Summer fun indoors!

The heat has just been killing everything. The crops, the grass, my energy level and ambition. My child is bored because we can’t be outdoors for long and he’s getting cranky. I can’t blame him. I’m bored and cranky. We’re facing a few more days of 100+ degree heat indexes here, and I’m babysitting three kids in addition to my own.

So, I need to come up with something to entertain the kids without spending a lot of money or losing my sanity.

This is what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Build a fort out of blankets and fill it with toys and pretend to be on a deserted island.

2. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie.

3. Make some fun summer crafts. Pinwheels are pretty easy and popular. Do some other types of origami. There’s plenty of videos on youtube.

4. Fill the bathtub with cool water and put all the kids in with their swimsuits on. Voila! Indoor swimming pool!

5. Paint with watercolors or make pudding or jello paint. Yes, it’s messy, but the kids will love it, and happy kids equals happy mom.

6. Make some easy recipes with the kids. Try making pudding pops in disposable cups. Or make homemade ice cream in a bag.

7. Read a favorite book to your kids and act it out. Be extra dramatic. Kids love that.

8. Cue up some fun kids music and dance!

9. Have a laundry fight. I would say pillows, but they’re bigger and can do some damage. So, maybe while folding laundry, you could ball up all of the socks and have an indoor snow sock fight. I did this when I taught preschool, but with those bath poufs, and they loved it. They love throwing stuff and mom and not getting in trouble.

10. Lay down a shower curtain liner (it’s a good idea to keep a new one handy for days like this. They’re available at the dollar store for…a dollar. LOL) and get some washable markers and let the kids make a mural and then hang it in the bathroom so they can see it. You can use permanent markers if you want to risk it. I wouldn’t though.

11. Show your kids how to use their imaginations like we did when we didn’t have video games. Set up a little store, price your items and bring out some play money. Or set up a restaurant and give them some dishes to play with. If you have some aprons, even better. I have a few of those free hardware store aprons. You know, where the kids can go the first saturday of the month and make a project for free. They get a little apron. We use those for everything. You are only limited by your imagination, and if that fails-let’s face it. We have the internet. How did we survive without it?

12. Give them some cheap supplies and let them create. Use toilet paper and paper towel tubes and let them make a telescope or binoculars. Or break out some cardboard boxes and see what they can come up with. I have tons of those on hand, since we’re moving in two weeks. They can use those paper towel rolls for microphones for suggestion number 8 also!

13. Rearrange their rooms or the living room. For whatever reason, kids love this. I think it’s just because it makes it something new and fresh. Let them help decide how to arrange it, especially if it’s their room.

14. Play dress up. Let the kids go through the closets and put on hats and any clothes they find that are not there’s. Challenge them to find the craziest outfit they can.

15. Do crazy stuff with their hair. This will be easier for the girls, but  unless your boys have a buzz cut, a little gel can do wonders.

16. If you’re feeling really desperate, you can set up an indoor beach. Bring a sandbox and put it in a room without carpet. I know, it’s messy. Relax. It WILL clean up. Take it to the basement. It’s cooler down there anyway. But not if you’re basement is scary. Then add some beach toys, put their swimsuits on and let them play. If you don’t want to bring the whole sandbox inside (I have a friend that kept one in the basement year round with a tarp under it. Genius!) you can just get a rubbermaid bin that’s shallow enough that they can sit on the floor and dig in it. The plus in this case is that you can put the lids on and store them when you are not using them. You can even go super loco and let them use some water. Remember parents, these are memories you are making. The kids will not forget that you let them do something so radically cool. It’s so worth the mess.

**Side note–forgive me, but I must share this story with you to inspire you. When I was little, like 5-6 years old, my grandfather put down some heavy black plastic in his yard, in the winter time. He then filled it with water and let it freeze overnight. Voila! Our own little skating pond. I have never forgotten that. In fact, even the little things make kids feel special. I also remember having special evenings with my grandpa. He would make us some popcorn, and let us help. And then he would make us some chocolate milk and he gave us his undivided attention. He’s gone now, but I will never forget those moments. In my opinion, it’s things like that that communicate to children that they are special and that you love them.

17. Set up a treasure hunt. We’ve been studying pirates (will post on that soon) and we made a treasure map. It was fun. I’m thinking of making my own one night while my little guy is sleeping and letting him find the buried treasure. Which may be a new toy from the dollar store and some of his favorite treats. That should perk him up on a hot day.

18. Have them build something out of Legos. If you have more than one child (I don’t. Well, not at home anyway.), you scan make it a contest. See who can build the tallest tower, or the most creative thing.

19. If you can get outside, even for just a few minutes, let them have a squirt gun war, or a water balloon fight. Or use the hose. Let them get YOU. Yes, YOU. You can do it. You’ll dry. They will have much more fun if you are involved.

20. Make sock puppets. I know, that should be in the craft category, but I just thought of it, so it’s number 20. Or paper bag puppets.

The key to it all, is basically to just get involved. Forget trying to get the cleaning done, or the bills. Or the laundry. Or even having some quiet time. All of that will wait for you. So, go ahead and set aside your plan for the day and just give your 100% attention to the kids. And the plus side is, if you wear them out, they may go to bed early and stay there. (I say as my child is out of his room for the 5th time tonight.)

So, what do YOU do with your kids when they are whining and driving you crazy? Do you have any fun ideas to share? Please, feel free to share any ideas in the comment section on the blog. I hope you are able to use some of mine. Have fun!

~There’s No Place Like Home!

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