Take a Trip to the Farmers' Market. Farmers' markets are surprisingly family-friendly, offering great stimulation for children. They present a unique learning environment where kids experience a variety of colors, shapes, sounds, smells and tastes. Frequent visits allow a family to develop relationships with local farmers and vendors in their community. Find a farmers' market near you.
Go on a Picnic. Pack up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and juice boxes and spread out a blanket at a nearby park. Meet up with other moms and dads and their kids. Feed the birds or ducks day-old bread...just watch out for those pesky squirrels! You can even bring the family dog, a favorite doll or stuffed animal along for the fun.
Visit a Park. We're very blessed in San Diego to have beautiful weather and access to neighborhood parks year round. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise is wonderful for kids. When your kids have tired of the swings and jungle gym, go for a walk, take a bike ride or teach your kids the finer points of kickball. Many local parks include baseball fields and basketball courts. Remember to reapply sunscreen.
Hold a Neighborhood Bicycle Parade. Round up the children on your street and hold a bicycle and tricycle parade through the neighborhood! Use newspaper comic strips as handlebar streamers. Attach playing cards to the part of the bike that holds the wheels in place, and when the wheels turn, the spokes will make all sorts of noise.
Try a New Frozen Treat. What's better than a cool, refreshing treat on a hot summer day? Discover where to get Frozen Treats to Beat the Heat!
Have a Garage Sale. Get rid of "stuff" in the house that you no longer want or need. Parents are always looking for "gently used" children's things. Let your school age kids manage their own lemonade stand-always a big hit! Or, if you're in the market, take your kids to a neighborhood garage sale. Let your kids pick out a "new" toy. Remember, another kid's old toy is new to your child! Garage sales are also great places to find gently used books for all ages to read.
Chalk is Cheap. Sidewalk chalk is a great invention. It's thicker than blackboard chalk (easier for small hands to maneuver), it lasts longer, and it comes in colors and fun shapes. Any sidewalk or driveway becomes a canvas for "works of art" and will attract children of all ages.
Make Your Own Bubbles. Whether you're in your backyard or at the park, blowing bubbles is always a fun activity for kids. Take the fun one step further and make your own bubbles together! All you need is a shallow pan, a little dish soap, water and glycerin (available at your local pharmacy). A brand new fly swatter doubles as a wand for lots of teeny tiny bubbles. Check out some great bubble recipes and tips.
Do a Little Gardening. This is an inexpensive way to teach your kids about nature. Buy a packet of seeds from a local hardware store or gather some seeds from the fruits and vegetables you bring home from the market. Kids can plant flowers, fruits or vegetables in your backyard garden, a flower pot, or a window box and watch them grow. Plus, girls and boys love to play in the dirt! Our Plant a Garden will give you some ideas.
Make Your Own Clay!
1 cup flour 1 Tbsp oil
½ cup salt 1 cup water
2 tsp. Cream of tartar Food coloring or beet juice or carrot juice
Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar in bowl. Gradually stir liquids into dry ingredients.
Stir in food coloring or juice (add small amounts at a time). Cook in saucepan over medium heat until a ball forms. Clay will darken slightly when cooked. Remove from heat and knead until smooth. If sticky, cook for a few minutes longer.