Friday Fun: Easy ways to Entertain the Kids


Okay, okay. We know. It’s August now. 

Summer vacation was all fun and games back in June when everyone was just so happy to be free from school and schedules and early wake up calls. When the pool was still magical and the summertime heat and sunshine welcomed.

But now that it’s August we’re pretty certain you’re starting to hear the dreaded words, “Mom! I’m bored!” Maybe you’re fresh out of ideas for keeping those kids entertained and off the screens--maybe you’re just exhausted and ready for your own summer break. Whatever the case and wherever you’re at, we’ve got ya covered today. We’re sharing some fun, cheap, easy ways to keep the kids entertained these last few weeks of summer, AND ways to get the “boring” stuff done in not so boring ways!

For Littles
1. Create Countdowns
Something I discovered when I was a nanny is that kids love looking forward to things. They love the anticipation and having something to check off everyday gets them excited for whatever is coming be it a vacation or a field trip or even school starting!

Spend an afternoon letting your little ones create a countdown to school paper chain. Not only is this a calm, quiet activity, it’s also a great way for them to exercise some of those fine motor skills before heading back to school! Depending on how old they are, you can gauge which part they will need help with. If you have older and younger kids, make it a joint activity! All you need is:

-bright/fun paper
-scissors
-tape or glue stick

Your kiddos will have a chance to practice counting, cutting, gluing, folding, and maybe even teamwork! This will be a fun way to look forward to starting school again as a family and also help to prepare everyone and shift your mindsets so that it doesn’t catch anyone (including you) off guard. It might also bring a little bit of fun and excitement to something everyone is sort of dreading.

You can also make a countdown on paper that kids can mark off with stickers or stamps. Get creative! Let them make it their own! 

2. Celebrate Every Day!
Something super fun about little kids is that it’s really easy to get them excited! When I used to nanny, we found something to celebrate almost every single day. Each day I would leave work and tell the kiddos what we’d be celebrating the next day and they would be endlessly excited (no matter how silly or simple it was.) Listen, I don’t know how legit these calendars are, but no matter! They are fun and simple ways to teach your kids that there can be fun in every day from the simplest things! In the past I’ve celebrated trail mix day--we made our own trail mix and went for a “hike” in the park. We celebrated teddy bear day by taking our bears with us everywhere we went--even to the coffee shop and letting them sit in chairs with us! The list goes on and on, but you see what I’m saying. These are fun, low cost ways to spice things up! I think you’ll be surprised at how little planning it requires and how much fun you have in the process.

If you’ve got older kids also, give them the calendar and let them plan the days for them and their younger siblings! Give them a budget and only facilitate when necessary. These can definitely be a lot of fun for the whole family!

Great lessons your kids can learn from this:
-fun on a budget
-the joy of planning fun for someone else
-how to enjoy simple things every day
-responsibility
-thinking through a plan from beginning to end

Here’s a link to a site that has lots of fun days to celebrate: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/
Some fun days coming up in August are:
-National Family Day
-National Friendship Day (let your kids pick a friend to spend the day with and maybe you can pick a friend to spend the day with too!)
-National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (bake and share cookies with friends, family, and/or neighbors, let your kids have cookie wars, etc.)
-National Garage Sale Day (this might be a fun way to go through things, get rid of things, and raise money for something you want to buy as a family or even for a charity!)
-National Relaxation Day (spend the day in pajamas building forts and reading books)
-National Fajita Day
-National Dog Day (plan a fun day of celebrating the family pup--make homemade dog treats, take a trip to the pet shop, take an extra long walk or visit a special dog park)
-National Just Because Day (let everyone pick names and do things for each other “just because”)


For Older Kiddos
Here’s the thing. There are going to be things that you’ve just got to get done before everyone gets back to school and the daily grind--things that are normally a straight up war zone for kids and parents. Things like back to school shopping for clothes and supplies, cleaning up the house, finishing summer work and reading lists, etc. Why not make them a little bit more fun for everyone? Here are a couple ideas we came up with!

1. Back to School Fashion Show
If we’re being honest, it’s hard for kids and parents to agree on clothes once kids reach a certain age. As parents we want to be sure that our kids are dressing appropriately and modestly, but it’s also important to let them develop their own style and taste. It can be a hard balance for sure. This year, why not bring along some extra help? Make it a fun day, invite some unbiased parties along whom your kids are comfortable with and you trust. Maybe family friends, cousins, etc. Grab some lunch before you get started and set some ground rules. Tell the kids what your expectations are and listen to what it is they are wanting. Work to find the middle ground before you get into the battleground. This will save lots of fighting and dressing door slamming later.( I may or may not know about this from experience.) Make it a fashion show of sorts. Let everyone try things on and have fun showing each other and choosing things.

OR

Plan a day for some kids to come over with their new school clothes and put together a fashion show at your house. They can create the runway, choose the music, and help each other pick out their “first day of school” outfits.

2. School Supply Scavenger Hunt
You know those nagging lists that you get about this time every year... the ones from your kids school of all of the stuff you’ve to to get before school starts? Consider it a pre-made scavenger hunt! (This one is obviously for older kids.) Let each kids choose a friend or two (you may want some other parents to get in on this for backup). Give them a budget, take them to a store that will have it all, and let it be a competition. First team to find everything on their list and check out and get to you at the front, wins (prize of your choice). Here’s the kicker, they had to have paid attention to ALL of the details on the list. It’s not just about who finishes first but who finishes with all of the right stuff and within budget!

Cool lessons this will teach your kids:
-shopping on a budget (how much you really spend on them)
-efficiency
-following instructions
-delegation and teamwork

3. Change of Scenery
Now, what to do about all of those summer assignments your kids have got to get done in the next few weeks. You know the ones you’ve been nagging them about all summer--the ones they’ve been ignoring you about all summer? How about a change of scenery. I know that sometimes that’s what I need most. An incentive of sorts.

Pack a bag with the goals that need accomplished that day. Spend some time picking a cool, quiet spot where they can focus and work. Maybe it’s a really cool bookstore with some fun space, a local coffee shop, or even a park with great tables. Set a time limit and decide how long you’ll spend there and what you need to accomplish in that time. Maybe pack a lunch, some fun snacks, or let them pick out a treat from that spot. You can bring some work along or a book and set a great example for your kids.

Cool lessons this will teach your kids:
-focus
-time management
-how to set and achieve goals
-efficiency
-how and when to reward/treat yourself

4. Staycation Competition
Encourage your kids to get creative. Create a family competition of sorts. Figure out how to split into teams or pairs. Each team will come up with and propose a staycation idea. You can provide a list of requirements. For example--plan must include food ideas, activities, attire, sleeping arrangements, decorations, must include younger siblings, budget etc. Set a time limit when the proposals need to be done. Invite a few friends over to judge the proposals (they can be as elaborate and creative as you want!) Whichever proposal wins, decide to take that staycation as a family and execute all of the plans plus add some new ideas as a family!




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