Fun Toddler Activities Summertime Edition
“Mommmmm, I’m boooored”, says your kid as they pad into the kitchen with a look on their face like you’ve obviously inconvenienced them and should know it. They are home for the summer and you weren’t expecting to hear those words… just yet. So you quickly rack your brain, hoping to find some obvious winner of a fun summer toddler activity that does NOT involve:
Been there? Me too.
Want a list of some great and original ideas to ease those moments of boredom and catch your kids by surprise? Me too, always.
From one mom to another, I totally want you to feel like you’ve won this summer. Winning= You looking up to see your kids playing outside, happy without screens. And there being very little mess and no injuries.
We can do this, people… Yes we can! Good ol’ fashioned fun without screen time does still exist! And I’m going to prove it to you!
So here is a fun, easy and mess free activity list for you to keep up your sleeve. (Adult supervision where required, of course.)
P.s Happy Summertime, beautiful Momma’s!
May your iced lattes be plentiful, and your children’s mischief be not so.
Bird Feeder Creation
- Wooden Bird House(s)
- Non Toxic Paint (washable paint or finger paint for 2 years and under recommended)
- Old t-shirt or painting apron for clothes
- Paint brushes and/or large washable markers for little ones
- Newspaper or cheap dollar store shower curtain for table cover
Birdhouses are a fantastic project for the whole family! From picking out their own bird feeder, to the customized art of decorating it, every little one can make their creation come true. I will say, I’ve noticed that the much cheaper ‘craftstore’ type bird feeders don’t tend to survive half as long as you would expect. If you don’t mind the short life of the feeder, then go ahead with those, totally doable. If you would enjoy your kids sweet handmade project to last over the years, I’d recommend the more sturdy bird feeder that can better survive the elements throughout the seasons. You’ll thank yourself later.
Plus, these feeders can be filled with birdseed unlike the craft store ones, and they make for great bird watching. After painting is complete and dry, fill with bird seed and:
-Encourage the kids to find their own special spot to hang the bird feeder and ask them why they picked it
-Have the kids take turns filling the feeder over the summer to teach responsibility and ownership (One can spot that its empty, the other fills it & If sharing is an issue, you can add a water feeder/bowl for the second child to help fill)
Great tip for older kids: have them look up native birds to your area and keep an eye out for them through the summer so they can teach the younger kids what they’re seeing. You could also print out some pictures of these birds, staple into a simple bird book and save for later reference. The kids will start to be much more aware, observant and on lookout, a fun extra game over the summer.
Beach Ball Water Blaster Game
- Inflatable summer beach balls
- Foam Water Blaster Sprayers (foam recommended for better outdoor safety)
- Outdoor friendly large bowl/tub to hold hose water for the water sprayers to use
Even adults will have a hard time not joining in on this fun activity! Join your kids in a battle of the beach ball water race, or cheer them on from the sidelines while you keep score of the winner with your iced latte in hand.
The Concept: This game is pretty straight forward. Beach balls get inflated. Water Blasters get filled with water. Individuals or teams race to spray their beach ball across the lawn to the finish line. Bonus points for making it a two way race! This activity will definitely wear them out as they run back and forth to fill their water blasters up and the game can evolve as the day goes on. Soak up some sun and let the kids do what they do best, play!
Great tip for older kids: If you have enough kids together, have the older kids be mentors for the younger ones and team them up together. The older kids will feel good to show the younger ones all of their skills, and the younger ones will love being a part of it.
If you only have older kids handy, throw blind folds into the mix. One team member gets blind folded and directed by the other member who gives the directions and guides their placement of where to quirt the water blaster. Then the blind folded team member grabs the leaders hand to be led to fill up their water blaster and back again to continue the race for who can get the ball to the finish line first! If they are racing both directions, have them switch the blind fold on the way back with their partner! (This version will obviously be slower and take more time!)
Little Big Car Wash
Ok, so heres a trick question for you:
How many kids do you see in the above picture?
…Five? dFive kids? …That’s really your answer?
Count again… I see 5 cute future little car washing helpers!
See where I’m going with this one?
