Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. Before you know it, school will be out and the kids will be home looking for things to do.
Before we hit those long summer days, I like to be ready for all our activities. We enjoy being outside quite a bit and always fit in some fun ways to learn thoughout the summer so I thought I would share a list of great items to have on hand as you prepare for a fun (and low-cost) summer.
Many of these items can be found at garage sales, consignment stores or the $1 bins at Target which can help save you money for that summer vacation you’re planning 😉
10 Awesome Items to have for Summer Fun & Learning
The first thing I do is to take a quick inventory of what we already have and round-up items so they are “in plain sight” so to say. Sometimes kids forget they have a jump rope or that bug catcher they love to use.
I tend to group out items into the following categories:
Outdoor play — for items we use in the backyard
Science & nature items — magnifying glass, bug catcher, garden tools, items for experiments, etc.
Things that Go – bikes, scooters, etc.
Learning Resources — this would include any item related to topics the kids are crazy about right now 🙂
Once I have a good idea of what we have on hand, then I start brainstorming what we should add based on our learning goals and of course our Summer Bucket list activities.
Here are some things you might want to add to your ‘summer arsenal’ along with affiliate links to items that we love:
1. Books, books, books
Make a list of what your kids are reading, what author they might like or books you want to introduce your kids to this summer. You can find low-cost books at garage sales, consignment sales and library books sales.
Or consider hosting a ‘Book Trade’ among neighborhood families so everyone can be ready for some summer reading!
If your looking for titles to add to your summer reading list, browse our 50 Amazing Read Aloud Books and the Best Books for Summer Fun lists for a few ideas!
2. Outdoor toys
The goal: Anything to get the kids some time in the sun!
Think about looking for a few of these items: Hula Hoop , balls, sidewalk chalk, pool toys, Sand & Water toys , things to collect bugs in/with, small flashlights for flashlight tag, outdoor games like bocce or badminton, etc.
We love to bring science outdoors during the summer so I like to have these awesome Outdoor Science Tools for kids on hand!
3. Art Supplies
You can find some great art items at yard and consignment sales – coloring/activity books, art & craft sets, easels, paint supplies, colored pencils, jewelry-making kits and containers to store things in to keep them organized!
Also keep an eye out for craft materials such as pipe cleaners, googly eyes, fabric scraps, etc.
4. Balance Items
Summer is the perfect time for kids to work on gross motor skill development!
If it requires balance, it helps them develop core strength. Plus if they are riding items, they are also learning to negotiate how to steer, the speed and other great life skills.
Bikes, scooters, skates, wagons and bike seats are perfect for younger kids. Older kids would enjoy balance balls, a Slackline slack lines, roller blades and other challenging items like these.
5. Small ‘surprise’ items
Going on vacation? Need a few small items to keep kids busy in the car?
Now’s the time to look for those! Tuck them away and you’ll be all set when you need them.
We found a set of these cute travel bingo cards a few years ago and use them every summer.
And I just LOVE to stock up on any small items we can use on some of our mega Road Trips that will keep the kids busy in the car!
6. Sports equipment
Do you have a basketball at home? Teach kids to dribble and you can always find a hoop at the park.
Thinking about going fishing over the summer?
Or maybe your kids have wanted to try baseball but you don’t have a bat & ball?
Introduce them to something new this summer at a great price!
7. Dress-up/Pretend Play
Kids always love to pretend and play dress-up, so look for items you think will add some fun to their creative play this summer. Go through your own closet or hit those garage sales to see what you can add to the dress-up box!
8. Hobby items
Does your child collect something?
Look for items to add to their collection: trading cards, coin books, mini-erasers, ‘squinkies’, etc.
9. Add-on items for Electronic Learning
Consignment sales are a great place to find additional Leap Pad books & cartridges, games for portable gaming systems or books & software for those electronic readers. Hint: Bring a few batteries of various sizes so you can try out electronics before you buy them.
10. Learning Items
Is your child learning to tell time? Look for a clock for their room.
Kids need practice with their writing? Look for a fun notebook they can turn into a summer journal and practice their writing skills.
Do have a child who’s nuts about dinosaurs or just can’t get enough details about ancient societies? Try adding some books on these topics along with interactive games.
Or maybe they’re having trouble with math facts? Have them look for fun math items (games, workbooks, etc.) that will help encourage them to practice this summer.
Stock up now for a great start to summer vacation!