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51 Fabulous Ideas for Fun and (Slightly Funned-Out) Moms!

Yes, momma, it’s summer. Still. That time of year when you suddenly realize: 1) in your more-relaxed summer schedule, you haven’t done any of the fun summer activities you wanted to (except for the pajama day and/or 2), You have done nearly every fun summer activity you can think of, and you still have a month until you settle back into a fall schedule.

In either case, I am here to help. Because I love you, I have spent many, many, many hours poring through Pinterest for you (I have a totally numb bottom and bleary eyes to prove it), and I have culled out some interesting things to do with your kidlet(s) as summer starts to hit its downhill side. (I’m not calling it a bucket list because, let’s be honest, do you actually want to explain that term to your child?)

Please note: these 51 fabulous ideas are safe for the Pinterestly-challenged mom. Because I am one of the challenged ones. Most of the things are free (yay!) or seriously cheap (also yay!) and don’t require weird things you have never heard of and don’t have. Also, all the recipes, tips, tricks, printables or whatever you need for the activities are located on a Pinterest board I made just for you!I have included reading as an activity with every age group. Since you likely have read the same three favorite books to your child 100 times today, I have also pinned some book lists on the board. Check for age-specific book lists on Goodreads as well. I love using my library hold system to find specific books—a couple clicks during naptime and the nice librarians will find the books for me and hold them for a few days for me to pick up. I know, right? Check your local library to see if they have this service. It’s usually free.

Okay, mommas, let’s do this thing.

Age 1

1) colored ice cubes in a ziplock bag (or float in water table or bath)

2) colored spaghetti

3) air fort tunnel

4) DIY ball pit

5) paint in a box

6) sensory bag

7) sticky star post-its (simple yet amazing)

8) pillow/pool crawl (pillow obstacle course, in a blowup pool!)

9) driving up the wall (not driving YOU up the wall…)

10) read! Book ideas for your one year old

Age 2

1) pom poms in tubes

2) build a fort under the dining room table (add a flashlight for extra fun!)

3) chalk art in a box (to the mom who thought of the box-thank you!)

4) build a racetrack/town for $1

5) connect 4 game (who knew?)

6) i-spy bottle (clever! good for travel and quiet time, too)

7) spin art (use paper or rocks!)

8) silky soft playdough

9) action words

10) read (Also, don’t forget those helpful librarians and the hold/reserve system.)

Age 3

1) cut the grass

2) playdough and straw letters

3) fizzy painting

4) set up the camping tent in the backyard or living room—insta playroom!

5) bubble snakes (cool, not scary)

6) easy toddler car wash/doll wash (genius, and good training for dishes in a few years)

7) games three year-olds play

8) cut and paste (use some of the tissue paper you are saving!)

9) color and shape jump

10) read!

Age 4-5

1) water balloon target (and a tip on how to have kids help fill them!)

2) rock painting (a low-ish mess method!)

3) board games for 4-5 year olds

4) marshmallow structures (try gumdrops, too)

5) color scavenger hunt and outdoor scavenger hunts of all kinds

6) easy melted crayon art (and lunch, too!)

7) drive-in movie theater (a little set-up but super fun)

8) flashlight games (is there anything more fun than a flashlight?)

9) laser obstacle course (try crepe paper streamers)

10) read! (I pinned some read-aloud lists for you, too. Also, there’s that thing where the librarians find the books FOR you…)

Family fun

Note: any family activity that ends at the local ice cream shop is a good activity. Trust me — just ask your kids.

1) search Pinterest for ‘family fun + your city’. Or search ‘staycation’ ideas for your city.

2) letter boxing or geocaching

3) look through scrapbooks together, watch video clips or play a slideshow of the photos from your phone.

4) board game or puzzle night! Check the family puzzles with multi-sized puzzle pieces (big pieces for the kids to do, smaller for the grownups, good for ages 3+)

5) stargaze in your own backyard, easy and magical

6) family picnic and pool night (check the Board for simple picnic food ideas)

7) family dance party! Take turns picking the song. (I have forbidden that one about letting it go #icanttakeitanymore…)

1) glow in the dark bowling (well, pretty much anything with glow sticks)

9) new park hunt! See how many new parks you can visit in your area. Search playground + your city on Pinterest.

10) read!

Okay, and here is #51: Anything where the mom gets to pretend to be sleep. For example, you act like the baby and your child acts like the adult and takes care of you (rubs your back to settle you down, snuggles you in a blanket, etc). Ask for a drink of water. Say you have the wrong stuffed animal. You’re hot. You’re cold. You’re hungry. Or mom is a hibernating bear. Yes, I know, it’s not a usual summer activity — work with me here, it’s for a pretend NAP!

Hang in there, mamas! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer together!

Melissa is a writer and stay-in-the-car mom who lives in Los Angeles. She and her husband, Casey, are raising (and driving around) their three daughters. You can find her wherever strong coffee is served.

Love One Another Tear-and-Share Page Book provides creative play with Biblical inspiration. Fun-filled activities help children learn biblical truths with coloring fun.