By Kirsty Snare –

Summer vacation is here, bringing 12 weeks of days just waiting to be filled with exciting new activities. We have put together a list of 12 fun, cheap and easy summer activities that any child will love – one for every week of the summer.

1. French Day

14 July is Bastille Day, but any day is perfect to explore and celebrate French culture. Dress up in you finest couture, or just a beret and a fake moustache. Learn basic French words, like bonjour and merci, and speak in a French accent as much as you can. Eat croissants, pain au chocolate, baguette, souffle, or plain old French fries. Make paper bunting and color in the French flag for decorations.

2. Fairy Day

Go beyond normal dressing up and explore the magical world of fairies. Read classics like The Magic Faraway Tree, or write and illustrate your own. To make fairies in a jar, break open a glow stick and shake the liquid into a jar, before adding silver glitter and shaking well. Make a fairy nest to hang from a tree by inflating a balloon slightly and wrapping it in embroidery thread that has been dipped in liquid PVA glue. Make a basket or lattice around the balloon, allow it to dry, and then pop the balloon.

3. Field Trip Day

Keep an eye on your local paper for interesting events that you can go to, like a fire station open day, or visit somewhere in your area you pass often but have never gone to.  It might be picnic in a park, a trip to museum, or taking photos around an historical house. Let your children know a few weeks in advance and ask them to think about where they want to go.

4. Den Day

Every child needs a den – a place to hide from reality and create their own fantasy world. Choose a suitable location based on the weather and the space you have available. It could be as simple as 2 chairs, a broomstick and a bed sheet, or a packing box left over from something large. Used packing cartons can be bought cheaply from removal firms and can be stacked to make tunnels and igloos. Let your child sleep in it if practical or just make it really dark and make shadow puppets with a torch and your hands.

5. Gratitude Day

There comes a point every summer where even the most laid back child gets a little spoilt and demanding. Make that day gratitude day. Start by listing five things they are grateful for. Then get them to think of one or two ways in which they can share their good fortune or express their gratitude. It might be making a cake for someone who has looked after them, or drawing a picture for a friend who is ill. If you are thinking of de-cluttering, get your children to sort through their clothing and toys that can be donated to charity.

6. Science Day

If you have a science museum near you, take a field trip. If not, there are plenty of easy activities you can do that help children see that science is all around them. Try simple experiments like making a foam fountain using hydrogen peroxide and yeast; mixing oil, food coloring, a seltzer tablet and water in a soda bottle and shaking to see what happens; or clean tarnished pennies with vinegar and salt.

7. Nature Day

Take a walk around a local park or woodland. Make rubbings with paper and a crayon or chalk and try different surfaces, like bark and leaves. Identify different trees, and collect pretty flowers to press. Create a scavenger hunt and include items like something rough, something round, something hard, and an interesting stick. Make bird feeders by rolling a toilet roll in peanut butter and seeds, then hang it from a tree. Plant something and watch it grow.

8. Craft Day

Use Craft Day to try out all the activities you haven’t normally got time for. Some ideas include making glitter PlayDoh; use food coloring on rice or and stick it down to make pictures; melt old crayon ends to make new, multicolored crayons; mix shaving foam with food coloring to make bath paint; make giant sidewalk chalk using plaster of Paris and tempera paint; do potato stamping; use foam shapes and bottle caps to make stamps; or paint rocks collected on Nature Day to make rock pets.

9. Decorating Day

Let your children rearrange the furniture in their room or in other rooms if you are feeling brave. Get them to clean and tidy as they go along, vacuuming under furniture that doesn’t normally get moved.

10. No TV Day

Choose a sunny day for this one! Have a day where there is no access to TV, computers games, or anything with a screen for amusement. Play board games, paint the sidewalk with water, draw, color, bake, garden, or do anything that disconnects your children from their screens and connects your family with each other.

11. Do Something New Day

Ask your children what is something they have wanted to try but never have. It could be ice skating, making a new cake, going to a different supermarket, wearing their clothes backwards. If it isn’t dangerous or illegal, let today be the day they give it a go.

12. Sports Day

Get a group of friends together for picnic and games in a nearby park. Include running races, softball, an obstacle course with props like hula-hoops or funny hats, soccer goals, or anything your children enjoy and you have space for. Don’t forget the medals! If you can’t get outdoors use masking tape to make a track on the floor and blow marbles through straws. Play party games like musical statues, dancing around to whatever music you like. Play tennis with a balloon and fly swats, and see who can balance the longest.

Cheap, fun activities like these may take a little more thought and preparation than a trip to the movies, but the effort is repaid many times over with the happy memories you create.

About the Author:

Kirsty Snare is a family writer and mom who loves squeezing value out of every penny. She is on quest to show her kids that life is much more fun when they look outside the box or, in their case, the grey rectangle.

 

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