The festive 4th of July bike parade in the parking lot of our church- thanks to Melanie for this great photo!
Okay, we're coming into the end of July now- anyone in a summertime fun rut? Sometimes it takes a little imagination to make your own summer fun, so I thought I'd share a few fun (and FREE!) things that we have done this summer, and some things I've heard about people doing. Please share your own ideas in the comments section!
1. Bike Parade- my friend Drea had the great idea to gather all of the kids in our playgroup at our church parking lot and have them decorate their bikes for a bike parade. She then had the younger kids sit on the curb while the older ones rode their festive bikes and threw candy to the little ones, and then they switched- the younger ones rode and threw candy to the older ones. It was great fun- the kids had a blast decking out their bikes (crepe paper streamers, pipe cleaners, decorative wire with stars on it, balloons, etc.) and then the candy just made it even better! A fun morning was had by all. We decided that next time one of us would bring a cd of marching band music to play during the parade. The possibilities are endless!
2. Pool Party- We held an impromptu pool party at our house about a month ago- I invited a few friends over to play in our kiddie pool, and I invited them to bring their pools/slip-and-slides, etc. We just made PB & J sandwiches for the kids, and everyone brought side dishes (grapes, cheese, pretzels, etc.) and we ate a picnic lunch. It was very relaxed and fun, and there are few things that really bring that summertime feeling than a bunch of kids running around the backyard in their swimsuits! I can't wait to do it again!
3. Treasure Hunt Hike- A hike in the woods is always an adventure, but especially if you're under 4 feet tall! A few weeks ago, a few friends and I got our kids together and met at a nearby park where there are some walking/jogging trails that go through the woods. We had our kids dress in "hiking clothes" complete with their backpacks and baseball caps, and then we handed out some egg cartons for them to use as their "treasure boxes." Their goal was to fill each spot in the treasure box with something special they found on the trail- by the end of it, the boxes were filled with berries, leaves, rocks, sticks, pine cones, acorns, flowers, and more! It was a great opportunity to have fun learning about nature, and encouraging even the littlest ones (1-2 years) to experience different sights, sounds, smells, and textures. We were also able to talk with the older ones about what is safe to touch and eat, and what is not safe.
Halfway along the trail we stopped for a rest and ate our "rations"- a snack we had packed in their backpacks, and then we went back to a pavilion by the playground where we sat at picnic tables and the kids showed each other all of their "treasures". It was a fun, interactive experience for all of us!
4. Free Movies!- There are lots and lots of movie theaters around that offer free (or super cheap) kids' movies in the summer, and if you're not sure if you have any in your area, check into it! If your local theater doesn't offer it, get some other moms on your side and approach the manager about starting it- there are always hundreds of moms and kids that show up at ours each week. I love it because my 2yo and 4yo can get the opportunity to see a movie in the theater without me worrying that they'll be too loud or they won't like it and we'll have to leave- all the kids are loud and nobody cares, and if they do get tired of watching it (they usually do about halfway through) we can just leave. It's also a nice option for those rainy days!
5. Camp GonnaWannaFLY- For you flybabies out there, this is nothing new, but for anyone that is curious about this fun camp, check out www.flylady.net. She will give you some great ideas for your at-home camp, including weekly or daily themes (colors, music, nature, etc.) and fun camp rules and activities for the campers that are not only fun, but get the house clean and organized as well! I read about one camp whose motto (you have to get the campers to decide on a motto) was "Make it fun and it will get done!" The campers did things like trading "mess hall duty" and cleaning each others' "bunks"- I really wish I could remember all of the different things I read about- just check out the site!
6. Playground Tour- This is something I've read about but we haven't tried it out yet- you make a list of all of the playgrounds in your area and then either over a course of a week or the course of the summer, you visit each one and have fun! If you have older kids you can even make a rating system and decide which ones you like best. It is fun to discover new places to play near where you live!
So I hope these ideas give you some renewed excitement for your summer fun! Enjoy the warm weather and sunshine while it lasts!
What are some fun free things you do in the summertime? Leave a comment and share!