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a summer fave! fun in the sun activities jar!

Monday, June 3, 2024

We are so happy to say HELLO to the month of June

and the promise of all the summer goodness to come!

We’re also thrilled to welcome YOU back to OGL, too!!

As retired kindergarten teachers, our thoughts are always bubbling over with ideas!

While summer won’t officially begin for a few weeks,

as you may have guessed, 

we are already gearing up for…


We know that many of our readers care for their grandchildren regularly

and with summer quickly approaching, 

we also know that many Grands are called on more frequently

to provide needed childcare for these special Littles!


We are excited to share our summer plans for Our Grand Lives

with you all!

Each week we’ll introduce a new theme and share 3 ideas 

for simple and easy activities that you can then explore with your Littles,

all centered around the highlighted theme!

Hopefully each will provide extra fun for your time together!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog, if you want to know our latest and greatest!

We’ll kick things off this coming Thursday (June 6)

with a special post, 

our 100th post…

While we plan to post each Thursday this summer (June - mid August),

we may also surprise you on a given Monday


These posts will highlight an activity, a recipe or an idea

- a brand new one or one we’re revisiting - 

that we know is worth sharing with you all!

Today is such a Monday!

Get ready for our very first edition of A SUMMER FAVE!

It’s the perfect antidote for the times when your Little(s)  are wondering what to do! 

Our Fun in the Sun Activities Jar, filled with GRAND summer activities

will come in so handy 

whether you care for your Littles daily, 

once in a while or during a weekend visit…

AND it can be used over and over again

or easily adapted for other purposes!

While we are certainly at the stage of life

when we look at things through the lens of a grandparent,

the info we share is also meaningful for anyone

(1) who lives, works or spends time with Littles of any age


(2) loves their family and loves making memories together!

At the beginning of the summer, create a Fun in the Sun Activities Jar, filled with general activities that you can pull from whenever it's needed!!  

1. Label your jar - write “Fun in the Sun” on it!  We used a mid-sized mason jar, wrote the words and added some simple decor to a sheet of paper that we taped around the jar to secure it in place.  

2. Cut out slips of paper OR use popsicle sticks.  Write a different Fun in the Sun idea on each slip of paper/popsicle stick.  We’ve provided a list below of some of our favorite ideas.  Feel free to use the ideas from our list that work for you and your family or come up with your own ideas!  Have a few extra blank slips available so you can add activities to the jar that your Little(s) have really enjoyed or ones they think of throughout the summer months!

A Grand Tip!

Let your older Littles, help you create these activity slips/sticks.

Together, brainstorm a list of realistic activities that they would like to do

during your time together

Depending on their age, let your Littles write out the ideas, too!

3. Keep the jar handy throughout the summer!

4. Next time you and your Littles are looking for an activity to do OR you hear that dreaded question, “What can we do NOW???” simply pick out an activity from the jar! 


☀️ The Jar’s Purpose Can Be Flexible!  

During the summer, use your Activities Jar to choose ideas geared toward Summer Fun… keep scrolling for our ideas!  These can then be used as a time filler, an extra on a rainy day or as a special treat!  Your Little will come to look forward to choosing an activity if you use the jar sparingly!  

Keep the jar and simply change the label and add different slips of paper to be used for other GRAND events like an overnight or during Spring Break.  You can also use this jar (or a similar one) as a Quiet Time Jar, filled with solitary, peaceful options as an alternative to nap time for older Littles!  


Some of the ideas in your Summer Fun Activities Jar may be a “one and done” type of activity while others can be repeated over and over again.  You and your Littles can decide if an activity is worth doing again and, if so, simply put the slip of paper/popsicle stick back in the jar - ready for another day! 

☀️ Taking Turns!

If you have more than one Little, be sure to have a system in place for taking turns when picking an activity out of the jar.  If your Littles know ahead of time what to expect and you are consistent, all will go well!.  We usually let the youngest Little choose the first time and then rotate as we go!

Summertime definitely means fun in the sun!   Many of the activities described below will sound familiar but we've thrown a few less known ideas into the mix, too. Most of the activities can be adapted for toddlers through elementary age kiddos - we even provide our Toddler Tips throughout the post! Your infant Littles will enjoy watching all the action from a sheltered, shady spot, too!  DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED and be sure to have sun hats and water bottles available, too!


