Coming up with fun activities to keep your children busy on the homestead during the summer without going broke can be quite a task. You don’t have to stock up on expensive toys or resign yourself to a summer of endless video games, though. There are plenty of fun, outdoor activities you can do around your homestead and that you can organize on the cheap.
Soap Boat Races
To make your soap boat course all you need is a rain gutter and garden hose at one end of it. Your soap boats, as you can probably guess, are made out of a bar of soap with a toothpick for the mast with a piece of fabric glued to the toothpick for the sail. Turn on the hose and it’s off to the races!
It’s so easy to make and the kids will spend hours chasing after them to do it all over again.
Gunny Sack Races
Invite the neighborhood kids over to join in an old fashioned gunny sack race. You can, of course, substitute gunny sack with pillow cases, if you don’t mind a little bit of grass stains. Have everyone put their feet inside the sack and on your go, hop to the end of the course. Whoever gets their first wins!
Homemade Slip & Slide
Take a large tarp or two smaller ones and lay them end to end, securing with tent stakes pounded all the way into the ground. For extra protection you can cover the tent stakes with sand, dirt or even a towel.
Saturate the length of the tarps with water from a garden hose. Let the hose continue to run along the beginning of the slide. To make it extra slippery add some tear-free baby shampoo down the sliding area and spray with water. You may have to add more shampoo now and then to keep it slipping and sliding.
This game is fun for older children since it is played in the dark. It’s a combination of tag and hide and seek. The seeker has the flashlight and counts to 50 while the other players hide.
The object of the game is to have the seeker find one of the other players and when the light is shined on them then they become the seeker. The only rule is that the seeker must keep the flashlight on at all times while he is seeking out the other players. It becomes a continuous cycle.
Another fun tag game that’s suitable for all ages is the game of freeze tag. In this variation, the person who’s “it” has to tag all of the other players and the last person tagged becomes “it”. Once a player is tagged they have to freeze in the spot where they were tagged. They can be rescued by another player who has not yet been tagged by touching the frozen person and they can continue playing. A good variation for older children is to have them run through the frozen person’s legs rather than just touching them.
This one is pretty simple. Just hook up your favorite yard sprinkler up to a hose, turn it on, then try out your best gymnastics moves and try not to (or try to) get hit by the sprinkler! Some good moves to try:
- Handstand/Walking on your hands
- Tuck Jump
- Straddle Jump
- Pike Jump
- Star Jump
- Headstand (try and keep your focus even when the sprinkler hits you!)
Activities to Get the Creative Juices Flowing
Worried that a whole summer out of school – and doing little more than sitting in front of the television – is turning their young brains to mush? Time to come up with some crafty activities to help stimulate their creative genius. Not only will it help keep their minds active, but creative activities will keep everyone from falling victim to the most dreaded of summertime troubles: boredom.
Life Size Portraits
You can do this in a couple different ways:
- Get large pieces or rolls of paper from the craft store that you can lay out on a flat surface. Have your child lie down on the paper with his arms just a little apart from his body so you can outline his whole body with a marker. After you’ve outlined him let him fill in the details of hair, clothes and facial features with crayons or colored markers.
After he’s all done working on the project, help him to write his name on it and hang it on his bedroom wall. Your child will love to have his own artwork where he can admire it and show it off to his friends.
- Get a tub of sidewalk chalk. Sweep off a space on a patio or driveway where it’s safe for your child to play. Have him lie down on the cement in such a way that you get a chalk outline of his entire body. Then let him work on adding details. You can assist with picking out colors to help him learn those as well. Or make this fun and different by allowing him to make himself into a funny monster or other creature.
Pasta Bead Necklaces
You could make this a little less messy by preparing the pasta bead ahead of time. Then you could just allow the kids to have fun making the necklaces, rather than messes.
Items you’ll need per color:
- 3 tbsps. white vinegar
- 3 drops of food coloring
- 1 cup Ditalini pasta (macaroni salad type)
- Sandwich size plastic bags
- Tin foil sheets
Place the white vinegar and food coloring in a sandwich-size bag to combine. Then add pasta, gently mixing and shaking the bag to coat well. Dump out the liquid and place on a sheet of tin foil to dry overnight.
You will want to make at least 3 colors of pasta beads but you can make as many as you want. The more colors you create, the more combinations the kids will be able to make.
Once you’re ready to have the kids start making the necklaces, cut a piece of string long enough to easily fit over their heads once it’s tied. Thread the string through a cotton ball on one end to keep the beads from sliding off as the children string the necklace. You can then let them get to work.
This might be an all-time favorite for the kids because when they’re done they can eat it. You need any type of candy with holes that your children like to eat and elastic string (you can get this at the fabric or craft store). Lifesavers, Twizzlers (cut into smaller pieces), and candy beads are all good choices. Follow the same instructions as above for stringing your bracelet. The kids will love it!
I hope you enjoyed these budget friendly, fun backyard homestead activities to enjoy this summer, Make sure you come on back and tell us which ones you have tried.
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