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Welcome to Summer! Summer Camp with the Grands!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Happy June, Friends! Thanks for stopping by!

We missed you!


We stepped away from the blogging world a few days before Memorial Day

and we must admit it was time well spent!

We spent lovely days with family (always a favorite),

we’ve both begun the transition to summer mode (yippee!)

AND

together, we devoted energy to planning our summer blog posts!

We’ve got lots of Grand Activities & Adventures ahead!

Get ready for…

Beginning today we will post once each week.

on Tuesday mornings, through mid-August.

Since we know that many of our readers

care for their grandchildren (their Littles)

and we know that during the summer you may be called on more frequently,

we want to help!

Each Tuesday we’ll share a new theme that you can then explore with your Littles!

We’ll do our best to provide activities and/or adventures

that can easily be adapted to meet the varying ages, abilities and interests

of your little ones!


Our goal will be to give you a specific toolbox of ideas

that you can pull from as needed

during a given day, throughout the week or perhaps a weekend spent with your Littles!


Here’s a glance at our upcoming summer schedule:

Today’s post will help you set the tone for your summer fun!


We’re kicking things off with our introductory theme,

Welcome to Summer!

This week’s theme - Welcome to Summer!

isn’t really a theme at all!

Rather, it’s meant to help you get ready for the months ahead

by providing TONS of resources

and

LOTS of activities and adventures you can pick from

to enjoy with your Littles…

ALL SUMMER LONG!


In fact,

we suggest bookmarking this post

so that you have it available and at your finger tips all summer long,

especially during those moments when you just aren't sure what to do next!!


We all are excited to welcome summer and the more relaxed pace of life it can bring!

But, let’s face it…

the hours can seem long, especially if you are trying to keep little ones

entertained for hours on end!

As a reminder of our Grand philosophy

and how we each are approaching the summer with our own Littles,

Laurie shares the following memory:


As a teacher I was a parent who was lucky enough to have my summers off with my kids. However, being a teacher, I ALSO was a parent who was ready to plan, plan, plan for my Littles’ summer. There were art projects to do, day trips to take, academic concepts to tackle. I had quite an impressive list. As it was, we were all tired by the end of school, and June just kind of slipped by. When we entered July, I was energized and ready to read, write and explore! Even so, there always seemed to be so many “things” going on in July, and I figured I still had time to present the activities I thought my kids should be doing. Then August hit and I had to start thinking about school once again! There were meetings to attend, and lessons to plan and a room to set up. And then summer wrapped up. I panicked as I realized my Littles had NOT increased their reading levels by two+ levels. They had NOT previewed the math concepts to be introduced in their new grade. They had NOT written a complete book on their summer adventures. I. Was. A. Failure! Then I realized – my kids were happy and healthy. We had spent a lot of mornings laying around in our pajamas. We had played outside – hitting different parks and playgrounds.

They had built with Legos, played with dollies, spent a lot of time in the water, explored with friends. We read books for fun, not to increase their reading levels.

After 9 months of being on a strict schedule, my kids had learned to relax, use their imaginations and just be! If you said you were bored in MY house, I would give you a closet to clean!


The Moral of this Story…

Don’t worry about planning every minute of your Littles’ time this summer!

If you are blessed to be able to spend time with your Littles

in any capacity this summer,

above everything else, take your lead from them!


Yes, we hope to give you simple, fun activities in our weekly camp posts to try with your Littles this summer! Everyone needs structure and some of us more than others (yes, we’re singing our song)! The truth is, there is nothing wrong with that. Who knows where those planned activities can lead? Yet, at the same time, DO NOT WORRY if the art projects and activities don’t get done, or your Little simply turns them down to draw their own comic book or finish a city they have created from blocks or they take your planned project in a new and uniquely their own direction!. Take it from a pair of Type A retired teachers whose own kids are grown and off on their own… We would love to have those summers back with them – just to BE! And… .if your Littles are ever bored? Well… we’re sure there are still plenty of closets out there for them to clean! 😉 Or you can check out our list of Fun in the Sun summer activities below!

Here’s another antidote for the times when your Little(s) just don’t know what to do!


Fun in the Sun Jar!

At the beginning of the summer, create a Fun in the Sun jar, filled with general activities that you can pull from whenever needed!! Read on to learn how it works!


1. Label your jar - write “Fun in the Sun” on it!


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(s) that your Little(s) have really enjoyed or ones they think of throughout the summer months!


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!


NOTE: Be sure to let your Littles take turns being the one to pick out an activity.


Fun in the Sun Ideas!

Summertime definitely means fun in the sun! Most of these activities can be adapted for toddlers - elementary age kiddos and 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’ll begin with 3 classic ideas that we’ve added our own spin to!


😎 Play with Sidewalk Chalk!

