With the summer holidays just around the corner, your kids will be thrilled to be out of school… for the first few days. Inevitably, however, their joy will soon turn to boredom, and YOU will be called upon to produce some legendary fun summer activities for your kids. With the summer holidays just around the corner, your kids will be thrilled to be out of school… for the first few days. Inevitably, however, their joy will soon turn to boredom, and YOU will be called upon to produce some legendary fun summer activities for your kids.
All the better if these activities can be completed in or near your backyard, as it’ll save you trips in the piping hot car, and hopefully some cash, too.
Many of these activities will entertain your kids for hours; all you need to do is help them set it up, and then let their imaginations go crazy. But watch out; your backyard will soon become the go-to location for all the kids in the neighbourhood.
Without further ado, we present the Fun Summer Activities Guide for Kids:
1. Bike Parade: get your kids to decorate their bikes with stickers, streamers, and flags. Hang posters around the neighbourhood advertising the date and time of the parade, and invite other kids to join in. Watch as they cruise past you, applaud, and take photos.
2. Water Balloon Dodgeball on the trampoline the “it” person jumps on the trampoline, while the other players stand around the outside of the trampoline and throw their water balloons over the safety net, aiming for the jumper. If the “it” person gets hit, he/she swaps with the person who threw the water balloon.
3. Backyard Obstacle Course: get your kids to create the obstacle course using skipping ropes, chalk, hula hoops, and any other useful items that are lying around the yard (think hoses, spare tyres, etc), and then time them going through it. Make some variations after a few rounds to make it more challenging for older kids, or simpler for the little ones.
4. Bouncy Yoga: watch a yoga DVD inside (or online) for inspiration, then try to copy the moves on the trampoline.
5. Water Painting: grab paintbrushes of different sizes and cups of water, and get your kids to paint their finest works of art on the back patio. When the sun hits it, it’ll dry and they can paint something even more amazing after that.
6. Mobile Sandpit: buy a storage box with a lid (the flat kind that you would slide under your bed). Fill it with sand and toys, and your kids will be sure to have a blast. When they’re done, snap the lid on to keep stray cats and rain out.
7. Lawn Art: put down an old white sheet on the lawn (you can buy cheap ones at the thrift store) and secure it with long nails or tent pegs in each corner. Fill small cups with various-coloured paints, and let your little ones go wild with their budding Picasso skills.
8. Tin Can Stilts: round up two empty soup cans and punch two holes near the top each of them, then run a thin rope through each can, knotting it together inside to create a loop. Kids place one foot on top of each can, hold onto the rope “handles,” and clomp away. Hours of entertainment! More detailed directions can be found here
9. Pool Scrabble: if you have a pool, buy several packages of small sponges, and write a letter on each one with a permanent marker. After throwing the sponges into the pool, the kids swim around collecting the floating letters and competing to see who can form the longest word.
10. Pool Noodle Marble Races: cut a pool noodle in half, length-wise, tilt both pieces like ramps side by side, and race marbles down each ramp. Encourage your kids to get creative with creating little toothpick flags for the starting line, and drawing the finish line with chalk a few meters beyond the pool noodles. Experiment to see which size of marble wins most often.
11. Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling: prepare this at dusk for a super fun, after-dark backyard game. Place activated glow sticks inside empty soft drink bottles (any size will do), then fill with water and place the cap back on. Set the bottles up as bowling pins, create lanes using ropes, skipping ropes, or chalk, and bowl the night away. Crank the funky tunes, while you’re at it.
12. Backyard Bike-Wash: put a spin on the old carwash idea, and create a bike-wash instead. All you’ll need are a bucket of water, liquid soap, sponges or dish towels, and the bikes and toys to be washed. When the kids are finished, get them to hose off the bikes and let them dry in the sun.
13. Sponge Relay: gather the neighbourhood kids and divide them into two teams. Each team has a sponge which the first player dips into a bucket of water at one end of the yard, then runs across to the other end where they squeeze their sponge into their team’s empty bucket. When each child has raced, measure the water in both buckets- whichever team has the most water, wins.
14. Outdoor Banana-Grams: construct huge letter-tiles by painting letters on thin sheets of wood. Then use them in the backyard to play games like Banana-Grams, Scrabble, or Boggle. This activity is perfect for older kids, and will take a considerable amount of time, but the letters will be useful for years to come. See more detailed instructions here.
15. Homemade Sprinkler: poke holes into an empty 2-litre soft drink bottle, and connect it to the hose with a male-to-male adaptor from a hardware store. Let your kids get creative with the placement of the sprinkler: hose dangling from a tree, on the lawn, or underneath the trampoline, for example.
As always, make sure that all your planned outdoor activities are safe, and that your kids slip on shirt, slop on 30+ sunscreen, and slap on a hat. And if it’s simply too hot to be outside, seek out an air-conditioned activity like going to the cinema or bowling alley, or baking, playing board games, or reading inside the house.
The main thing to remember is that you want your kids to have an unforgettable summer holiday, filled with lasting family memories. While it’s important that you get your valuable alone time to maintain your summer sanity, spending quality fun times with your kids will be good for your soul, and your kids will love you all the more for having spent time with them.
by Corinna Nairn