I refer to myself as an 80’s mom. My kids are young – 4 years and 19 months. I’m not sending them out into the neighborhood and not letting them back in until sunset, but I am attempting to instill some age-appropriate independence in them and teach them that low-key fun can be had every day. I am the default parent as my husband is working A LOT, and because of COVID, they can’t spend weekends away with extended family, having camp-outs and sleepovers with cousins.
I have to find something for them to do. I’m not into extravagant activities, we don’t have the time for the day and weekend trips to lakes and beaches, and I don’t want them sitting in front of the TV all day.
I am also NOT a Pinterest mom. I don’t have the time or energy to come up with creative activities for them to do. But I will tell you what has brought them the most joy so far this summer.
Both kids have safely participated in swim lessons this summer. It’s a two-fer. They are learning water safety, building confidence in their own abilities, and expending some of that seemingly never-depleted toddler energy.
We don’t have a “proper” pool for them to swim in. However, we do have inflatable splash pools that I can set up in less than 10 minutes (electric air mattress pump FTW). Throw in some pool/bathtub toys and they are occupied for at least an hour or two.
Obviously, we can’t get through summer without them. Our freezer is loaded down with the “healthier” Outshine fruit bars, Popsicle Brand Firecracker pops, Frozen Go-Gurts, and of course, jumbo packs of freezer pops. It’s nice to sit out on the porch with them in the late afternoons and watch them get sticky with popsicle juice and run around “discovering” things in our yard and playing on their swing set. Back in April, I ordered a box of bubble wands. These serve us well and the kids will spend 30 minutes blowing bubbles and chasing them.
Our four-year-old loves to have “picnics.” Sometimes, I will spread our picnic blanket out on the driveway, fill their RePlay Recycle plates with finger foods, and let them eat their meal outside. Other times, They eat on the kitchen floor. Either way, they enjoy it and it keeps them busy.
At least once a week, the kids get a glow bath. At bath time, I pull out a pack of glow sticks, throw 10 or so in the tub, turn off the lights, and put on a fun playlist. They play with the glow sticks, name colors, dance, and don’t want to get out of the tub even after the water has gone cold.
I do stop by Dollar Tree at least once a month for a “kiddie fun haul.” Glow sticks, water toys, outdoor toys, and coloring books go into my basket and the kids get so excited when they discover what I’ve brought home. And if a toy breaks, there is no hesitance in throwing it away.