This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Summer has been a relaxing escape from schedules and places-to-be; some days we play and act silly and make living-room tents, and other days I run errands and fold laundry and the kids collapse from “errand exhaustion” and have a Rescue Bots marathon. Mine (3 and 5) aren’t involved in any sports, camps or VBS this year, and most days I’m okay with that. Although, the moments when boredom sweeps over the house and my kids begin wailing as though beset with an incurable illness, summer can feel more like a dystopian novel. But the days when everything runs smoothly and transitions are seamless, I think this is what summer is all about.
Surviving Summer or Savoring Summer?
These highs and lows got me thinking about what was making the difference between our summertime together being enjoyable or agonizing, and the answer was twofold:
- My attitude toward my children’s needs and interruptions
- Providing fun, simple, low-maintenance activities for my kids
- Choosing easy, no-mess snacks
Simple and low-maintenance is key for me. Kids are exhausting. I’ve learned the hard way that something like a slip n’ slide may give them an hour of fun, but it also leaves me with an hour of clean up. Know your limits. I created a list of easy activities that don’t create overwhelm, you can find it at the end of this post.
Simple, Easy Snacking with Peaceful Fruits
Even snack time can be something that provides respite, if you choose well. For everything there is a season, right? There is a time for messy food but when the kids are hard at play, I like snacks that don’t require wiping sticky hands or sweeping up a pile of crumbs. If it happens to be something I can also pack in a bag for on-the-go, it’s a double win!
This summer the kids and I discovered Peaceful Fruits organic fruit strips. These are that double win. Totally transportable, no added sugar, and mess-free! Our favorite flavors were apple + açaÍ drizzle, peach + açaÍ drizzle, mango, and strawberry + açaÍ drizzle. Nora and Caleb kept asking for another one and they loved the brightly colored packaging. *Get a discount on your first order at the end of this post*
These fruit strips are 100% real fruit so they also make a great addition to more “grown up” snacks like a cheese board. The mango, strawberry and peach flavors paired nicely with brie cheese and crackers. I had fun cutting them into different shapes and I love how much interest it added to my cheese board!
*Tip* Brie is naturally a soft cheese, so to cut it neatly, pop it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then slice, assemble on crackers, top with fruit strips, and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes for optimum creaminess.
I think kids enjoy feeling grown up as much as we enjoy being a kid again sometimes. Caleb loved trying the cheese and crackers and made this funny little approving foodie comment about the “white cream” being a little bit sweet. I taught you well, kid.
Simple, Easy Playtime
I was recently transported back to childhood when Nora had the idea to divide up our alphabet flash cards and asked if we would all act out what was on each card. We took turns flipping over a card and then everyone did their own rendition of whatever was pictured (“R” for robot, “Q” for queen). There were no winners or losers, just lots of giggles.
One of my favorite things about this summer has been the slow, simple moments where imagination is the primary thing fueling the fun. That is when you really “see” your children and appreciate their adventure and innocence for the rare treasure that it is in this world.
Hopefully this list ↓ of outdoor and indoor activities will help you realize that summer doesn’t have to be complicated or exhausting. You can keep it simple and still have a lot of fun!
Easy Inside Ideas
- Blanket fort
- Mega Bloks or Duplo Bricks
- Make your own pizza (I buy pre-made pizza dough, kids just flatten it and add toppings)
- Kids gymnasium (find one in your city)
- Pet store (it’s free! and the kids love looking at the animals)
- Book store or library (get the schedule for story time and puppet shows)
- Listen to audio books (the library is also great for these)
- Children’s museum (don’t pressure yourself to stay as long as possible, sometimes “getting your money’s worth” actually means staying so long you regret the whole trip)
- Chuck E. Cheese ($5 in tokens will keep the little ones busy for awhile on rides, and they have a free playground for toddlers)
- Make your own smoothie (let them fill the blender with their own combination of frozen fruit)
- Make tissue paper sun-catchers
- Alphabet flash cards charades (as I described above)
- Gather them up for a round of “would you rather?”
- A proper cafe date (momma gets coffee, kids get a cake-pop or something else fancy and “grown up” feeling)
- Mail a summer fun package to a little friend! (include a lightweight, shelf-stable snack like Peaceful Fruits [my nephew and sister loved them], stickers, coloring pages, etc)
Easy Outside Ideas
- Eat Popsicles in swimming suits, then hose off
- Set out a bucket of ice and some beach toys (optional: freeze small toys in some ice cubes)
- Throw water balloons
- Go on a picnic
- Eat giant slices of watermelon
- Visit the Farmer’s market, pull the kids in a wagon
- Visit a Splash pad
- Throw Pop-Its on the driveway
- Sidewalk chalk
- Splash in rainy day puddles (I recommend wearing rain boots)
- Blow bubbles or try Bubble Painting!
- Find a shady spot and read on a blanket
- Create a fairy garden
- Make ice cream in a bag
- Play Action Hopscotch
- Go for a scenic drive with the windows down, music turned up, and a car-friendly snack like Peaceful Fruits!
Until August 1, 2018 get 15% off your first order of Peaceful Fruits with code “readcookdevour” !
What are your favorite simplicities of summer?
(Photograph of Nora blowing bubbles was taken by Carissa Fassnacht)