- Your kiddos favorite outdoor safe toy car (big or small)
- Typical Car Washing Supplies
- Extra supplies for little hands (utilize recyclables like washed out yogurt containers or milk jugs for water rinsing which is great for small grips, add soap to their water sparingly and remind them not to drink it, sponges or rags and tiny watering cans work also!)
- Foam water blasters for the kids (let them have some fun rinsing off the car with their water blasters! Its summer after all!)
Chances are this summer, you’ve been dying to get to the car wash, but just never seem to have the time because everyone else comes first when you’re a Mom. (Except on pedicure day. Do not get in the way of our sacred pedicure day, people.)
Chances are this summer, you also live with 1- 3 plus children that are eagerly looking for something fun to do. So why not put both together and solve everyone’s problems? If you are the proud owner of a toddler, they will simply be delighted to “wash” their car next to Mommy who is washing hers. If you own two or more children, they might make for some fantastic helpers washing your car and its summertime, which makes this extra fun for all parties involved.
The Concept: Give them different jobs to do (you could also draw jobs out of a jar i.e. hose duty, bumper scrubbing, tire shiner, window washer etc) and add to the fun with some music by letting everyone pick a song or two of their choice. Have them throw on some swim suits if the weather is extra nice so they can play in the water. Reinforce the good work your kids are doing, and be there to cheer them on if they are almost finished but starting to tire. Remember to keep any chemicals up on top of the car or locked in your car, away from little curious fingers. Then end with a well earned treat at the end. Congrats on teaching about responsibility and making it fun!
Great tip for older kids: While you are working together, ask them what kind of job they could see themselves doing this summer. Would it be dog walking, gardening, or maybe a lemonade stand? Get them thinking about the process of earning money with a small job if they seem curious about the concept. Even though they aren’t old enough for the real deal just yet, there are still plenty of ways they can feel empowered to try it out over the summer, and maybe earn some pocket money while at it!
Flying Kite Balloons
- Overfilled helium balloon
- Optional:Paper towel cardboard tube/short wooden dowel/large kitchen spoon/pen
- Optional Tape
This activity pleases even the tiniest of summer warriors. Flying a kite is hard work. The wind has to be just right, you have to have a nice wide open space, and its often a tricky endeavor when you have little ones tugging at your shirt pleading for a turn of their own. Helium is the star of this show and makes it a winning and fool proof activity. If you have a bit of a breezy or windy day, take your kids to your local grocery or dollar store and find the floral/gift department area. Have the staff member fill up 1 helium balloon per child (plus an extra for just in case). The price typically isn’t too bad at a dollar or less per balloon. Let your kids have some fun with choosing the balloon and string color. Ask for the balloons to be slightly over filled and that the string be extra long. (If they won’t do this without charging you extra, you can easily add simple string on at home too.)
The Concept: When you get home, tie some fun colored streamers or ribbon onto the knot of the balloon. Add about 6-10 feet of string to each balloon so that they are nice and long like a kite. Take them outside and let them “fly” the balloon kites and see the thrill and amusement on their faces!
Extra tips/Older Kid Tips:
- If you have any paper towel cardboard tubes laying around in your recycling, tape the end of the balloon string to it and wrap the string around it for easy handling. Even a dowel or a pen would work honestly! Or send the kids outside to find a good stick! (This way they can pull the kite string in towards them as it is flying, or let it out to raise the balloon kite away from them to make it more interactive)
- If you have older kids, let them decorate their balloon with faces using markers. String can also be cut and taped onto the balloon for hair, which is fun to watch in the wind.
Hope they hold onto those kites and happy kite flying!
Noodle Fun Fest
You are probably wondering why there is a giant picture of pasta in front of you. Yes, it is part of this post. No, its unfortunately not for dinner with a nice glass of wine-just yet, anyways. This ones for the kids!
Here we have a fun, mess (contained mess!) sensory experience for the out of doors occasion (backyard is best).
-Plastic Kiddie Pool (Find the hard shell version at Target, Walmart, Home Depot etc.
-Canola or Vegetable oil
-5-10 Packages of on sale pasta (any type you want, even various types!) Extra pasta for extra kids
-Towels for everyone -(hand towels OK for the lean in cleaner version of this activity)
If you’re looking for a new sensory experience that will have even your 10 year old wanting to join in, this is the memorable one for you! Don’t be afraid of the mess, it IS contained, I promise! So long as you set up rules before everyone gets started, it can be a very fun and memorable experience.
