This is the first in a 2 part series on how to keep kids entertained for minimal or no cost during the summer months. The second part, written by fellow EOD member Jessica Streit, will appear next week.
This summer is going to be a different experience for me. It’s the first summer I’ll be home full-time with my daughter (who is 5) and quite frankly, I’m already panicking. Not so much because of all the time with her (which is awesome) but because, honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do with her. On normal days, I have all the basics covered. Feeding her, practicing her reading, daily chores, going to the pool (our YMCA has an outdoor pool and it’s included in our membership)…those kinds of things. But what do I do when we’re can’t go out?
Where I live, it gets hot. Really hot. Some days, it’s so hot my dogs don’t even want to go outside for their walks. It’s these days that I’m worried about. We even have a budget for once a week activities like the aquarium or a movie, which, technically, can cover the days we’re stuck inside. However, even on those days, who wants to go out and deal with a hot stuffy car and throngs of other people trying to escape their homes and the oppressive heat? Not me.
I have been wracking my brain for a list of activities (because I’m like that) that we can do on days it’s too hot or too rainy to leave the house. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Write and illustrate a book. My daughter loves to color and tells the most amazing stories about the pictures she’s drawn. I figure I can have her draw some pictures and then dictate to me what story she wants to tell. We can fold and staple the pictures, just like a real book, and we can even draw the cover and the author bio.
- Have a fashion show. Like most 5 year old girls, my daughter loves to dress up in her play clothes and my shoes. I can create a “runway” and let her parade up and down, showing off her new and festive ensembles. I can take pictures, just like at real fashion shows. (This can also work for talent shows where instead of showing off her new looks, she can show off her many talents.)
- Make a movie. Whether it’s with my iPhone or with this camera thing she got for Christmas, I can let her walk around the house, filming whatever she wants and then edit it into a short movie. I can even let her narrate it and then we can upload it to our private YouTube channel so her grandparents can see her work.
- Have an indoor picnic. I figure I can pack a “picnic basket” with her help and we can set up our little picnic in the living room. We can pretend that we’re outside and talk about all the outdoor things that we see. I can even let her draw pictures of trees and grass and ants and we can put those all over the living room to give it a more authentic feel.
This is also the perfect opportunity to start working on the activity box that I’ve been meaning to work on for the last 4 years. An activity box is basically a shoe box full of pieces of paper with ideas written on them. Some ideas can be “do a puzzle”, “watch an old cartoon”, “bake cookies”, “build with Legos”, “have a tea party”…you get the idea. The driving force behind the activity box is to always have a way to stave off the inevitable “I’m bored” whine. Just pull out the box, let your kid or kids pick out a slip of paper and voila! Something to do!
I’m probably overthinking this whole situation. I know we’ll be fine. But I need to be prepared. Just in case.
Do you have any suggestions for indoor activities?