We first shared our “Fun in the Sun” Activities Jar briefly

as part of our Welcome to Summer post last year.

In that post, we also go into detail about our ideas

and we highlight other summer activities and adventures, as well.

Check it out if you are interested!

And now… on to our ideas!

Get your slips of paper or popsicle sticks and markers ready and write down any of the following ideas that you think your Littles will enjoy!

Play with Sidewalk Chalk!

It’s a summer staple!  You can buy it at just about any store for very little money and it holds magic for many Littles!  You can wet down store-bought chalk to create more vibrant colors.  You can create murals, write your names in bubble letter art or write messages for other family members!  Older Littles can build obstacle courses or roads or play games like hopscotch!

Play Spray Bottle Freeze Tag!

The person who is “It” carries a spray bottle around.  If other players get sprayed with water they are frozen until someone else tags them to unfreeze them!  

A Toddler Tip!  

Your littlest Littles will love this one 

as you play Peek-a-Boo and spray!

Wash Your Toys! 

Your Littles will love giving their baby dolls a bath or sending their toy cars through the car wash!  Set up a basin of water and let your Littles take it from there!  Older Littles will enjoy washing their bikes!

Make a Foil River!

Yes, you heard us right!  Your Little engineers will have loads of fun using aluminum foil to create a river in your yard.  Then they’ll have more fun seeing what items might float down the river!  You’ll find all the details here!

Bubbles!  Bubbles!  Bubbles!

Need we say more?  Bubbles are entertaining for babies, dogs and Littles of all ages… including us Grands!.  Need to get a little energy out?  Get the bubbles out and see your Littles start to jump, dance and run!

Create an Obstacle Course!

An obstacle course for Littles does not need to be complicated!  All you need are some household items and a bit of yard space!  Things like crawling, hopping, running, balancing and jumping will provide fun challenges for your Littles! 

Need some Rainy Day funThis is it!  It’s a perfect indoor activity as your Littles plan the course, set it up and then have fun moving through it!

A Toddler Tip!  

Encourage older Littles to be a guide for younger ones!

They will love the responsibility

and it will give your littlest Littles the time needed to be successful!

Play Kickball, Croquet or Badminton!

Perhaps you have the equipment needed to play one of these classic lawn games!  Imagine how fun it would be to introduce your Littles to a game from your own childhood!

Fly a Kite!

On a windy day there’s nothing better!  You can buy an inexpensive one to fly OR your Littles can make their own!  These paper bag kites would be an easy option!

Go for a Shadow Walk!

This is an oldie but a goodie!  Did you play with your shadow when you were younger?  Shadows intrigue our Littles and taking a walk while capturing the shadows around you with your phone/camera is a fun way to spend some time!

Jump Rope!

This fairly inexpensive play and exercise tool is a classic!  You can jump on your own or take turns jumping while others turn a longer jump rope!  Check out these jump rope rhymes and chants or these jump rope games for more ideas!  

A Toddler Tip!  

Pretend that your jump rope is a snake on the ground.  

As you make it wiggle your Little will giggle in delight 

as he/she tries to catch it!

Run Through the Sprinkler! and/or Splash in the Kiddie Pool!

Do Littles these days run through the sprinkler?  How fun would it be to introduce them to one of our own favorite pastimes as Littles!  We think either of these options would be the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day!

Make & Fly Paper Airplanes!

More flying fun for your school age Littles is in store when you set out white copy paper and let them design away!  This link contains 4 awesome paper airplane designs that look amazing and fly really well!

Have a Board Game Marathon!

This is another great activity for a rainy day or when it’s just too hot to be outside!  Pick out a few favorite board games and have a marathon!  Older Littles will have fun making a chart (perhaps with brackets) to keep track of who wins what!  AND… don’t forget the power in introducing a new card game to Littles!

A Balloon Challenge!

We found pool noodles for $1.25 each at Dollar Tree and it was money well spent for hours of fun!  Blow up a few balloons and then let your Littles bat at them as you challenge them to keep a balloon (or multiple ones) in the air!  NOTE:  Paper plates also work well as paddles for your balloons! 

A Toddler Tip!  

This will be a favorite activity 

as your toddler tries to catch the balloon and/or kick it! 


ALWAYS supervise young Littles, especially when balloons are around!