The Concept: In short, you are basically cooking the noodles like you would on spaghetti night, and draining them the same. Then add all 5 packages to a large couple of bowls as they cool. Drizzle on some type of oil you have on hand like Canola or vegetable oil (Save your expensive olive oil for meals!) Just enough to give the noodles some movement.
At this point your kids will probably be quite interested at what is happening in the kitchen and you can send them off to go and find various items around the house to use in the pool with the noodles.
Think measuring cups, tongs, large wooden spoons, maybe some smaller tupperware containers with lids or a cleaned out milk container.
Have a tarp opened and set out on the lawn where you want to place the kiddie pool.
Set the kiddie pool on top of the tarp.
When the noodles have cooled to a safe temperature to touch, bring them out to the kiddie pool and dump them in! Add the various household utensils that the kids rounded up and let the kids get started with the fun!
Keep in mind to discuss the rules before hand so it doesn’t turn into a noodle fight or a free for all with even the family dog out eating noodles from the pool!
*Some food for thought: Even though its just noodles, this should be a supervised activity.
If all goes well, you should see your little ones mixing, moving and pouring noodles in many different ways. This activity promotes sensory learning at just about every level and you will see it as your little ones get going. Whether they are learning about size and space, feel and texture, pouring and moving, or even simple yet important dexterity practice, they will be learning and having unique fun while they explore! Its definitely something for the memories, too, so snap some pictures!
And feel free to add your activity pictures up to the Life of Littles Facebook Page to share with us! We love seeing Life of Little’s Followers in action! Happy learning!
As the summer comes to a close soon, it is a wonderful time to talk with your kids about the changing seasons and to take in the world around you as it gets ready to transition into a new time of year: Fall.
-Paper bag or Ziplock for “Nature Bags”
-Markers or crayons to decorate said “Nature Bags”
A fantastic way to do this, is for your kids to grab a ziplock or paper bag and decorate it with their name on it (or just use a basket and skip decorating if you are shorter on time.) Ask them what types of things they imagine they might find out in nature and why, and have them think about it as they decorate their bags. Then head out on a walk together!
Mornings are a great time to go when the day is still cooler out, late afternoons also. Right now in Seattle, we are going on our 3rd week of 90 degree heat, and we plan accordingly.
The Concept: Anyways, the idea of this nature walk, is to allow your children to walk with you and spot different parts of nature. If they find a special rock or leaf that is not disrupting anyone or anything, let them take it and add it to their nature bag to bring home and look at later. They may find a special twig, rock or leaf that they want to collect. Other times they might find a pretty flower or a piece of bark. It might look fairly ordinary to you, but to them it is new and interesting and full of wonder.
In my personal opinion, if the item is not in someones yard, if it is not garbage and they only take one, it seems of little harm to the world around. You (understandably and respectfully) may have different beliefs and whatever they are, you can make them known to your little ones before you start your walk.
*If you love the idea, but don’t want them removing items from nature, another idea would be for them to stop and write down/draw a quick sketch of each item instead. Its easy to customize this to fit your needs and your kids will love finding their own special artifacts on the journey!
*Or if you are down the middle on this, just have them collect the item and then return it the next day on another walk, replacing items to the spots they were pulled from.
Great Tip For Older Kids:
When they get home, you can plan for them to do a special report to your family after Dinner time (or whenever your family is all together) on the items they collected.
-You could let them lead the activity and help only where needed.
-Have them think on and then describe what each item might look like through each of the 4 seasons.
-Ask them to think about and explain what type of animal or bug might use each item for its home, or as part of its habitat etc and why.
Get your little ones thinking about nature and enjoy watching what they choose and how they conceptualize it all- you might be quite surprised!
P.s: If you’re looking for some great new places to take your kids these last few weeks of summer, be sure to checkout this article on Great Summertime Locations for kids!
It features unique locations ripe for memory making and good ol’ fashioned bonding that will send your little one back to school with a story to tell and a smile on their face!
Well, I hope you’ve had the most wonderful summer and that your kids did too!
Have a great summer activity that isn’t on the list but should be? Please comment below and share! Your feedback is important here. Thank you!
Until next time,
Life of Littles