This post is sponsored by Nestlé® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.
Summer vacation is here and we’re so excited! With all the changes this year, including our upcoming move next month, we have decided not to take our annual vacation in California. (We’re going to spend Christmas there this year instead.) That being said, I am all about making this an at-home summer staycation to remember! Are you staying home this summer? Here are some cool ideas for budget-friendly things to do with kids at home or close to it.
No pool? No problem! Do a quick Google search to determine your closest public pool, or consider a membership at a local gym or swim club. Swimming and playing games in the pool makeup so many of my own favorite childhood memories. I get so much joy in doing the same with my son and our best friends! As a special treat, make sure your freezer “Has Happy on Hand” by keeping it stocked with icy goodies. After swimming we indulged in yummy Drumstick® ice cream cones. These treats from my childhood have been updated and offer a “cookie dipped” version which is coated in cookies and has a yummy, gooey, flavored center!
Put Together a Busy Binder or “Down Time” Kit
With all the fun to be had this summer, we need to plan for some recovery time as well. When Benjamin was a toddler, I used to organize “busy binder” swaps, but you could definitely put together a fun activity notebook of your own. Here are some ideas as well as a free printable playdough mat. Have an older child? Ours loves the Summer Bridge Activities workbooks as well as practicing Minecraft Math.
Camp Out Under the Stars
Last year my son, nephew, and I spent [most of] the night sleeping on a giant trampoline in my sister’s backyard. Another year, we pitched tents in our good friend’s backyard. Camping doesn’t have to mean actually going anywhere further than your backyard. Grab those sleeping bags and get outdoors. Check out the SkyView Lite app while stargazing, to learn more about the constellations and planets above you! And, if you’ve got a fire pit, you can even make s’mores at your backyard campout which is a win-win for everyone!
Host a Scavenger Hunt
Gather the neighborhood kids and host a block-wide scavenger hunt. Here are 20 scavenger hunt printables for summer. Keep it simple with prizes or better yet, end the fun with a cold and fruity snack from Outshine® Fruit Bars!
Turn Your Backyard Into Field Day
If it’s not too hot (think: dusk), turn your backyard into a field day, with games and fun. The more the merrier, so this is a great one to invite the neighborhood kids or your family besties to. Have a hula hoop contest, race potato sacks, create an obstacle course, bob for apples, have a water balloon toss… the ideas are endless and easily adjusted for various ages. The point is to be active and have fun doing it!
Make Ice Cream Sandwiches
Sometimes summer days in the South mean rain (womp, womp!) and when we’re stuck inside I like to have a back up plan. That’s when I head to the freezer and pull out a tub of our favorite Edy’s® ice cream. Sandwich it between two cookies and a voila! A simple and yummy frozen treat that promises lots of smiles! This is a fun way to get kids involved too because building ice cream sandwiches is a simple task with big rewards. We like to mix and match ice cream flavors and cookies. Then you can take it a step further by rolling the edges in fun sprinkles, chopped nuts or colorful cereal!
Read Lots of Books
Summer is a great time to tackle that stack of unread books you’ve been hoarding. Here is my 2019 summer reading list. Many libraries have summer reading lists and programs designated for children by age. You can also check Pinterest for books by theme. Check out this incredible Summer Reading Chart from Everyday Reading.
Head to Target and Stock Up On Ice Cream
To us summer equals FUN, so one of the key things on our list is to “Have Happy on Hand”, and that means a trip the store to fill our freezer with ice cream! We found all of our favorite brands and varieties in one aisle at Target.
What are you most looking forward to doing with your kids this summer?