Summer is such a precious time for us Chicagoan’s—some parents find that the summer flies by too quickly and others might feel they need more ideas to help their children enjoy this time at home. Here are two great articles to remind you of the simple pleasures of summer. While it’s easy to want to fill up the kids’ schedules, remember the value of free play and downtime too! Further below, I’ve shared some summer time ideas for you to share with your little ones–if they are a little older, encourage them to come up with ideas too!
* Dictate, write, draw stories (with crayon, marker, paint, chalk, magazine cut-outs)
* Build forts
* Save paper towel and toilet paper rolls—give your child some glue, pipe cleaner, puff balls and/or googly eyes and let their creativity flow! (you can do this with any empty boxes, containers, cartons…)
* Let them play with water: at the sink, on the deck, at the park—wherever! Give them kitchen items to explore with (funnels, measuring cups, baster, food coloring). If they make a mess, when they are done, give them some towels and they can help clean up the spills!
* Make smoothies together (you can freeze them in ice-cube trays with toothpicks for a yummy treat)!
* Make a bird-feeder (as pictured above–or you can find other fun, simple ideas on Pinterest)
* Let them play with shaving cream (at the sink, at a table, outside)
* Let them play with ice (or you can buy a manual ice shaver/snow cone machine and mix with flavored syrups)!
* Make a lemonade stand (it doesn’t have to actually be a “stand” but they can help make the lemonade, signs, and learn about money!)
* Build little people, buildings, etc. out of lego, play-doh, Popsicle sticks…
* Visit some of the many great Chicago sites (for free)!–Lincoln Park Zoo, Garfield Park Conservatory, The Bean, North Park Village Nature Center, visit any of the great beaches…and check out this website for other ideas: http://www.chicagokids.com/
* Let them be “bored” for a bit and they will eventually come up with a great idea that will hopefully unfold into many more fun adventures!
Happy Summer Everyone!