This just in: there’s still a whole month left of summer. Mondo credit for surviving day-to-day life with the kids thus far, but be honest – you’re running out of ideas. We don’t blame you if the creative juices are running dry (or if the piggy bank is almost empty) – in fact, we’ve got you covered. Here are 31 (one for each day of August, if you’re counting) awesome and cheap ideas to help you coast through the rest of the summer. Your kids (and your wallet) will thank you!
1. Go crazy with sidewalk chalk.
2. Break out the board games – great for a rainy day, or outside on a pleasant afternoon. Good, old-fashioned fun!
3. Grab the safety goggles and try out some backyard science experiments. From giant bubbles to exploding watermelons, there are endless activities to try (some more messy than others)!
4. Make a mini-putt course with a dollar store set of clubs and household items. Use cups for holes, cardboard tubes for tunnels, shoeboxes for ramps and pillows for obstacles. Let your kids use their creativity in the design, or earn bonus parent-points by making the course while the kids are in bed, as a surprise for the A.M.!
5. Dance. Your. Butts. Off.
6. Set up a geocaching account online and download the app on your smartphone (all for free!), then head out for a local geocaching adventure. Your kids can take turns navigating and searching your surroundings high and low.
7. Put bathing suits on and wash the cars.
8. Visit a farmer’s market – and not just to make purchases. Encourage your kids to chat with the local vendors, and ask questions about the goods they produce. Are there one or two items that really catch the eye of your little shoppers? Make a couple of small purchases to be used as part of a snack or meal later on.
9. Invade the dollar store craft aisle.
10. Cook a meal as a family – and give everyone a role. (There are three-year-olds out there cooking scrambled eggs, so trust us when we say that even the little ones can contribute!)
11. Spend the day doing as many small good deeds with the kids as possible. Stand at the doorway of a mall and hold the door for people. Offer to carry people’s bags to the car as they leave the grocery store. Or, pay for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru line. Seeing the reactions of the people you help will make it all worth it – and your little ones will have feel-good memories about the whole experience.
12. Go to the library.
13. Make a bucket list of local parks/playgrounds. Write down a list of local spots and make a point of hitting up each one. Make it extra fun with a simple, homemade “passport book” where your kids can stamp or sticker each visited park. It’ll be a book full of memories by the time summer’s done!
14. Build a fort. The more epic, the better.
15. Have a movie/pyjama day. And we don’t mean leaving your kids in front of the TV while you busy yourself with something else. We’re talking lights off, curtains drawn, all the blankets and pillows thrown in a cozy pile on the floor and favourite snacks ready to go. Choose a household classic that the whole family loves and something brand new for everyone.
16. Make a surprise visit to a relative or family friend.
17. Volunteer. At a local festival, the animal shelter, a food bank, a senior’s residence – the options are endless. Regardless of how you spend the hours, it’ll be rewarding for the whole family.
18. Have a picnic in the park.
19. Have an overnight backyard camp-out. Borrow the equipment you need (tent, sleeping bags) from family or friends if you don’t already have it. Read stories out loud (scary ones if the kids are old enough), sit on a blanket and look at the stars, play cards and create light shows with flashlights. The rest of the night is up to you!
20. Have ice cream for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Why not?
21. Help your kids run a lemonade stand. A table, a sign and some paper cups are all you need to set up shop. Serve chilled store-bought lemonade on ice or use lemons, sugar and water to create a batch of old-fashioned, homemade lemonade.
22. Visit a splash pad – even if you already have a pool. A change of scenery and some water fun always lead to rockin’ summer vibes.
23. Build a Lego/Duplo/Megablocks city.
24. Brush up on some essential life skills. You might even learn something new along with the kiddos.
25. Look up skipping rhymes and teach your kids the songs and actions. (Bonus: skipping burns a TON of energy.)
26. Do a dress-up photo-shoot. Bust out old Halloween costumes or dig up old clothes and jewellery from the back of the closet. Add fun props like sunglasses, hats and homemade speech bubbles. The photos will be priceless!
27. Go bike-riding somewhere brand new.
28. Dabble in the art of origami. Start with something simple, like this beginner level origami dog that only requires one small, square piece of paper.
29. Send your kids on a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of items that can be found outside, like pine cones, maple leaves, stones, sticks and wood chips. They’ll have a blast seeing how many items they can check off the list!
30. Go nuts with temporary tattoos — and don’t forget to take photos! (Pro tip: baby wipes are great for removing temporary tattoos).
31. Get messy with paint. Fingers, hands, feet, whatever. (And we don’t blame you if you want to take this activity outdoors!)