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Friday, May 24, 2019

15 Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer

I've been a stay-at-home mom for five years now and one of the hardest things I've had to do is figure out things to do with my kids over the summer.

When they were younger, it was a little easier because we could just roam the backyard and they'd be fine.

Now that they're older, they want to rot their brains out with constant tablet time or watching tv. It can be so easy to let them do JUST that and there have been days when I allow it and then there are days when I'm bored or they're bored and things can get heated up and it's up to me to figure out different things to let my kids do because "Read a book" and "Do some chores" doesn't fill up their entertainment meter as long as we'd like for it to.

I've tried to make a schedule for my kids, but that really wasn't my thing. I'm not a very organized person, so I didn't follow through with it like I should have. However, just because I'm bad at it, it doesn't mean that you are. You can get an example of my schedule and a template to make your own at this link, here---> Make A Summer Schedule

Things You Can Do This Summer

1. Prepare Ahead Meals

This isn't your typical summer outdoor thing, but for parents who work during the summer or for moms wanting to fill in some time or just give themselves extra time, I think this is a great starter.

If your kids are old enough, let them help you prepare these ahead of time. It will teach them some great life skills and many, if not all prepare ahead of time meals can be made in a slow cooker, so this will also take the heat out of the kitchen. 

2. Go For a Walk

I don't know what it's like around you, but around me, there are many different forest preserves that have trails to walk on. It's my goal walk at least one new one each week. 

This will be great for exercise and also wearing the kids out. 

If you're looking for a good fitness tracker, I've always loved my Fitbit Flex2 and I can track my meals, sleep, water intake, and so much more on it. 

3. Explore New Hiking Trails

I know, this is/sounds so much like #2, but what I mean with this is to go out and do something more adventurous with different terrain and scenery. 

I live in Illinois, by Lake Michigan. There are many beach trails where we can walk through sand and climb sand dunes. We can walk through forest trails.

I'm actually very excited to take my kids to the west side of Illinois where we will take them to hike the trails at Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks. Each has it's own history, caves, and waterfalls to walk through. It's beautiful and the terrain is different. It'll be different from anything they've done before.

Related- Starved Rock vs. Matthiessen

4. Go to the Zoo or a Museum

I'm lucky enough to live next to several zoos and museums. We really like to go to Milwaukee Zoo or Brookfield Zoo. 

We're also close enough to Chicago that we can visit the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry. We're also close enough that we can visit some smaller museums in Wisconsin like the Dinosaur museum. 

Related- Milwaukee Zoo

5. Go to a Water Park or a Park with a Splash Pad

We have a few parks next to us that have free splash pads, which is great on really hot days. There are also many hotels that now feature water parks that are included in your stay.

Related- The Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee

6. Slip-n-Slide or Kiddie Pool

For when you don't want to travel or spend a lot of money, a water slide or a kiddie pool are great alternatives to water parks and splash pads. It's also nice because you'll have them until they break and you can use them anytime the weather is great and you have time.

I picked up one of these slip-n-slides just this week. It's nice because it's cheap enough that if it breaks, I'm not out of a lot of money, but it also has water that comes directly from the slide and I won't have to stand over the slide, holding the hose the hole time.

7. Do Some Gardening

Every year, I plant a vegetable garden. My kids love to help me water it and find the new produce that grows and carry it inside the house and eat it. Unfortunately, they don't like to help me weed, and well, neither do I, but when it's time to weed the garden, they'll go and explore the backyard. 

They really like to find bugs and worms and whenever they do find worms, they get super excited because they want to put them in the garden, so that these little ecosystem marvels can help our garden soil. 

8. Play With Chalk

Playing with chalk is a great way to get your kids to do art work, be creative, and even learn. The best thing about playing with chalk, is that it washes off, easily.

My kids actually like to draw on our side of our backyard fence. Sometimes my daughter likes to be their "teacher" and will write her ABCs or maybe my kids will draw a target on it and practice their aim by throwing a ball or kicking one at the target. 

9. Go to the Park

Take your kids to a nearby park and let them run their energy out. Pay attention to the times of day when there are fewer kids vs. when there are are many. 

I know that one park near me always has a full summer camp of kids who walk to the park around one. While it's great social interaction for my kids to see some old classmates, it's also a very hectic time for me because it's not as easy to keep my eye on all three kids, however, my youngest is no longer a baby, so it may not be so bad.

10. Outdoor Movie

This is something that I REALLY want to do with my family. If you have a projector, set it up outside and use the side of the house or garage door to show movies.