Never underestimate the simplicity of sidewalk chalk for all ages! It’s a summer staple! You can buy it at just about any store for very little money or you can even make your own sidewalk chalk paint (Hey… that could even be its own Fun in the Sun activity slip)!


You can wet down store-bought chalk to create more vibrant colors! Just spray it with the hose! The colors “ooze” into the pavement!


You can create murals, write your names in bubble letter art or write messages for other family members!


Something that is quite popular in Laurie’s neighborhood is creating obstacle courses for everyone! Make a course on the road or sidewalk and give people of all ages who are out walking a little childhood fun. Ideas include hopscotch grids, curvy lines, straight lines, jump from circle to circle, and more!


You can make “roads” on your driveway for bikes, scooters, toy cars and new walkers!


Or you can trace each other! Such fun!

Let your imagination lead you!


😎 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!

Quiet Time Options!

If you need your Littles to rest and quiet down for a bit, here are two fun activities to try:


#1 - Using the wand in the bubble solution, have your Little take a deep breath all the way down to their tummy, and challenge them to blow slowly and steadily to create the biggest bubble they can!

#2 - Have your Little(s) stand or sit on the ground. Walk around them blowing bubbles so the bubbles fall all around and on them. Set your timer for 30 seconds - 2 minutes depending on the age of your Littles and tell them they must stay frozen in place until the timer goes off. We did this in kindergarten to teach self-control. Try it yourself! It really is harder than it sounds!


Have You Tried This?

Laurie has to admit that bubbles were not her most favorite tool when her kids were little!


I loved blowing bubbles for my immobile babies

and watching them giggle and swat at the bubbles!

But by the time they were toddlers,

I used to get slightly dizzy from blowing bubbles nonstop!

My daughter introduced me to a bubble gun and I have to tell you,

for this old grandma, it is a lifesaver!

You can buy them in all price ranges (the deluxe ones are quite expensive)

but I have been happy with this $5.00 mini one from Target.

Be prepared though - you’ll probably go through a jar of bubbles in one sitting... so make sure you have extra bottles on hand!

More Bubble Fun!

Did you know that you can make your own bubble wands! Laura reminded her daughters about the wands they’d make as Littles using pipe cleaners to make a variety of shapes!


We’d pour the bubble juice as we called it into a paper cup

and we’d have bubbles galore!

We’d also make big bubble wands from wire and we’d put the bubble juice

in a pie plate to make giant bubbles!


It’s worth it to buy the BIG jug of bubbles for this activity OR you could make your own bubble juice, too - this one uses Dawn soap and corn syrup and for older kids this one works great - the addition of glycerin (found at drug stores) makes the bubbles extra strong and fun to play with!


And here’s one more idea we’re bookmarking to add to our lists for when our own Littles are a bit older - a super easy homemade bubble maker! Just be sure to warn your Littles not to inhale or they will get a mouthful of bubbles!!


Grammy Laurie to the Rescue!

Want to impress your Middles (your own grown kids) when you are out together and you have a cranky Little on your hands? Carry a small bottle of bubbles with you (Laurie bought hers at Walgreens) and pull it out of your purse or Grammy bag. Blow away! How soothing and silly to play with those tiny bubbles while you are waiting in line or to be seated for dinner! Remember to refill it before each outing!

😎 Shadow Walking!

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!

When you get home look at the shadow photos with your Littles. Can they remember what each is? When you go for a walk the next day, see if your Little can spot what made each shadow! If you’d like, print copies of the photos (the real objects and their shadows). Then make your own picture book or turn the photos into a Memory matching game! So many possibilities!


Here’s 15 more ideas to add to our Fun in the Sun jar

!

😎 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! Toddler Tip! Your littlest Littles will love this one as you play Peek-a-Boo and spray!


😎 Run through the Sprinkler! and/or Splash in the Kiddie Pool!

Do kids these days run through the sprinkler? We think either idea would be the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day!

😎 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! 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!


😎 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!

😎 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!


😎 Create an Obstacle Course in the Backyard!

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! Check out this simple Kid’s Obstacle Course for more details!


😎 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!


😎 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!


😎 Make and Fly Paper Airplanes!

More flying fun for your 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!


😎 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!


😎 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! Little L loved painting paper on the sun porch and later she was busy painting the rocks, the leaves and the deck floor!

😎 Go on a Neighborhood Walk!

You can repeat this activity over and over again by simply changing the focus each time… In addition to the Shadow Walk described above, you can count how many houses/flags/cars/dogs/people/ you see!


😎 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 share time together!


😎 Keep Balloons in the Air!

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! Paper plates also work well as paddles for your balloons! Toddler Tip! This will be a favorite activity as your toddler tries to catch the balloon and/or kick it!


😎 Toss Water Balloons!

