Super Simple Summertime Sanity Savers

It’s only a few weeks into summer and already your kids are saying, “I’m bored”,  “what can we do?”.  The days are long and everyone is bickering.  Don’t panic.  You are tempted to let them veg in front of the TV or iPad just to keep some peace.  But, you don’t want their summer groove to be screen time for hours and hours, here a few simple ideas to keep their minds more active.

WALK –  Make a snack on a string to take on your walk.  This is two activities really because making the snack is fun when you it’s a snack necklace.   Find items in your pantry that have a hole in the middle such as Cheerios and Cheese Its (yes there is a hole in the middle of a Cheese It! :))  .  I made the string long enough to slip over their heads.  My grandson even ate the unsweetened Cheerios since it was so fun to eat.

We didn’t string the snack where it would go behind the neck.  I’m weird about not having sweat in their snack yet fine with them making their snack necklace right on the carpet.

Older kids might think this is fun too or they might prefer a fun frozen drink to take along.


HOT LAVA – This activity is an oldie but a goodie.   You probably played it as a kid yourself.  I can see all ages, even teens liking this.  Set up pillows, couch cushions etc trailing as much of your house as you can.  Everyone can only step on a cushion as you go about your day.  Otherwise, they are in hot lava!  Maybe there is consequence for stepping in hot lave.  You know what your kids will like.  Participate in this game with them, they will think its funny to see mom/dad/nanny/grandma being playful.

We used these foam letter puzzle pieces since they have so many of them.


AQUARIUM/ZOO OR OTHER LOCAL ATTRATCTION – Find something the whole family will enjoy.

 We live in San Diego so we made memories at Sea World.  Spend the whole day or buy an annual pass and just go a few hours whenever you want.  I like having a pass so I don’t feel like I have to experience everything in a day.  That usually ends with everyone being cranky, hot, and tired, especially if you have little ones in the family.


PICNIC – No mess eating!  It can be a snack or a meal.  Picnic in the back yard, at a park or any grassy area.  Sitting on a blanket or at a picnic table together with no TV to distract leads to good conversation.  If its too hot during the day, go for breakfast or dinner.


Its also a chance to run around, be silly and let loose of some energy.


BLANKET  –  Bring out a big blanket or sheet and let your kids use their imagination.  They might lay it on the floor and use it as a boundary for play or roll up in it like a cocoon (heads out of the blanket please), or throw it over the back of some chairs or a table for a tent.  They might pull each other around the floor on it.  If they need suggestions, help them out, but see what they come up with in their imagination.


EGG CARTON GAME – If you have young kids, give them an empty egg carton.  Write numbers in the sections and they put that many Goldfish crackers, or similar sized items, to match the number you wrote.  Brodey has been doing this for a while so now I put random numbers, out of order, to make it a little more challenging.



COOKIES TO COINS – This needs slight planning ahead since you probably don’t have a can of cake decorating spray in your pantry already;  but this was so fun for the 10 year old boys I nanny.

I bought a can of gold Color Mist by Wilton at Party City.  The boys sprayed Oreos with it, it needs two coats of ‘paint’.  We had enough to spray both sides, not quite using a whole package of Oreos.  For a pirate snack, we put them in a cardboard treasure box they already had, along with some gold coins i purchased while at Party City!  One of the boys was Captain Hook in a play and this was our ‘post play’ snack.  One of them made a treasure map leading to the box of loot!


First coat, as you can see it needed another coat.


BOARD GAMES – There is a board game for every age and interest!   It’s tough to compete with electronic games so consider letting them pick out a new game that looks interesting to them.  To make it more intriguing – winner gets a special privilege.  Board games with siblings or friends teaches them to be gracious winners and good sports, even when they lose.  (These are attitudes most kids need to be taught and to practice.  It isn’t usually instinct for any of us!)  If you have too much trouble getting them to play a board game, there are games they can play on an iPad, side by side with each other, such as the Battleship app.

My four year old grandson likes his Candyland game. We don’t make fuss if little Brinley moves our pieces while we play.                        It’s good math practice counting and moving their marker the correct number of spaces.


We took our Monopoly game out by the pool one day for something different.



PULL OUT COSTUMES/PROPS – Put a basket of costumes, hats, masks, wands, gloves, silly glasses, even musical intruments, if front of a full length mirror.  Let their imaginations soar!  Have your camera ready!  ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`


LIBRARY –  Don’t forget to use the library in your area! For checking out books , of course, but most libraries have story time, yoga, lego building, special guests.  Check out books for yourself too.  Have a reading time together.


It takes school kids a while to adjust to not having their days planned out for them.  They tend to settle down after they get their summer groove going.  You don’t want to over plan summer with too much.  It’s ok for kids to be bored sometimes.  Try to find a good balance between over planning and letting their brain turn to mush!  Have a happy Summer!



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