6 Easy Summer Activities for Your Older Kids (to get you through your summer pregnancy!)
“Oh you must be due any day now, huh?” is the reaction I get anytime I go out in public.
But I'm not. Due, that is. Not due for at least two more months, what seems like an impossibly long time from now, and yet what surely will see the incredible gravity-defying further growth of my belly.
It's hot, humid, and truthfully, I'm exhausted most of the time. And if I'm being totally honest with you, there's a teensy part of me that is dreading the long stretch of summer, mostly because I wonder how on earth I am going to entertain my three other young children (they're 6, 4, and 2) when all I want to do is plop down on the couch.
Which is why I've racked my mind (and Pinterest) for some easy summer activities to keep the kids entertained …while I finish growing another human being.
Get a water table
My husband mocked me when I picked up a water table from a local baby goods store. “Our kids are way too old for that!” he protested. “No one will use it!”
My kids love that thing and when I set it up on our deck, I am able to stay busy with a view of them from the kitchen (you know, keeping up my barefoot end of the pregnancy cliche) or doing other tasks nearby. And – unlike a lot of their other toys – they really do stay occupied with it for a while. You could also DIY this with a more inexpensive pool and lots of buckets, measuring cups, and floating toys to keep them splashing. Kids + water = fun.
*Of course, keep in mind that you always want to be present when kids and water are involved. Water safety is a top priority.
Invest in a zippered trampoline
I realize that this is a pricey investment and some parents may be totally against the trampoline, which is fine, but I have to say, our investment in a $200 trampoline (we waited for a killer sale) that zippers shut feels like one of the most brilliant parenting moves we have ever made. (I say this on the other side of no broken bones or injuries, however, so tread at your own risk.)
I've been able to zip all the kids in, let them bounce, and literally pull up my lounge chair, cool drink in hand to watch them and throw out the occasional, “Good job!” as they try to impress me. Feels like a vacation–that they can't escape from.
Let them paint
Outside that is. Unleash their inner Picasso by sending them outside to paint to their heart's content–without a worry about cleaning up the mess from you. I send my kids out with bathing suits and tons of brushes, set up an easel or just line the sidewalk with blank paper, and let them create. I also love this idea from Living on Love: wrap your trees with craft paper and let them paint a tree! Can you image how special they would feel with that?
Give `em a shaving cream party
I still remember doing this a child and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Let them put on bathing suits, hand off a few bottles of shaving cream, and enjoy sitting back and watching them have the time of their lives. When they're done, just have them hop in the sprinkler or hose them down. Easy! (Providing you don't mind the cost of picking up more shaving cream.) This would also be even more fun if you invited more kids over to join in!
Who doesn't love chalkboard paint? It has the ability to turn just about anything into a kid's perfect creative playground. One can will get you pretty far and the beauty of using chalkboard paint in the summer is that you can insist the kids play with the end product outside–less mess for you inside! I painted an old table and will hand my kids the chalk as a special privilege (see what I did there?) to color outside. You can find any old piece of wood (just make sure it's smooth, so there are no splinters!), old easels, chests, or even buckets to transform into chalkboard-coated fun.
Do absolutely nothing
I'm a big believer in this. I may be a mother, but I was not put on this earth to be my children's 24/7 entertainment director. I certainly don't remember my mother directing my childhood days of summer and I definitely want to give the gift of a carefree, imaginative summer to my children as well. So occasionally, when they come up to me and ask me, “What can we dooo? We're sooooo bored!” I will make the standard suggestions of play or read a book, and if that fails, give them a choice to come up with their own activity or clean the bathroom with me.
Either way is a win, right?
What's your best tip for keeping the kids entertained during the summer?