Our favorite movies that just came out are:

How to Train Your Dragon- The Hidden World

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

11. Go On a Picnic

This is something that my kids really enjoy. We'll pack up the wagon with a blanket and pack some lunches and walk to the park or sometimes, we'll eat in the back yard. 

12. Go on a Bike Ride, Rollerskate/blade, Scooter, or Wagon Ride

I used to LOVE riding my bike and rollerblading. I actually wouldn't mind getting myself a pair of roller blades and ride/walk with the kids to the school and just roll around on the blacktop, there. It would be great exercise and a lot of fun!

13. Just Play

I spent the majority of my childhood outside playing and when the weather was bad, I played inside. I believe this is why I'm creative and probably also why I stayed so slim until I was married, with kids, and became less active.

With birthdays and every gift giving holiday that has come and gone, I'm sure your kids got some toys or coloring books. There's no reason why they can't just enjoy them.

Grab some Legos or Duplos and create something magical.

Storm a castle with some figurines.

Dress up, doll up, do whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing.

14. Do Science Experiments

There are many experiments that you can do at home already because chances are, you have baking soda and vinegar or dish soap and pepper.

If you have a magnifying glass, have your child/ren study bugs or leaves.

If you want to get fancy, buy them a science kit.

15. Do Some Crafts

I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again... Construction paper is my favorite craft material. It's easy for kids to use, cut, and glue. If you mess up, oh well! Here's some more.

There are a TON of learning crafts out there in this world to do. You can make baskets, hats, potholders, and so much more as long as you are creative, can read instructions, or have access to YouTube.


Summer vacation doesn't have to be a long blob of boring. There are so many different things that you can do with your kids to keep them and yourself entertained without spending the whole summer just watching television.

We were meant to be active, so let's be active!

I hope that these were ideas that you'd enjoy and I also wish you a happy, fun filled summer!



  1. My son is only 5-months-old so ... We will certainly be going on a lot of walks this summer and maybe introduce him to the pool! ;)

    1. I'm sure you already have one, but a baby back pack/carrier was the best item we ever got for our kids. It made going to the zoo easy to do because we didn't have to drop the stroller off and worry about someone taking it whenever we went into an exhibit and it saves your arms the ache from carrying your baby all day when you go on a hike.

      I hope he enjoys the pool!

  2. My kids are out of school and one is already bored. We will be doing some of these ideas.

    1. It's tough! I hope you're able to keep some sanity, this summer!

  3. I don't have kids, but these are some really great activities for summer holidays! I'll share this post with my mommy friends for sure! :)

  4. These are some great ideas! We'll be doing some of these for sure. We love to go on walks when it gets cooler in the evenings.

    1. It has been raining SO MUCH, this week, so our walking plans have been thwarted, but hopefully, we'll get some dry days.

  5. I am SO excited for this summer. My nephew is two and a half and I can't wait to spend time by the pool and take him to baseball games!

    1. I have a picture of my sister sunbathing just past the shadow of the house and my daughter is laying down next to her in the shaded part of the yard. Aunties are great!

  6. These are all awesome activities for kids. The more interactive the better. I cannot wait to try this someday.

    1. I hope you'll get to try it, too, when the time is right.

  7. I don't have kids but I can do it with my nieces. These are very great things to do.

    1. Best Aunt Ever! I'm always happy when I see that aunties do things with their nieces and nephews. My uncles never did things with me. haha.

  8. It is really hard to think of ways how to enjoy summer. Yup, especially if I work. So most chores are done by my teens plus taking care of their 7 year old brother. When I get home I join them in playing board games.

    1. I love board games, but my kids are still pretty young, so they start out fun and then chaos takes over. haha .

  9. This list is excellent! It has all the things to get summer rolling!

  10. This summer vacations we have a lot of plans... Today we are going for a movie with my niece. And yes we do lot of activities like walking and gardening is one of our favorite

    1. I hope you have fun watching your movie! Our Theater has $5 Tuesdays and the popcorn is free if you have their members card. (best thing I've ever signed up for!)I would like to try to take them sometime during the summer.

  11. Kids have short attention spans. Definitely going to do some of these activities with them.

  12. I love fun and with how bright it can get in summer, some outdoor fun is always welcome! Would appreciate going to the zoo or water pack with the kids.

    1. It's been more difficult getting the kids in bed because the sun is still out and they think that it means it's not night time yet.

  13. These are really fun activities, I need to keep this in mind to take the kids out this summer.

  14. Summer is a perfect time for kids to enjoy and have these amazing. And for adults as well.

    1. I've been getting such a great workout on my arms and legs, already this summer just from yard work and walking.


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About Me

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Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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