Summer officially starts in less than three weeks when all my kids are home from summer. With all the kids home for the summer, I love to have a few books and activities on hand that I can grab for quick and easy things to do with the kids. I don’t always have time search Pinterest for the right idea and/or use my own imagination to come up with the a fun idea for the moment, so I like to prepare myself before summer arrives with some things that help make our summer a little more smooth and fun. First, I am sharing some of my favorite picks for must-have books to have on hand. These books are resources for parents that provide tons of activity ideas for things to do with kids:
100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids by Amanda Boyarshinov & Kim Vij
The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments: Awesome Things to Do with Your Parents, Babysitters, & Other Adults by Holly Homer, Rachel Miller, & Jamie Harrington
Goodreads’ Synopsis: These fun, accessible activities will get your kids learning about the world around them, the human body and laws of force, attraction and energy. Holly Homer and Rachel Miller are the women behind the bestselling book 101 Kids Activities That Are The Bestest, Funnest Ever! and the wildly popular site KidsActivitiesBlog.com. Make pickles glow, mix magnetic mud, build terrariums or explore centrifugal force. With these indoor and outdoor activities, everyday ingredients and tips for adjusting according to your child’s age, you’ll have hours and hours of fun, learning and discovery with your family. These engaging activities are a perfect way to spend enjoyable quality-time with your kids and to introduce them to the fun of science and discovery.
Amazon Synopsis: The toddler years are an amazing journey. These years are filled with so much growth, and believe it or not, the time goes by very quickly! The brain develops most rapidly between birth and age 5, which makes the toddler years a pivotal time in a child’s life. While it’s not necessary to do formal learning activities with your toddler, they learn an incredible amount through play activities. The Toddler Journey explores the toddler age and gives you the tools you need to make the most of the toddler years. The Toddler Journey offers parents simple toddler activities to keep them busy and learning. The book contains… • List of developmental milestones for toddlers • Hands-on activities for sensory play, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, art, and more • 100 toddler activities categorized by age groups
Goodreads’ Synopsis: Bring back playtime, all the time! Dive into a Bubbling Swamp World. Drum on an Outdoor Sound Wall. Explore the gooeyness of Glowing Slime. With the one-of-a-kind projects in “150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids,” your family will rediscover the spirit of imaginative play! These fun activities help develop your child’s creativity and skills–all without a screen in sight. Featuring step-by-step instructions and beautiful photographs, each budget-friendly project will keep your child entertained, engaged, and learning all day long. Best of all, no one will complain about turning off the TV or computer with such entertaining activities as: Natural Dye FingerpaintsTaste-Safe, Gluten-Free PlaydoughErupting Volcano Dinosaur WorldFizzy Rainbow SlushTaste-Safe Glow Water Complete with dozens of exercises for babies, toddlers, and school-aged children, “150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids” will help your family step away from your devices and step into endless afternoons of playtime fun!
Tinker Lab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley
Goodreads’ Synopsis: 55 playful experiments that encourage tinkering, curiosity, and creative thinking from the creator of Tinkerlab.com—hands-on activities that explore art, science, and more. For children two and up. Kids are natural tinkerers. They experiment, explore, test, and play, and they learn a great deal about problem-solving through questions and hands-on experiments. They don’t see lines between disciplines; rather, they notice interesting materials and ideas that are worth exploring. This book is about creative experiments, in all fields, that help kids explore the world. Children gravitate toward sensory experiences (playing with slime), figuring out how things work (taking toys apart), and testing the limits of materials (mixing a tray of paint together until it makes a solid mass of brown). They’re not limited by their imaginations, and a wooden spoon can become a magic wand as quickly as a bag of pom-poms can become a hot bowl of soup. This book is about helping parents and teachers of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers understand and tap into this natural energy with engaging, kid-tested, easy-to-implement projects that value process over product. The creative experiments shared in this book foster curiosity, promote creative and critical thinking, and encourage tinkering–mindsets that are important to children growing up in a world that values independent thinking. In addition to offering a host of activities that parents and teachers can put to use right away, this book also includes a buffet of recipes (magic potions, different kinds of play dough, silly putty, and homemade butter) and a detailed list of materials to include in the art pantry.
Not only do I like to have a few reference books on hand, I also store some toys, craft, & activities that kids can grab and do on their own. These supplies are stored where the kids can easily grab & play with them and are used daily. Most of these toys are directed for preschool-early elementary aged children, but could be used by a wide range of ages. Below is a list of my favorite items to have on hand, especially during summer:
Stickers & Reusable Sticker Pads
Magnatiles, Blocks, & Legos
Coloring Pads/Books & Crayons
Watercolor Paints & Paper
Here’s to another fun-filled busy summer!