Ain't no cure for the summertime stir-crazy toddler blues? Au contraire! In fact, in my experience, keeping little ones busy during the summer is easier than any other time of year. Why? Well, think about it: Any toddler worth his or her salt loves making massive messes more than anything, and warm weather means those massive messes can be made outside -- phew! Truth is, nearly any sort of water play or finger painting or bubble blowing will occupy most small children for hours on end -- but just in case they (or you) are in desperate need of a new activity, we found 5 super fun, super easy ways to keep toddlers (and you) entertained this summer. And you know what's even better? Most of them won't cost you much more than a dime! (Theoretically speaking. Cause what can you actually get for a dime nowadays?) Anyway ... have a blast!
Roll out long strips of white paper on the sidewalk or driveway. Have kids squirt non-toxic, washable paint on the paper (use lots of colors!). Roll watermelons through the paint. (For extra mileage, follow up this activity with Watermelon Bathtime!)
2. Backyard Toy Car Wash
Gather up all the Matchbox cars (and any other small toy vehicles) in the house. Bring them outside along with some plastic bins, buckets -- even a wading pool would work -- and fill with soapy water. Insta-car wash!
Once again, roll out those long strips of white paper on the sidewalk or driveway. Squirt non-toxic, washable red paint into empty foil pans (the kind you would use for making brownies or baked ziti). Have kids step in the paint, then make footprints on the paper. Use markers and crayons to add ladders and wheels to the footprints, turning them into fire engines! (This activity can be modified with different colors, etc., to make non-fire trucks, too.)
Follow the instructions on powdered Jello packets to make a big bowl of (liquid) Jello. Sprinkle in lots of confetti glitter and stir it through. Let set overnight. Scoop the Jello out of the bowl and put it into Ziploc bags. Put it in the freezer, leaving it overnight (again). Take the frozen Jello bags outside and let kids try to melt/break it apart using their hands, plastic knives and spoons, spray bottles filled with water, etc.
Mix different shades of food coloring and water in a variety of bowls, then fill an ice cube tray with the colored water and put it in the freezer. When the cubes are halfway frozen, put wooden popsicle sticks in the middle for handles. When they're all the way frozen, take them outside -- along with some paper -- and let kids go wild!
What's your favorite way to keep kids entertained during the summer?
Image via Abigail Batchelder/Flickr