The holidays are a great way to spend time with friends and family. Hosting a gingerbread building competition is a great way to get everyone involved in a fun, holiday-themed activity. There are no limitations when it comes to creativity with gingerbread. My family hosts a gingerbread-themed extravaganza every December. We all get together and spend an evening covered in frosting, full of laughter, in the kitchen.
School’s just about out for the summer, and that can only mean one thing: “Mom, I’m bored!” Ideas run out fast, especially when you’re not looking to leave the house every day, and you have a budget to abide by. These five backyard activities will be your summer survival guide when boredom sets in for the kids and you don’t have the time or budget to come up with fun things to do.
Twister is a classic game that’s fun for the whole family, but setting up the mat outside can be quite difficult when wind and slippery grass come into play. Instead of using the mat the old-fashioned way, spray paint the round circles onto your grass.
You’ll need either a piece of poster paper, a large piece of sturdy paper or even a brown paper bag to create your circular stencil. Next, take a round object with about an 8-inch diameter (e.g. plate, bowl, bucket, oatmeal container), and trace the object onto the paper. Cut out the circle, and you’ll be left with your stencil.
Once you’ve created your circular stencil, lay it on the grass and begin to spray. You probably won’t want to let your kids do this due to the toxins in spray paint. The typical Twister mat has 24 circles, six of each color. The circles should be around 3 inches apart. To play the game, use your spinner from the original game if you have one. If not, make one with paint chips.
Interactive Driveway Board Game
Revamp your board game days by creating an interactive board in your driveway. No pieces, no problem! Kids will be their own game pieces in this game.
First, you’ll need to make the board. Using chalk, kids can draw out a long, winding path with a start and a finish, creating as many spaces as they want. Older kids may want a longer board and younger kids a shorter one, depending on their attention span. Randomly write “+3,” “-2,” “+5” and “-7” on the board, leaving about a third of the spaces blank.
Next, you’ll need some giant dice. Here’s how you can make your own!
- Take an empty, cube-shaped tissue box and cover it in newspaper or durable paper.
- Color on all the dots of a piece of dice with a marker.
- Tape all the edges with postal or duct tape to ensure durability.
Now that you have your game board and dice, you’re ready to play! Each player rolls the dice and moves that many spaces. If you land on a space with a plus or a minus, you’ll follow the space’s command (for instance, if you roll a 2 and the space you land on says “-3,” you’ll move back three spaces). Players can only move forward or backward once per roll. First player to the finish line wins!
Blowing bubbles is always good for a few smiles, but it doesn’t exactly scream “summer excitement.” Mix up your own homemade bubble concoction and get creative with your bubble blowers.
Homemade bubble recipe:
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup of dish soap
- ¼ cup of corn syrup
- Empty gallon jug and wide plastic container
Get creative by using household items to blow bubbles. Cookie cutters are easy to use, or get more advanced and create your own shapes with colorful pipe cleaners, copper wire or a water bottle. To use a plastic water bottle, cut off the bottom of the bottle with a good pair of scissors (adult supervision recommended), then dip the open end into the bubble solution and blow through the mouthpiece. This will be a great activity to get the kids off the couch and outside in the sunshine!
Going to the bowling alley in the summer usually means one of two things: rain or dangerously hot weather. Here’s how you can enjoy the timeless game even on a nice summer day!
What you’ll need:
- 10 empty 2-liter bottles
- Food coloring
- A soccer ball, basketball or other large ball
Once you’ve filled all your 2-liter bottles about halfway full of water and food coloring, find a flat area of grass or a driveway to set up the game. Arrange the bottles in a triangle. If you choose to play on a driveway, you can draw lines to symbolize the gutters of the lane. Depending on the age of the children, you can make the fault line as close or far back as needed.
Most importantly, this fun activity involves little cleanup: Just store the bottles in the garage for the next time the kids want to play!
Glow-in-the-Dark Ring Toss
Enjoy warm summer nights with this glow-in-the-dark game of ring toss.
All you need are glow sticks and a stand. If you don’t have any glow sticks in the house, Walmart sells a 100-pack of assorted colors for $10.48.
No need to go out and buy a metal post to stick in the ground; search your house or garage for something that will work. Try using a small shovel, an outdoor solar light, a large stick, a 2-liter of pop or anything stable and tall enough.
How to play:
- Form teams of two and give each player three rings (the teams should each have a color).
- Have one player from each team throw a ring, and rotate.
- After all of the rings are thrown, count how many are on the stand from each team.
- The team with the most rings wins!
I hope these games help occupy some of those “I’m bored!” moments you encounter this summer while your kids are out of school. Enjoy!
Know of a creative and fun outdoor summer game for kids? Post it in the comments section below!