The One Thing Every Parent Should do 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 ….

Continue reading
7954 Hits

Kids Books that Celebrate the Joy of Summertime

Summer is the time to kick back, relax and enjoy those long, don't-need-a-schedule type of days. 

Kids relish in having time to explore, create and head out on a few adventures. 

Plus fun reading ideas always make it on our Summer bucket lists!

And there are so many wonderful activities that you can only do during summer -- catching fireflies, visiting the fair, enjoy cold treats on a hot day, spending a day near the water and having a lemonade stand.

It's also the perfect time to reconnect with the kids -- those long summer days allow parents and kids more time together to talk and learn about each other.

This week's book list focuses on those popular summer moments & traditions. 

We've hand-picked picture books, early readers and chapter books that all share the joy of summertime along with some fun questions to kick-off a few get-to-know-me discussions!

Continue reading
28674 Hits

Fun Hands-on Math Activities: Get Creative with Clothespins

Math is one of those topics that many kids find easier to learn if they can DO something with it. 

Instead of just working problems on a worksheet, learning becomes hands-on when you sort coins, pull out the tape measure or build items that will teach kids about shapes.

There are a TON of things that kids can use to make math fun (our 100 Items to Use to Count to 100 post shares a very large variety) -- and that's our goal:  to make learning fun!

So this month we are teaming up with a wonderful group of bloggers to introduce some super cool items from around the house that can be used in math activities.

What's the super cool item we are using today?

Clothespins!

And we've got 20 fun ways that your kids can practice counting, adding, geometry, fractions and more!

Continue reading
39126 Hits

5 Tips for Kayaking with Kids

Every summer, we like to get out and try something new with the kids. 

In my own little world, I have this list of "things I want to  experience with my kids before they grow up and won't be around any more" :)  So each year, I revisit the list and pick something that I think would be fun to try.

Because one of the best parts about family is experiencing something new together!

To inspire you, we're starting a short summer series on the blog -- Outdoor Family Adventures!

My goal is to introduce you to fun and adventurous activities that families will enjoy -- hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling and ...

... today's feature activity -- kayaking!

 

We decided to try kayaking as a family a few years ago and let me tell you, it was an AWESOME hit with the kids!

This is not part of our current $0 Summer series since it does cost a little money but we feel it's well worth it and have continued to enjoy our boat outings on the weekends and during vacations.

Here's a few things we learned about kayaking with the kids including what to bring, where to rent kayaks and how to get started!

Continue reading
10743 Hits

Great Wilderness Adventure Books for Ages 9 - 12

With the first official day of summer coming this week, I sat down to review our summer reading list.

Since I know first hand that it can be somewhat challenging to get those older kids reading during the summer months (or reading something OUTSIDE of their normal 'book type'), I always like to have some go-to chapter books on hand.

One of our favorite genres during the summer are outdoor adventure books -- stories where kids are up against nature and must do some quick thinking and use their survival skills to get through a tough situation.

Those books where kids think "Man, I wish I could have an adventure like that!"

So today's book list is for all those adventurous spirits out there -- both boys & girls -- who wonder what it would be like to be lost in the woods or shipwrecked alone on an island.

Stories like these help our kids to think about how they might 'step up' and handle a challenging situation when there are no adults to lead the way. 

And they're sure to entice and capture the attention of even the most reluctant of readers!

Continue reading
20223 Hits

15 Free Father's Day Cards & Activities {printables}

Connect with us on Facebook or Pinterest for all our latest finds!!

 

It's only a week until Dad's special day -- and boy do we have some GREAT {and free!} ideas for the kids to give Dad!

Father's Day is June 21st this year so I thought we would round-up some fun printable activities the kids can print & personalize. 

These aren't regular boring old cards either -- we've found ideas for techie greetings, funny fill-ins and some unique ideas that will make Dad smile.

I hope these make your week a little easier as you get ready to celebrate with 'The Best Dad in the World'!

Continue reading
17761 Hits

Go BIG! Life-size Games & Art Activities that Make Kids Say "WOW!"

Have you ever noticed that normal sized things are boring for kids?

"Want pancakes this morning?" and all I hear is  "Ok."

But if I ask "How about a pancake the size of your plate?", then I hear "AWESOME!"

Yep, size matters to kids ;)

They LOVE things that are super big or super small -- small world play is always a huge hit and creating BIG art is something they can do for hours.

So in keeping with our 105 Ways to Make Memories with the Kids without Spending a Dime theme this summer, we are introducing some VERY BIG activities the kids will really enjoy!

 

Continue reading
12907 Hits

30 Fun Things to do in June: Holidays & Observances

Sometimes creating fun memories is as simple as celebrating a day together -- so I thought I would share some of the fun & unique June Observation Days that families will enjoy!

It seems that there is a Fun Day celebration for everything under the sun -- Hug your Cat Day or Make a Sandwich Day (odd but true).

And the whole concept of there being days unique observances is a little foreign to kids -- except when they ask you "There's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, so when is it Kid's Day?" 

Of course, we all answer "Every day is Kid's Day", right ;)

For June, choose a few observation days that fit your family's life -- maybe you're an outdoorsy group and want to do something special for National Get Outdoors Day.

