Stay-at-home moms know it can be challenging to entertain kids during the summer, school breaks, afternoons and evenings. My kids often ask me to play with them or give them an idea of something to do. We limit our kids’ screen time and we encourage them to play together independently. These simple kids activities are creative and engaging for a variety of ages.
Make Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Homemade sidewalk chalk paint is simple to whip up using any color of food coloring. You can even add glitter or fragrances if you want. We made simple colored chalk paint and my kids loved painting the sidewalk in front of our house! Be careful to use mild, water-soluble ingredients that won’t damage your sidewalk or driveway.
DIY Chalk Paint Ingredients
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
2 tbsp. baking soda
3-4 drops food coloring
First, mix together the water, cornstarch and baking soda until fully combined. The baking soda helps keep the cornstarch from getting all goopy. Next, divide the white paint up into small containers. Finally, add several drops of food coloring to make each color of paint. Stir each container of paint until the color is fully incorporated and even. You can find our full sidewalk chalk paint instructions here.
Go On a Backyard Scavenge Hunt
Make backyard play even more intriguing by sending your kids on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Kids love exploring and discovering new things. You can make a game out of finding things around the yard! Create a list of “treasures” for your kids to find and offer a prize for completing the outdoor scavenger hunt. Possible treasures could include an interesting rock, tiny shells, a bug, or colorful flowers.
Scavenger Hunt Treasure List
- big pinecones
- interesting rocks
- old bird nests
- textured bark
- oversized leaves
- seed pods
Play with a Stomp Rocket
My kids and their cousins love playing with stomp rockets. They’ll play for a hour, fitting the foam rockets onto the stomp launcher and jumping on it to make them launch into the sky. My kids take turns launching their rockets, which is good practice sharing with friends and waiting for a turn. Stomp rockets also encourage kids to get exercise while having fun!
Have a Snack Picnic
My kids also enjoy having picnics for snack time. They love when I join them, which becomes sweet quality time together. Sometimes we make creative kids snacks for our picnic and other times we just bring a bag of pretzels outside. We look up at the sky or play with bubbles. Backyard picnics quickly transform chilling in your backyard into a memorable afternoon activity!
Learn New Skills with a Balance Bike
My kids often sleep better if they burn some energy by playing outside. They often jump on our trampoline and ride their bikes. My two-year-old is too young to ride a standard bike, but she is learning new skills with her pink balance bike.
Balance bikes allow your child to skip the training wheel stage and begin learning bike riding skills from the start. Children as young as 18 months can ride independently on a balance bike and transition to a pedal bike as early as 3 years old.
I think that balance bikes are a great learning tool for young kids. With a balance bike, a child learns skills of balancing and maneuvering that will transfer over to riding a big-kid bike.
Kids can essentially walk their balance bike along and use their feet to push forward or slow down. The bike only goes as fast as a child wants to! Our kids completely skipped the training wheel stage of learning how to ride a bike and quickly transitioned from a balance bike to riding a standard bike.
Kiddy Pool Trampoline
I always love finding kids yard activities that help kids burn off energy. This fun trampoline pool from The Shrunks doubles as a bouncy surface for kids to play AND a kids’ swimming pool when you flip it over. It’s not as bouncy as a standard trampoline but my kids love rolling around, sliding off of this inflatable trampoline, and jumping around in the yard. We used our inflatable bouncer pool in the basement all winter and into the summer outdoors and the quality has held up well. We regularly inflate it and check it for any occasional leaks, which are easy to patch with a piece of duct tape or the patch repair kit it comes with. Jumping and splashing are both fun kids yard activities!
These activities help me a lot to keep my kids busy at home throughout the day. I think it’s important to spend time with my kids, and also teach my kids how to play by themselves. Each day with my kids is an adventure!
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, DIY projects, photography, homeschooling my kids, traveling, and serving people. I’ve previously worked as a graphic designer, web designer, journalist and barista. I started Create. Play. Travel. to share some of our creative projects and family adventures. I hope you enjoy the highlights of our creative family life!