Summer in Chicago can be a lot like winter in Chicago: you spend a lot of time indoors. Thanks to storm clouds and soupy, humid air, today was one of those days. The kids have been getting way too much screen time lately, so I brazenly banned that for the day. Oh trust me, there were several times when I regretted it, and I swear I saw the boys get the shakes here and there. Overall, though? They did really well. Note to self: bribe them to do extra chores more often.
But seriously, my one go-to activity has always been this: covering the dining table with butcher paper (we use the easel paper from IKEA), laying out some art materials, and letting the kids have at it.
It’s part laziness (all those Pinterest crafts have too many steps for me) and part personal mommy philosophy: I love the idea of an open invitation to create. The Artful Parent blog emphasizes this a lot, and her ideas are genius and so easy to implement. We had snacks with their creations still on the table–so much color!–and right now my laptop is sitting between a football game in progress on one side and an ice cream tower that stretches to outer space on the other.
I asked people on Instagram about some of their fave activities with their kids, and the suggestions were pretty awesome. So if you’re looking for easy, not-too-structured ideas this summer, here are a few to start off with:
- mommy and me yoga
- cooking or baking
- dancing to the radio
- making cars or other projects out of recycled items
- lazing at the pool
- pick-your-own fruit outings
- nerf guns using shoe boxes, balloons, cans, etc. as targets
- potato sack races
- sidewalk chalk
- sidewalk paint, either DIY or just using water
- screen-printing totes or t-shirts
- making sunprints
- water table or a big sterilite bin of water with cups
- shaving cream/spaghetti/water beads/finger painting in the tub
- water balloons
- make a light table
Personally, that last one is on my must-do list for the summer. So easy, and yet so many possibilities! What’s your go-to, low-maintenance activity that your kids love?