It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Summer!
Includes a Free Printable of Summer Activities for Kids!
Summer Activities help to keep the summer running smoothly with kids while making the most out of the short season. Summers should be exciting and wonderful memory-building times together, but they also need quiet time and independent play.
That’s why I started the Summer Door.
It’s an anticipated Choose-Your-Own-Adventure and has become our Summer tradition. It’s easy to avoid boredom blues with this one.
When my kids have made their choice and completed it, I find they are satisfied they’ve had something special that day and are happy to play off on their own or quietly together (and Mom can get a bit of work or relaxing done).
A door filled with fun and summer potential. I’ve even laminated blank ones to use dry-erase markers on for annual new ideas and activities. Keep those ones higher away from little fingers though!
The key to this door working is it’s customized to our schedules and very flexible. The kids know this from day one. Choices may be limited or turned down temporarily, but we’ll try to fit it all in.
The kids take turns picking activities off the door daily, but sometimes they have to choose between mom’s narrowed down choices.
Sometimes on weekend days, we skip it altogether.
All it takes is a little printing, cutting, and sticky-tacking. It’s totally worth it!
I run it with my Mom’s Summer Box. My own little compilation to keep things running smoothly. It’s the supplies, the ideas, the details I need to kick things off for each activity.
In previous years a Marshall’s reusable bag has been my favorite thing to keep my summer things together, but I upgraded to recycling the FabFitFun 2018 Summer box. It’s so pretty and bright, it screams summer fun! You can see I’ve collected materials and made up an idea list too.
Mom’s Summer Box 2018.
Some things I prepare ahead of time, like specific crafts or recipes/ingredients, but I keep it non-specific so I can get as creative as my schedule allows. That’s why I was so excited to share my Summer Door on the blog, it’s so super customizable for everyone! It’s really a lot of fun!
Print the summer door icons in the link at the end of the post for a Free complete list of activities. Here are a few of the things you’ll find, and some of our favorites so far:
Lego Super Tower.
Along with printables for lego building challenges and a “LEGO Wall-of-Fame” to earn a spot on, building a Lego super tower was an activity that took half a day. With a stackable snack of crackers, we matched challenge cards, made a Marble Run and built a super tower.
The challenge cards were a little hard to find the free printable for online (if you have time to make your own it would be better customized to your kids’ ages and abilities). My little guy and I did them together while my daughter raced against the clock with us. We tried to complete five challenge cards in 10 minutes.
We did and everyone’s name made it to the Lego Wall-of-Fame pantry door. 🙂
The Marble Run I wouldn’t recommend for <8 years old. My kids had weaning interest in the project and returned when it was finished and fun. Try making single-track marble racers instead!
As for the Lego Super Tower, we tried to use every single piece of lego we could. Largest to smallest.
My kids wanted to work together, but races for older kids would work excellent for super towers!
Glow Stick Bath.
What more is there to say about this one.
Break up a bag of glow sticks (we used necklaces), blow up a few balloons and slide small glowsticks inside and find fun wands. We came across some cute multi-colored pinwheels. Throw them all into a bath and turn out the lights!
* Don’t use any broken glow sticks and replace water or end bath if one breaks. Who knows how safe that is?!? Not me, but I do know it tastes terrible. :p YUCK
** Don’t try to roll or over-bend the glow sticks, like I did!
We had to drag the kids out after an hour, they were just having so much fun. Definitely give this one a try. It just gets more fun after soaps and bubbles!
Next time I’m putting them into the jetted tub and turning up the bubble factor!!
Ok, so, T-shirt making has never been my favorite with young kids.
T-shirts and fabric paints/glues are used up after one project, so it’s costly and we mostly end up just making PJ shirts.
This year I decided to try the Sharpies and alcohol technique (both of which I already had) and large PJ T-shirts from the dollar store ($3 each). Way more budget-friendly.
I printed off some black and white images, that the kids chose, and we traced them onto the T-shirts with our sharpies. Images with fine details should be avoided because of the ink spreading once the alcohol is painted on.
Isopropyl Alcohol (or Isopropanol) works great and also costs about $3. We only filled up a little at a time into the bowl to avoid spilling and over saturating our project (when mom turned away). The old cookie sheet is to put inside the T-shirt, unless you want the back to benefit from the dye too.
Lightly paint the alcohol onto the T-shirt Sharpie designs. These cheap sponge brushes from the dollar store work the best for this.
The color does not spread a lot right away (see the striped cat below), be patient. It continues to spread for about two minutes (like the shoulder area). If you want to go back and paint over a section again, do it at the very end to give the color time to spread nicely first.
Hang it outside to dry and get that alcohol smell outside while it disappears. It dries very quickly depending on how saturated the shirt is. My son’s shirt took much longer to dry than my daughters, and the black spread a lot more on his too, being the more saturated of the two.
I left them outside for about 5 minutes.
His is a monster with a comet coming toward his head and a poison-spitting snake. My daughter’s is filled with butterflies, hearts, flowers, cats and a rainbow. Clearly personalized. Lol.
One of the greatest things about doing this craft early in the season is they get to wear it all summer long.
It also makes a great paint shirt for the upcoming school year!
Well, the possibilities are endless here. Pinterest is saturated with great slime recipes.
Truthfully, I’ve had a lot of fails in this area. I know Borax is a new swear word, but I usually don’t make slime more than twice a year, and I really prefer a Borax slime to the contact solution recipe (which needs boric acid to work anyway??).
We made Phoenix Slime. I mixed 4 oz of slime (2 of those little glitter glues) with 1/4 cup of warm water. I mixed it with my hands, the key word being I. I did it. I don’t know why but most of my fails were when the kids did the mixing, I guess they don’t combine it well enough.
I love to involve them in the kitchen, measuring and stirring but this is one project they’re better on the sidelines!
Once it was mixed thoroughly, I added a mixture of 1 cup warm water with 1 tsp borax. Again, I mixed it with my hands, squeezing it well for about 5 minutes until it was finally the perfect slime texture.
Use whatever recipe you’re comfortable with.
This was called Phoenix slime, lovingly named by my daughter because I didn’t have the colors on hand to meet her unicorn slime request. It’s red and gold glitter glue combined.
This slime is a perfect texture and really perfect for sucking Shopkins and Hachimals into!
Whether you pull out the big bucket or make your own, play dough is a wonderfully creative medium. Play dough mats, cookie cutters, and plastic utensils all just add to the fun. Pasta, or sparkles…anything!
This year we colored ours yellow and I hid beads and “bling” inside. Pirate Play Dough (my apologies for lack of pics here). I used my homemade play dough recipe. http://www.laundryandlipgloss.com/recipe/perfect-play-dough/
It’s soft and makes a large batch, good for 2-3 kids.
Remember to seal it tightly in a plastic bag!
Pirate play dough was a huge success, and fun-summer-mom even allowed a bathroom disaster to happen from the rinsing off of found treasures. Just breathe through it. lol
And, the fun continues around here. Homemade ice cream fudge “blizzards,” splash parks, shrinky dink keychains for school backpack bling, and so much more!
Enjoy your own Choose-Your-Own-Adventure with these Summer Activities for Kids!