper) into strips, and make a paste out of flour and water. Draw the newspaper strips through the paste and apply to the bottle or jar until it’s covered. Wait a day until it is completely dry to paint and decorate.
- Blowing bubbles is always fun. Check out http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-giant-bubbles/ to make big bubbles.
For more great ideas with pictures and instructions, go to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/29-dollar-store-finds-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-summ.