With summer vacation approaching, you might be wondering what your children are going to be doing this year with all that time off. We’ve put together some things to try out with the kids that’ll keep them busy and hopefully save you money too.
Do some decorating
Whether it’s painting the walls, upcycling a chair, or scouring curbs for tossed treasures, summer is prime time for decorating and designing. The warmer days should make paint dry faster and you’ll go back to school or work knowing that you’ve improved your home.
If you’ve got some junk to get rid of at home, or want to encourage the kids to give up their old toys, a yard sale could be a fun way to make some money and know that you’re not just throwing your old things away. The get the kids more involved, why not add an incentive like allowing them to keep the money made from their toys, or give a prize to the child that sells the most?
Wash the car
Something as simple as washing the car can be really fun on a hot day. Kids love to make a mess and they’ll have great fun spraying the hose and you can reward them by having a water fight at the end! You can also try using an eco-friendly soap from Fragile Earth.
Try some summer recipes
The amount of clever summer recipes are endless, and there are lots of child-friendly ideas that are simple and fun like making smoothies or real-fruit popsicles.
Do some gardening
Vegetables such as beetroot and salad onions are perfect for planting in the warmer months and do not take long to grow. Kids will love seeing them grow and having them to help with the planting might even make them more likely to eat them!
Do you have any other ideas of how to keep your kids busy over summer vacation? Whatever you do this summer – have fun and keep learning!
Written by Laura Hall at Shiply.
Do you ever worry that your children don’t seem to love being outdoors as much as they should do? There’s so much to enjoy about nature, but in an age of gaming, virtual reality and relentless selfie-taking it can be hard to imagine how our children are ever going to appreciate the world outside their screens.
But, it’s certainly possible for children to enjoy technology and the modern world while also appreciating the great outdoors and the timeless cycle of nature. Here are five things you can do to encourage your kids to love it…
- Show no fear
Worms, spiders, creepy crawlies, mud, petting cows and saying hello to horses… it’s all part and parcel of loving the great outdoors, which is why it’s important you lead by example when it comes to interacting with nature. Don’t screech, screw your face up or refuse to touch something: your children will copy you, so get down in the mud and be prepared to make friends with animals and insects!
- Gather treasures
Kids love gathering ‘treasure’, so why not encourage them to view the things that the natural world provides as treasure? Rocks, flowers and feathers can all make beautiful treasures, so organise weekend ‘treasure hunts’ (i.e. walks in the woods), make a treasure box to keep things in, or even do arts and crafts projects using the treasures they’ve gathered.
- Prep them out for the great outdoors
Nature can be beautiful, but it can also be wet, cold and miserable if your kids aren’t wearing the proper clothing. So, make sure they have walking boots, wellies, rain coats, water proof trousers, rucksacks, camping gear – basically everything that helps them to stay comfortable, warm, dry and blister-free. That’s the only way you’re going to have half a chance of getting them outside and staying there. You can find these bits and bobs somewhere like Muddy Puddles, and good quality items will serve as brilliant hand-me-downs to smaller children.
- Plant and forage for things to eat
The natural world provides us with so many tasty treats, so why not introduce your children to them so they learn that good food doesn’t just come from the supermarket? Grow strawberry and raspberry bushes, forage for apples, go fruit picking, ask them to pick you some herbs from the garden for dinner, and take them blackberry picking in autumn. These kinds of things strengthen associations between food, good tastes and textures, and the fact it all comes from nature.
- Give them a special section of the garden
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have the space, give your kids a patch of garden of their own. Sure, they may just want to make mud pies in it, but that kind of ownership of outdoor space will encourage them to spend time outside come rain or shine. If you’re lucky they’ll fancy growing vegetables, which will be a fail-safe way to get them to eat their greens at the table!
Boy do these playhouses make me wish for the days when my littles were little. They had a nice indoor tepee (we still have it actually) and several cardboard playhouses (remember the ice cream truck) but these take the concept of an indoor fort or playhouse to a new level. And to think I spent my childhood draping sheets over furniture!
Any of these playhouses would make an amazing addition to a child’s room or a rec room. Enjoy!
Giant Whale Playhouse – Oh how I love this. How many hours of creative play and underwater imaging can your child have with this whale playhouse?