Or maybe your kids LOVE Bomb Pops -- then make National Bomb Pop Day a new family tradition.

In line with our $0 Summer: Fun & Free Ways to Make Memories with the Kids philosophy, it doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive -- it's the little things that create BIG impressions!

 

Continue reading
7395 Hits

Awesome Father's Day Gift Ideas for Dad

It's June, which means sunshine, swimming pools and a special day for Dad - which means!

When is Father's Day this year? 

Don't worry, you've still got time -- it's June 19th. 

And for the record, my Dad's birthday is the same week so I've been browsing for some fun and unique gifts for a few of the special men in my life. 

Now, my husband will tell you that the best gift any man could get would be an unlimited supply of bacon (and who am I to argue) but I was thinking of something a little better than bacon ;)

I know, there's probably not much that's better than bacon but here are some unique ideas that I think most Dad's will enjoy.

Continue reading
15702 Hits

Science & Water Activities for a Day at the Pond

One thing I really enjoy during the summer are days out with the kids! 

We like to explore almost anywhere but since we have a summer budget, finding free places to visit is always a plus since we like to get out a lot during summertime.

You don’t have to travel very far for the kids to feel like they are “on a vacation”.  

I began to realize the benefits of days out with the kids when I took the kids to a pond one morning – we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed our favorite blanket along with a few other fun things that I had stashed in the car and headed out for a few hours.

It’s amazing how much fun kids have exploring the water!

So today we are sharing all the fun things you can do on a trip to the pond, creek or lake – including a great book list, FREE printable list and some great activities everyone will enjoy.

Continue reading
19632 Hits

17 Summer Reading Rewards & Book Logs {with free printables}

We love the idea of reading rewards and book logs to inspire summer reading!

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 skill 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 the kids to read but also allow us to retain our 'cool Mom/Dad' status!

Continue reading
35238 Hits
10 Books for a Day at the Beach or Lake

10 Books for a Day at the Beach or Lake

Heading to the beach or lake this summer? 

There are SO many things to do at the beach!  Have you tried any of these Science at the Beach activities?

But a day on the sand or at the lake can tire out even the most active of kids so be sure to bring along a few books for the trip.  Or better yet, take them in the car for some before-beach fun.   

Kids can learn a TON while digging in the sand or floating on the water and these books will inspire them to explore items they may find and enjoy some downtime on the blanket.

Which means some downtime for you too -- so don't forget to take along a book for yourself ;)

Continue reading
8269 Hits

100 Free Things to do with Kids this Summer

I thought we'd try something a little different this summer -- I'm up for a challenge, how about you?

We usually share a 'summer bucket list' on the blog with ideas for things to do during the next three months. 

But when I went back to look at some of our most read summer posts, I learned that the 34 Ways to Be a Cool Parent this Summer was by far one of the most popular.

It's not surprising when I think about it -- the post is a list of simple ways to make memories with your kids.

And isn't that what we really want to do as parents.

 

When you get right down to it, the goal many of us have for summertime is to create memories.

Activities the kids will remember fondly years later.

Special moments they talk about when you least expect it.

Things that will inspire them to do the same with their kids.

 

Our parents & grandparents did so many of them with us -- catching fireflies, making a blade of grass whistle, making tin can 'phones', taking us on simple family outings.

There's something about simplicity and summertime that just feels right.

Kind of like butter on a warm piece of toast :)

 

So instead of sharing a bucket list this year, we're sharing ideas for making memories.

And the best part -- none of them will cost you a dime!

 

Continue reading
41966 Hits

27 Simple Summer Science Experiments

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of Summer is next week!

And our kids are already out of school -- yea!  We're on summer break! :)

Summer is a wonderful time to let the kids show off their curiosity and do some simple science:

Mom, do you think this {non-waterproof object} will float?

If I put my popsicle down in the sun, how long will it take to melt?

and the best one that's always asked at our house --

If we put the hose at the top of the slide and turn on the water, how fast will I slide down?

They shoot off that thing like a greased pig I tell you :)

 

So in order to inspire & nuture that growing sense of curiosity -- and even allow them to live a little dangerously at times -- we thought we would bring you an awesome list of Simple Summer Science Experiements to try!

 

Continue reading
28479 Hits

15 Animal-themed Math Activities

Math has always been an issue at our house.

My son LOVES math!  We were constantly looking for fun ways to expand on different math concepts that he enjoyed because he was always working ahead in that area.

Now my daughter -- NOT a lover of traditional math at all :)

Worksheets & math books make her cringe.

But she really enjoys hands-on activities and reading so my goal has always been to find interesting ways to engage her (read that:  trick her as she would say) into doing more math.

With summer coming, it's really important to keep the kids practicing their math concepts.  During the summer months, most kids will lose two months of mathematical skills!

I know - shocking!

Math is one of those things that requires daily practice -- BUT it doesn't have to be the boring-do-a-worksheet kind of practice. 

There are a lot of fun ways to integrate math into summer activities so kids are not only learning but also having a great time while they play!

Continue reading
9211 Hits