By Pam Kanaly, Crosswalk.com
As a single mom, it’s easy to get stuck in the routine of day-to-day activities. Often you don’t have the brain energy to think of inventive ideas for summertime fun. After all, you’ve just washed 10 loads of laundry, driven the kids to soccer practice for the fifth time, and saved the world.
Then let me suggest a few activities that will stimulate excitement around your household. They’re easy and best of all—most of them are FREE. Try a few and let me know how they work out. They just might turn out to be some of your kids’ favorite memories. Summer’s here. It’s easy to make it a creative one.
- Check out your community calendar. Call the Chamber of Commerce and find out the summer activities. I did that last summer and ended up at the city park listening to a fun comedian-duo passing through town.
- Make an indoor sandbox, using colored rice. Mix 4 cups of white rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring. Let dry overnight and then create.
- Read a book about totem poles. Make good use of the empty paper towel rolls and decorate with colors, paints, and construction paper.
- Tie knots. Did you know there are five different types of knots? Learn what each is for and practice them.
- Create a gratitude jar. At dinner make it a nightly routine to voice one thing you’re thankful for. Put it in the container. Memorize Psalm 106:1 – “Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good.”
- Visit your local library. I used to think that libraries only had books. But many have extensive DVD collections, story time for kids, and book clubs.
- Enroll in a sport. Joining a league gives your child the opportunity to exercise and be a part of a team. Sit in the grass. Watch the game. Make a new friend yourself.
- Listen to podcasts. Google “top fun podcasts for children.” Explore.
- Shop garage sales. Give the kids a few dollars and let them find a treasure. I did that last summer with my grandkids, and we found board games, stamp sets, and more!
- Forget cooking healthy meals and focus on the “good stuff”—occasionally. Set up an ice cream sundae buffet in the backyard. Let the kids draw a picture of their creation.
- Hike at night. With a flashlight and paper bag in hand explore the wonders of the dark and collect treasures.
- Collect bugs. Discover God’s wonder in your own backyard. A magnifying glass brings the little critters to life.
- Make sidewalk people. Lie on the sidewalk and have someone trace the body’s outline with sidewalk chalk. Then draw the face. Color in the clothes and draw crazy shoes.
- Create salad spinner art. Dab paint generously onto a piece of paper. Then quickly place it in the spinner and spin away for amazing artwork.
- Construct cardboard crafts. Put your recyclable goods to family use. Google ideas using egg cartons, bottle caps, tin cans, plastic coffee containers. What’s in the trash might be a fun keepsake.
- Play outdoor games. Enjoy the fun: Marco Polo, kick the can, hopscotch, jacks, hide ‘n’ seek, free tag, four-square, musical chairs or red light green light
- Create a chore chart. Determine household appropriate chores. Everyone gets a sticker when they’ve completed their task. At the end of the month, give them a treat.
- Initiate a stuffed animal slumber party. Gather all the dolls and stuffed animals and lay them in a row. Place a blanket over them and say goodnight.
- Plant a garden—or at least a few plants. Find a corner in your backyard (or use a container) and plant herbs or veggies. Let your kids learn about the beauty of dirt.
- Play mini-golf in your own front yard. Set up a course in your driveway or yard by laying different size containers on their sides. Golf away!
- Create with Popsicle sticks. Make forts, airplanes, puppets, flowers, birdhouses, drink coasters, fans, Christmas ornaments, or the American flag.
Moms, your children are going to be grown and gone before you know it. BUILD MEMORIES! It’s the only thing they’ll take with them that they’ll remember for a lifetime. Summer’s here. What are you waiting for?
Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in Washington, DC, and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam is a favorite in Oklahoma having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother Making a Difference. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. ariseministries.net and download the FREE Arise Ministries app.
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