I love how colorful and unique this Geodome playhouse is. It looks so roomy and the bright colors make me think of rainbows and sunshine.
Your little outdoor adventurer and Indiana Jones wannabe will need a base camp like this adventurer playhouse. It is rugged and campy and if you have a boy scout or a girl scout they will love this one.
This camper playhouse is so much fun! It even has awnings and curtains. Oh and you actually can buy the cloth campfire with smores!
We have a plain tepee but I love this flower tepee. I think girls would especially love it.
This whimsical toadstool playhouse is just perfect. I adore it so much! It would make the ultimate fantasy playroom.
If your kiddo loves fantasy, monsters, dragons and the like then they will adore this monster playhouse. For some reason it reminds of Angry Birds, which my son loves. I am pretty sure he would want this right now, even though he is ten.
This playhouse is for those with limited space. It can be hung on a doorway or hallway.
Plastic cups for soooo yesterday! Nowadays it is easy to buy kids plates, utensils, and drinking cups without having to resort to cheap plastic just because you are afraid of breakage. Yes, you may not want to give them your regular dinnerware or china because it can be dangerous if they break it. Trust me I know, my youngest ran through the house with ceramic bowl when he was a toddler. He fell on it, broke it, and has a nice scar as a reminder of the experience.
Plastic is not your only option though…it’s only the ugliest and most wasteful. Newer stainless cups, plates, and utensils do not break and they also do not have the chemical nasties and toxins that plastic does. Stainless lasts a long time and through multiple children so they are economical as well as practical, even if the per piece price is a bit more than what you can buy in the kiddie section at Walmart. Look at the stainless options available and fall in love.
Stainless Steel Dish Set for Kids, with Plate, Bowl, and Cup:
Kids Stainless Steel Utensil Set:
A few weeks ago I posted about wearable GPS trackers for kids and why this may be a trend for parenting of the future. I am not by any means a helicopter parent and I won’t be tracking my teens everywhere they go but even with my more relaxed, free range parenting ways I saw a need for devices like these.
As I explained in that post, I am the mom of two special needs children (autism spectrum) and one in particular has a tendency to wander. Parents of high needs children have enough on their plates as it is. Anything that can alleviate some of our ever constant worries, gets an A+ from me.
For a couple weeks I have been able to test drive the Not Your Child GPS trackers.
I love that the device is small and sturdy. It is after all going to be in the hands of littles who don’t quite grasp the concept of being gentle. It can easily go in a backpack pocket, pants pocket, or it can be put on the custom lanyard that comes with the device. That way it can be worn on their person. I personally liked to use it in a cargo pants pocket. That way my son didn’t even have to know it was there…and frankly no one else would either if something nefarious is your concern. The lanyard option though is great for travel or a trip to the state fair where you can put it around their neck when you head out.
It is so small and light that it would be amazing to take with you while traveling. Congested subways and busy cities would not be so nerve racking if you had this little bit of piece of mind with you. It works in 103 different countries.
The device and service allows you to set a variety of alerts to be delivered to your cell phone by S.M.S or via email; alerts including…
- S.O.S – emergency
- Geo-fences – notification of them leaving and leaving a predetermined address or area
- Landmarks – What landmarks are nearby
- Speeding – how fast they are going and if they have reached or exceeded the speed threshold you have set
- Status – idle, moving, stopped, speed altitude, direction of movement
- Low battery (threshold also customizable)
I can see the value in many of these as an autism mom but if you are the type who just wants to spy a little on your older kids…well it would be easy to do. It might also be a good way to look into route and speed information for the transportation services you use for childcare or schools.
As your children grow up and start using smartphones, Not Your Child can still grow with them. With their Track Now software, you can turn their phone into GPS tracker that has the same functionality you loved in wearable GPS device plus speed alerts to see how fast your child is driving, SOS alerts to notify you with the push of a button if they are in trouble when they cannot call or speak on the phone and more. Traffic accidents in rural areas and teen parties are two scenarios that come to mind where that would be handy.
It is a great device and service and I highly recommend it if your circumstances require it.
This post was written in partnership with Not Your Child Corp. but as always the opinions I share here are my own and based on my own world view.