The Secret to a More Relaxing Summer

I've got a secret to share with you today!

I'm not really that organized during the summer :)

Ok, that's not really it -- the secret is in how I APPEAR to be organized on those crazy summer days. 

If you've been following The $0 Summer: 105 Ways to Make Memories with the Kids series, you know our goal is to help you focus on more fun and less chaos.  (If you haven't been following along, we'd love for you to join us!)

We had one of THOSE summers a while back -- you know the ones -- every time we would head to the park or the pool or out to an event, something would get left behind.

Like the water bottles or the kids' socks (which you ALWAYS need at play places) or the towel so my kids wouldn't shiver when they got out of the pool. 

Or worse yet, I would forget the snacks!

Ugh!

So I got myself together and put a little system into place -- a very easy system that made my family very happy because we always had what we needed when we needed it (yea!)

Want to know my secret?  And bonus:  it comes with a FREE printable to make your summer less chaotic too :)

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20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

One of our favorite parts of summertime is the not-so-strict-bedtime schedule so we love to find some fun things to do on a Summer night!

We head out after dinner for a walk to the park or spend a night doing something special. 

With the longer days and cooler evenings, summer is the perfect time to find some family events or activities that you can enjoy together after dark.

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How to Create Memories with Your Kids

How to Create Memories with Your Kids

Ideas for how to create memories with your kids this summer!

Many of us are now ‘officially’ on summer break.

For kids, it’s a time for popsicles, pool visits and unscheduled adventures!

For parents, it’s a time to reconnect with our kids who have been trapped in a school building for the better part of the year.  

It’s also a time to think about what we might do together this summer.

Now I’ll bet you’re thinking this is going to be one of those ‘list’ posts – as in, make a summer bucket list or a what we’ll do this summer list.

But it’s not.

Even though that’s a great thing to do – it’s not the ONE thing I want you to do –

Scratch that

It’s the one thing YOUR kids really need you to do this summer.

 

The item I’m talking about only requires a pen, a sticky note and 3 minutes of uninterrupted time ….

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20 Printable Summer Scavenger Hunts

20 Printable Summer Scavenger Hunts

Enjoy these Summer Scavenger Hunt Ideas while you're on vacation, exploring places around town or just relaxing in the backyard!

If there's one thing we love, it's a good scavenger hunt

In fact, we've been known to 'divide and conquer' in a friendly family competition on more than one occasion.

In addition to just being fun, scavenger hunts are also great ways for kids to learn -- your kids will hone their observation skills, practice new words, explore new places and many hunts also intregrate a little science and math too.

Our goal -- one scavenger hunt each week for the whole summer!

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Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Check out these FREE kids' programs, workshops & clinics this summer where your kids can explore hands-on activities, master a skill or create something beautiful!

Summer is coming and kids are looking for fun things to do -- and us parents are hoping that it's not all tech time ;)

There are a number of free programs & workshops your kids can try this summer -- my favorite part about these are that they are only a few hours and give kids a way to try something new without investing a ton of time (or money).

Summer is the perfect time to try out something new -- you never know what your kids will gravitate to unless you introduce them to new things!

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Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

May is Water Safety Month and the perfect time to talk to your kids before gearing up to visit the pool or beach this summer!

My husband & I disagree about a lot of things -- like who's the best canoe paddler (it's me ;) and whether pasta or burgers are a better summer dinner.

But the one thing you'll find us both in agreement on -- teaching kids to swim and understanding safety near the water.

Be sure to take some time this summer to talk to your kids about the ABCD's of water safety with these easy tips!

 
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17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

Inspiration for Summer reading with fun reading logs & rewards for kids!

As parents, we know that connecting the kids with books throughout the summer months is SUCH a good thing. 

Summer reading helps them to keep their vocab and comprehension skills strong so those first weeks back to school are much easier!

But honestly, keeping them reading can be a challenge with all the other fun activities they have going on -- like the pool and friends and s'mores by the fire ... not to mention the availability of technology and the desire to get sticky, dirty and wet any chance they get ;)

Which is why this first post in our 105 Days of Free Summer Fun includes awesome ideas & freebies that will not only inspire your kids to read but also allow us to retain our 'cool Mom/Dad' status without constantly bugging them to pick up a book!

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30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

This rock painting idea + fun things to do outside will inspire more creative play for your kids without having to hear "there's nothing to do" this summer!

I'm a toss-the-kids-out-the-door kind of parent. 

Children (along with teens and adults for that matter) just don't get enough time outside. I can recall enjoying some wonderfully long days climbing trees, skating, creating, digging & exploring as a child.

But I grew up with siblings and neighbors that were all close in age so there was always someone who wanted to "go out & play". 

My daughter doesn't have the luxury of playmates knocking at her door so lately I've been looking for ways to entice her to spend more time outside. 

