HELLO SUMMERTIME! My babies and I have BIG plans this summer: play outside, eat, sleep, repeat! We spend a lot of time outside because fresh air, silliness, and vitamin D help my little ones fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. Hooray! I’ve made a list of the best summertime activities for kids and toddlers that keep everyone entertained. All these ideas are toddler approved, simple, and FREE. Just add water!
Cup Station: What is it about toddlers and water?? Last weekend, while sitting on our back deck with my girls, Darcy asked me to fill up a cup full of water. This turned into such a fun game. She was soon pouring the water into every cup she could get her hands on. She made me “coffee”, used chalk to turn the water different colors, and learned how to make mud. She was in heaven! Did she need a bath afterwards? Of course! Darcy is very good at getting dirty. I’m sure you can relate! You know it’s been a good day when she’s covered in mud and chalk.
Supplies needed: Different cups (various shapes and sizes) and water
Ice Race This game is a hoot! I have to give credit to my nine-year-old niece for inventing this one. Harper, my niece, filled up a bucket of ice and she set the bucket on one side of the yard and put an empty bucket on the other. She told the toddlers to fill up the empty bucket with ice. You should have seen their minds working! At first they both used their hands and started running handfuls of ice cubes to the empty bucket, then they formed a relay and began handing each other ice by meeting in the middle. It was hysterical! This fun game made them problem solve and work together. Change it up each time you play or modify it based on the age of your toddler.
Supplies needed: 2 buckets (or bins or baskets or whatever you have laying around) and ice
Cleaning Station: Fill up a cup with water and soap, grab a paint brush, sponge, or paint roller, and let your little one wash or “paint” to their heart’s desire. Darcy loves to “paint” her little plastic play house. You might even get something washed in the process! An alternative is to fill one bucket with dirt or sand and one with soapy water. Put toy cars, rocks, or anything that you don’t mind getting messy in the dirt or sand box, then your toddler can have a ball washing the objects.
Supplies needed: Some soapy water and a sponge, paint brush, or paint roller
Spray Bottle Fun: You guessed it! All your little one needs is a spray bottle full of water and the possibilities are endless. Darcy and I are working on writing her name, and this is a fun way to practice. I write the letters of her name, and she identifies the letters by spraying them. You can also try this with shapes, pictures, or colors. For example, you could draw a picture of a sun, a cloud, and a flower and then ask your toddler to spray the flower. No chalk? No problem! They can use the spray bottle to identify certain things in your yard or neighborhood. Alright honey, can you spray something red? Good job! Now, let’s spray something shaped like a square! Isn’t this so fun?!
Supplies needed: A spray bottle full of water
All my toddlers need for outdoor fun is some water, creativity, and my enthusiasm. PLUS, research shows that time outdoors promotes better sleep. (More on this later!) We usually spend our morning outside before it gets too hot, and then we take a break for lunch and a nap. Sunshine and water, followed by food, air conditioning, and their snuggly günamüna sleep bags are the ticket to great summertime naps.