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How Do You Keep Kids Busy in the Summer?

Please help me come up with great summertime activities to do with the kids.  I write a post like this every couple of years and then I always manage to need fresh ideas so I’m appealing to you again for help.

Yesterday I had my little darlings at Costco on one of our worst errand day debacles in history.  We’d been to swimming lessons, which I cleverly spaced half an hour apart for all three kids so we ended up being in the pool area for 2 hours of mind-numbing boredom.  Let me just interject here and say that I am not bored.  I could watch my kids bob along in waterlogged bliss for hours at a time with glee.  It’s the kids who want to bludgeon themselves whenever it’s not their turn in the water.

After swimming, I took them straight out on a 3-hour errand run that included returning several items to various stores and then grocery shopping.  They went insane and I wanted to power them down like little kid-bots, shove them in my massive mom purse and take them home to bed.

The last stop was Costco and the cashier looked at me and said, “Are you sick of having them home for the summer already?”

“No,” I answered, “I’m sick of having them at Costco though.”

So for the rest of the summer, my goal is to plan better.  I would really like to avoid a situation where things get so bad that the 21-year-old checker at Costco is sympathizing with me because I’m obviously completely incapable of caring for my kids in a loving way.  It’s possible that she just thought they were brats, which at the time they were.

I’m researching in books about activities to do with the kids (mostly outside) and I’m slogging through my childhood memories to find things that I used to do in summer that were a blast, while not being too destructive or expensive.  I’m not saying that nothing on the list can be destructive or expensive but there should be at least 10 things which are not destructive or expensive for every one that is.

Here's a list of a few things I came up with.  Please add your own in the comments section.

-Read books all afternoon until I lose my voice
-Paint the sidewalk with water
-Ride bikes and scooters
-Walk to the park and play
-Go swimming down at the river
-Visit a farm and meet the animals
-Give the kids each 2 dollars and take a trip to the dollar store
-Go to the zoo
-Teach them a new card game and go play it on a blanket in the yard
-Have a picnic
-Make homemade popsicles
-Build fairy houses from sticks and leaves and then place them around the yard to be inhabited by magical people
-Plant wildflowers somewhere it will make people smile
-Write our own story, illustrate it and bind it
-Play soccer, frisbee, baseball or catch
-Visit the local farmer’s market
-Attend storytime at the library
-Run through the sprinkler or have a water fight
-Invent a song and then call Dad and sing it to him
-Go for an easy hike
-Build a fort inside
-Play with Play-Doh
-Paint a picture
-Do some yard work together with fun music and easy goals
-Make treats and deliver them to friends who live within walking distance
-Choose a subject and become experts on it
-Look up DIY projects online that would be appropriate for kids
-Create crazy hairstyles

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