Here’s a final classic for you! 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!


Did you know that these days…

Sometimes we both are quite amazed

at how life seems to be so much easier these days…

We remember standing by the outdoor hose, wrapping the water balloon opening around the spigot and hoping it wouldn’t break away.

Do you remember those days?

We hope these activities keep your Fun in the Sun Jar filled all summer long!


There may be times during the summer months

when you just have to get out of the house for a bit!

Planning an occasional adventure with your Littles would be a fun way

to break up the routines of your summer days at home!


Check out our list of free/inexpensive adventures for you to consider

when you find yourselves on the go!!

Oh… and for a list of what to bring with be sure to check out our recent post,


Sometimes, there’s nothing better on a hot humid summer day

than spending a few hours in a movie theater with a bucket of popcorn!

Revisit family favorites at select locations this summer!

You can get tickets for just $3 +tax on Wednesdays or $5 +tax on Saturdays

(Check out the movie schedule by tapping the link above.)



Home Depot - Kids’ Workshops

Check out your neighborhood Home Depot for

in person workshops and virtual DIY projects - just for you and your Littles!

The in person workshops take place the 1st Saturday of every month

from 9 am - 12 noon!



Michael’s - Camp Creatology

If your school-age Littles love crafts, this might be a place to try!

Classes are designed for kids 6+ and older

and are available in-store, on-line LIVE, on demand OR, as as a self guided experience!



Outdoor Concerts

Many communities offer free weekly concerts

that are geared toward Littles!


Bring a blanket, sunscreen (if outside) and a snack

And you are all set!


When our own kids were little, we’d often go to a concert and then a playground

with a picnic lunch in between! The perfect summer outing!



Public Libraries

Many have story times, special shows and summer reading ideas

available throughout the week!

Check your local listings for more details!

NOTE: For more info about taking your Littles to the library,

take a look at our post



Berry Picking

Again, check your area for nearby pick your own berry farms.

Be sure to find out ahead of time

when berries are in season and available for picking!

When you get home, why not make jam with your Littles!

Here’s two simple recipes for you to try!



Playgrounds

You can’t go wrong with playgrounds and Littles!

Again, check out area playgrounds online before heading out.

Be sure to bring the essentials - sunscreen, sunhat, a water bottle and a snack!

We also recommend checking to see if there are bathrooms on site ahead of time…

we speak from experience!


Other Awesome Adventures to Consider…


Bowling is often reasonably priced during the daytime and a great way to beat the summer heat!


Farmer’s Markets take place in many communities and are fun to explore with your Littles... especially during those cooler summer mornings!


Church VBS (Vacation Bible School) Programs are offered throughout the summer months and provide wonderful opportunities for Littles to grow in faith in a fun setting!

Nearby Nature Centers or State Parks are worth checking out! Fun adventures await!


Finally, local Splash Pads are always favorites! Need we say more!


If you have any other ideas for adventures we could take with Littles

please share them with us all in the comments at the end of this post!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


While we don’t have a lot of current experience with this age group…

after all, it’s been many years since our own kids were at this stage of life,

we know that some of our readers may be looking for activities

for their energetic tween and/or teen grandkids!


Here are 3 ideas we’ve found that we are bookmarking!

It’s a few years away, but we’ll be ready!


From Wiki How to Do Anything

Create a course from household items!






From Fun Cheap or Free

Give your older Littles a reason to unplug by helping them find something else that gets them moving, gets them thinking, or gets them doing.











From Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Jump start your summer with these silly and crazy ideas for family fun!









Once again, we've shared A LOT of info with you

and hopefully we've given you ideas you either have forgotten about

or that are new to you!


Please keep in mind that all of the ideas shared within this post

are meant to provide inspiration and fun for you

whenever and wherever it's needed this summer!

We all feel that thrill of anticipation this time of year, no matter how long it has been since we experienced “summer vacation” first hand! Here in Minnesota, after the third snowiest winter on record, we are enjoying this thrill even more than usual!! It is a time to relax, unwind, and enjoy life's simple pleasures. Enjoy this special time with your Littles, filled with endless possibilities and unforgettable memories!

As always, we LOVE connecting with readers!

If you have any suggestions or resources to share,

please pass them on in the comments at the end of each post!


Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to our blog!

We appreciate your ongoing support!

You, too, can join our subscribers by tapping on the link.

That way, you won’t miss out when a new post is published!


While we are only publishing one blog post each week this summer,

you will still be able to find us on our Facebook page and/or our Instagram site

where we will continue to post regularly!!

And you can also find us on Pinterest where we’ve linked

many of the posts featured here!


Be sure to head back here next Tuesday, June 13, as we Go Buggy!

sharing fun and creative ideas about creepy crawlies!

We’ll see you then!



We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week:












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