ALWAYS put balloons out of reach when not in use

and if one pops, pick up the pieces right away!!

Set Up a Tent and Read Outside!

If you don’t have a tent, create a fort with a few blankets or towels and spend time reading outside!  Sharing a chapter book with your Littles over a few days would be another wonderful way to spend time together!

A Water Balloon Toss!

Here’s a classic for you and Littles, preschool and older!  Do you remember this fun way to cool down in the summer?  Players are divided into pairs with a water balloon for each pair.  Line up pairs facing each other, about a foot apart. Players take turns tossing the water balloon to their partner, who tries to catch it without breaking it.  After each successful round, players should take a step backward. The team that gets the farthest apart without breaking their balloon wins.

Here’s an easy way to set up a water balloon target practice on your driveway! Your older Littles will have fun aiming and will get some math practice in, too, as they keep track of the score!

Paint with… Water!

Your toddler Littles will especially love this one and there’s no worry of making a mess which is a huge plus!  Simply provide a bowl, a bin or a bucket of water and a few paintbrushes and let your Littles have fun!  Last year, Little L loved painting paper on the sun porch and later she was busy painting the rocks, the leaves, the deck floor and even herself!!  This year she may “paint” the garage door!

Have a Picnic!

Make a picnic lunch to enjoy outside together!  Be sure to let your Littles help plan and make your meal and then grab a blanket and head outside!

A Toddler Tip!  

To make the picnic extra special for little ones,

let them invite a special stuffed animal to the picnic!

Actually, older Littles will love this, too!

Act Out a Favorite Fairy Tale!

Older Littles will have such fun with this and you can make it a BIG production or a simple skit depending on interest and how far they want to take it!  Check out this post from last year filled with Fairy Tale Fun!  You might even want to invite mom and dad to come and watch your Littles' theatrical debut!

Well, that’s it!  That’s our list!!!

What would be on your list of FUN IN THE SUN activities to include in a jar?

We’d love to know!

Please share your ideas in the comments section at the end of this post!

As always, we post additional content on Instagram and Facebook each week

so be sure to follow us there!

You can find lots of resources (including last year’s summer themes)

 on Pinterest, too… we’ve got quite a collection of ideas available!

Don’t forget to come back this Thursday (June 6)

when we’ll kick things off with a special post, 

our 100th post…

In this post we’ll provide an overview of our upcoming themes,

and we’ll share what’s in our GRAND closets 

including some of our favorite finds!

We hope you’ll join us on our summer adventure!


Busy Monday from A Pinch of Joy

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Paula Short
Paula Short

The Fun in the Sun Activities Jar is a fantastic idea!

Thanks' bunches for sharing this awesomeness with Sweet Tea & Friend's this month.

Our Grand Lives

Thanks, Paula! The jar does work really well... it's a summer staple for us! Thanks for your support! - 💕 Laura



These are such fun and wonderful ideas! We did a similar jar like this when our girls were little. I also set up a few summer fun outdoor stations. Great post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful post at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #41.


Our Grand Lives

Thank YOU, Steph! I bet your summer outdoor stations were fun! Your kids must have loved the activities! Wishing you a great week! - 💕 Laura



Wonderful ideas! These are so clever. I like the shadow walk and the wash your toys--things I'd never thought of. The jar of ideas is a fantastic thing for summertime. Thanks for sharing this post with us at the Will Blog for Comments #40 linkup. Hope to see you at #41, too. Have a great week.

Our Grand Lives

Thanks so much, Jennifer! See you soon! - 💕 Laura



I used to do this with my girls, have a jar with fun ideas in. They loved it. I am thinking of doing an activity jar again this year for when I have a day with my girls. It doesn't matter if they are older it will add some excitement to our days.

Our Grand Lives

We agree! An activity jar is always fun, no matter the age! Have a wonderful summer with your girls! - 💕 Laura



Good morning! Love the jar idea! This week starts our summer with our grands age 14 -4 who will; be in and out and around all summer long. found you at Marsha in the Middle link party. #68 and 69. Subscribes too. Linda.

Our Grand Lives

Oh my! You are a busy Grand! I bet you have wonderful ideas for summer fun! Thanks so much for stopping by! Wishing you a wonderful summer ahead! - 💕 Laura

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