Since she really enjoys crafts and also likes to be surprised, we decided to create an Outdoor Activity Jar together to inspire more exploration & outdoor play this year.

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36 Summer Sensory Experiences

36 Summer Sensory Experiences

Explore some of these summer sensory activities this year with your kids no matter what their age!

My kids are "touchers" -- as in, they always put their hands on things.

 

When they were young, I can't tell you how many times I said "Don't touch that one!" -- barbed wire, live animals, dog poop!

Yes, dog poop -- who knew it was such a kid magnet?!

But I did know that letting them touch as many things as they safely could would allow for wonderful learning opportunities!  They've always learned best when they can have a hands-on experience which is a very familiar thing for so many kids.

So when we plan out our summer activities, I love being able to give them lots of sensory experiences! It's the perfect time to get wet, sticky and try new things -- to paint, walk barefoot and explore the night.

It's the time of year when I initiate some of our creative family projects and plan some out-of-the-ordinary day trips.

So come explore with us as we share 36 Summer Sensory Experiences: fun ways to inspire kids, tweens & teens to touch, taste, smell, feel and hear the beauty of summertime!

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20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

We're so excited about this Printable Activity Pack with TONS of fun summer activities for your kids!

And right now, you can get it at a special price (50% off) for a limited time!!

Because it's never too early to start preparing for summer break, right ;)

Since we're all about helping to make family life easier while your raise curious kids, we've combined those two goals to create a Summer Printable Activity Pack with activities the kids will LOVE along with time-saving printables for parents!

 
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50+ Olympic Activities for Kids

The Summer Olympics are beginning soon & we're going to make them an AMAZING event for your family!

Besides cheering on your favorite country, we thought it would be fun to create a friendly Learn & Play Summer Olympic Challenge for the kids too.

We've teamed up with an outstanding group of kid-friendly bloggers from around the world to bring you a whole month of Olympic-related crafts, activities, sensory play and fun ways to learn!

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27 Sidewalk Chalk Learning Games & Activities for Summer

27 Sidewalk Chalk Learning Games & Activities for Summer

Grab your favorite sidewalk chalk and do some learning this summer!

At the end of the school year, I always spend some time stocking up for Summer fun.

I like to do a quick assessment of items that need to be added based on the kids' developmental skills (do we need a bigger bike?  are they ready to try a new activity like hula-hooping?) and also those outdoor supplies that need to be replenished -- like sidewalk chalk!

If I could create a Summer Bag for every kid in the world, one of the first things I would put in is sidewalk chalk -- it's colorful, inexpensive and there are SO many awesome ways to use it!

So play & learn with us today and explore these 27 fun ways to get creative with sidewalk chalk this summer!

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20 Outdoor Activities & Games to Play at the Park

20 Outdoor Activities & Games to Play at the Park

Enjoy these fun activities & games to play at a local park!

It's May again and that means we're celebrating Kids to Parks Day with a whole slew of AWESOME ideas for games to play & fun activities to do at the parks!

Be sure to visit last year's idea list of 30 Fun Games to Play at the Park for more ways to explore this summer.

And this year is extra special since it's also the 100th Anniversary of the National Park system.

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20 Playground Games & Activities

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.  We are joining them this month to inspire families to get outside & explore their local playgrounds!

 

Spring is in the air and for so many children that means heading back to the playground!

We've already seen an increase in visitors to our neighborhood playground during our evening walks.  Getting the kids outside to climb, swing and slide is beneficial is so many ways:

It encourages them to be active -- a lifelong skill that we all need to keep in mind ;)

Outdoor play has so many health benefits -- fresh air, development of large motor skills and inspiring a connection with nature are just a few.

And most of all, free play time gives parents the chance to "not be the fun police" :) 

I speak from experience here! 

Letting the kids lose at the playground is the perfect opportunity for them to spread their wings while Mom and Dad watch from afar or build leadership skills as they take charge of a game.  Kids are able to practice their social skills with other children, put their manners into play (taking turns is SUCH an important life skill) and have a safe place to explore without being under the constant eye of their parents.

And it's not all about JUST swinging -- there are so many more fun things to do during your next trip to the playground!

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DIY T-shirt Painting: Sun Printing on Fabric

Paint a t-shirt using heat from the sun -- an awesome craft for teens & kids this summer!

You know when you find those inspirational points where two seemingly unrelated things collide?

Like frozen hot chocolate?! 

You think "Man, I'm not sure how that came together but it just works!"

That's what we have for you with this project -- Science + Craft = Awesomeness!

Today we're combining the science of sun prints with designing your own t-shirt. 

It's a super easy activity for kids of all ages and one that will really let their creativity shine through.

Plus it's a great way to introduce a little science and also make a unique t-shirt for back to school (which is happening way too quickly in our neck of the woods -- only 15 more days of summer here).

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