We are halfway through summer (yikes!), and, if you are like me, you are starting to hit the bottom of your “keep kids busy” idea bin. Our block-leave trip has come and gone, and, in true Army fashion, my husband has headed out to the field for a couple weeks. I have a five-year-old, three-year-old, and a five-month-old, and the endless summer days can be LONG. So here are several ideas that hopefully get you at least a few more chances to drink your coffee (or wine – no judgment!) without being uninterrupted while creating new memories with your military kiddos.
Magna Tiles on the Garage Door
This one is great for a rainy day! My kids love Magna Tiles, and the discovery of how they will stick to the garage door was like opening a whole new world for them. They spend at least half an hour putting them on the door and figuring out patterns to make. I also searched Pinterest for fun patterns and had them recreate those. When it is time to clean up, assign each kid a color to take down and put away.
Pro Tip…don’t let your spouse come home unannounced from the field and create panic when he opens the garage door and starts a rainfall of Magna Tiles. Whoops!
There are countless recipes for this on the internet, but I prefer 2 parts water to 1 part bubble bath. I mix the solution in a big bowl with a hand mixer until it creates stiff peaks. You can also add in a couple drops of food dye for coloring. I fill our water play table with it, but you can also put it in buckets or in an underbed storage bin.
PCS Tip! This can also be done in a bathtub if you find yourself in a hotel room or empty house for an extended period of time.
Water Balloon Piñatas
Whoever created Bunch O Balloons, (self-tying water balloons), is an absolute genius. I am not sad as a parent that I will be missing out on painstakingly filling water balloons one-at-a-time with a hose or in the sink.
To make use of these awesome Bunch O Balloons, set up a water balloon piñata station. First, tie a string up as you would a clothes line. Next, fill the water balloons, and then tie individual balloons on the clothesline. Hint: I cut smaller pieces of string and tie the balloons on one by one, with enough room in between each to prevent them hitting two at once. Give your kids a bat or a stick, and let them go to town! This activity is especially great when your kids are as little as mine, as they struggle to hit the balloons and are kept busy for longer!
Creative Craft Bin
I love to go to the dollar store and load up on craft supplies (popsicle sticks, pom poms, pipe cleaners, glue, etc.) and let my kids go to town. I put all of the supplies in a bin and set it outside in the grass; that way, I don’t have to do any clean-up when they are done! For rainy days, I keep disposable tablecloths handy to help with indoor clean-up.
Pro Tip: I make sure I have a USPS flat-rate box handy so that I can mail what they make to grandparents…win win!"We are halfway through summer (yikes!), and, if you are like me, you are starting to hit the bottom of your “keep kids busy” idea bin…here are several ideas that hopefully get you at least a few more chances to drink your coffee (or wine – no… Click To Tweet
PCSing? Here are a few more ideas that work perfectly to get through the dreaded extended-hotel or empty-house stay!
PlayTape Indoor Car Track
Are your traveling kids missing their play rooms? This road tape can be used in an Airbnb or in a hotel to give them space for their imaginations to roam. We have even used it on wood floors, and it comes off no problem. It’s the perfect size for Hot Wheels cars.
One of our favorite PCS traditions is creating a slide on the stairs with all of those moving boxes. The kids have a blast going up and down…and we get a little more time to unpack!
Rescue the Toys
Find a container and some small toys, fill the containers with water, and drop the small toys in. Place the containers in the freezer to create toys stuck in ice. Once frozen solid, give the kids some warm water and salt, and let them work on “rescuing” the frozen toys! This superhero work can be done in a bathtub or outside to “contain” the fun.
PCS Tip! If you are in a hotel room with a freezer, be sure to make sure the container fits in the freezer before filling it up.
Already blasted your way through all of these ideas? When all else fails…go buy a bubble machine.
I hope this adds a few more ideas to your imagination bucket and helps you create more summer memories to treasure with your kiddos. Have another idea you KNOW other military families could use? Please leave a comment below with your favorite summer activities or PCS traditions. Let’s help our community and keep this list going!