Ahhhh, summer is almost here.
Wait a minute.
Summer is almost here?
[Insert panicked moment here.]
Ok, yes, of course, I love summer and the freedom, sunshine, and ice cream that it brings. But when you’re a parent, along with all that summer goodness comes a few other things—namely, hot, whining kids, boredom, and if you’re anything like me, a last-minute panicked quest to entertain the children each morning.
So let’s save ourselves a few minutes of sanity with a round-up of easy and fun summer activities for your toddler, shall we?
1. Bubbles. You just can’t go wrong with bubbles. Big bubbles, little bubbles, kids love bubbles. And if you don’t feel like running to the store for the economy-sized pack of bubbles, here’s an easy DIY for killer bubbles.
2. Water fun. How about a homemade slip n’ slide?
3. Library. Always, always, check your local library for summer activities for the kids. Not only are they usually free, but kids love them and they encourage a love of reading. Win-win!
4. Water balloons. Might as well entertain yourself while you’re at it, right? Toddlers and water balloons—this is going to be good.
5. Sidewalk chalk. It’s a staple for any kid growing up. And if you’re so inclined, although I don’t know why you would be, you can even make your own sidewalk chalk.
6. Shaving cream fun. Give her a can and let `er rip, or fill a pool with shaving cream and let her get messy to her heart’s content. Thank goodness for the ease of summer clean-up with the hose.
7. Camp out. If your toddler isn’t ready for the great outdoors, pitch a tent inside and make your own indoor campfire and smores.
8. Make a stepping stone. Decorate your garden and capture a precious memory of your little one with this DIY stepping stone.
9. One word: sprinklers. I’d suggest setting up with a chair and a nice adult beverage nearby.
10. Wash the car. Sure, it’s actually a task for you, but toddlers love getting soapy and helping mom and dad. Set up a little bucket with some suds and sponges and have them wash a tricycle or a play car with you as you work.
11. Take a walk. There is nothing like the cure for a crabby day like taking a walk. Load up with snacks, a juice box and a water bottle and hit the trail or the road. Make it a nature walk by pointing out animals, trees, and rocks.
12. Go fishing. The thrill of her own fishing pole and the squealing at worms will make a fishing trip—even if you don’t catch anything—totally worth it.
13. Swing at a piñata. Not his birthday? No problem! Find some clearance piñatas or fill a balloon with some confetti and let him swing. Although candy is always fun, the act of swinging will delight him too.
14. Water play. Fill some buckets or a child-sized table with water and prove them with some scooping materials—shovels, cups, or measuring spoons will do the trick—and turn them loose. Add in some ice cubes for bonus fun!
15. Potato printing. I thought this was a great idea for small hands. Potatoes provide just the right-sized “base” for toddler hands to grip. Let them dip halved potatoes into pre-poured paint and decorate paper to their heart’s content.
16. Make a ribbon dancer. Does anyone remember the ribbon dancers of our youth? Make your own DIY ribbon dance by finding some sticks with your toddler and tying on a long ribbon to the end. Turn on some music and your toddler can twirl.
17. Find a parade. Toddlers love a good parade. With all kinds of festivals going on every weekend, do a quick online search or check your local newspaper for some good old-fashioned fun near you.
18. Go blueberry picking. Although you might not leave with as much blueberries as you might want, little hands make for good picking and they will enjoy sampling the produce as you work together. Blueberry pancakes, here you come!
19. DIY popsicles. Go all summer classic on your kiddos by helping them to make homemade popsicles. This strawberry creamsicle flavor has my vote.
20. Hit the beach! It might be tempting to stay home and avoid the meltdown that you know will happen, but a trip to the beach with a toddler can be a fun experience. Just keep it short, local, and don’t forget the snacks and the sunscreen!