This summer my family has already engaged in lots of summertime fun.
We have gone to Valley Fair, participated in a variety of camp experiences (not all of us at once) including Girl Scout Day camp, church camp, and 4-H camp, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs at the all-popular bonfires, engaged in a variety of water play, gone to the library for summer reading and craft activities, and the summertime ball schedule is filled to the brim with baseball, softball and this year, preschool ball also, not to mention some visits to flea markets, Twins games, and other area baseball games.
Wow! That is a lot of stuff, and summer has just begun. But many of these activities have not involved breaking our family bank. The library system offers many free activities for kids of all ages.
Of course, water play can be as simple as squirt bottles, and sprinklers, and a bonfires success involves just a bag of marshmallows and some roasting sticks.
It is time for some fun in the sun, which of course, involves water, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Pails, buckets, sponges, cups, hoses, sprinklers, watering cans, balloons, pools, and lakes are some sources for summer water fun. Use your imagination and one can turn any game into a water game.
Play a version of hot potato “cold potato.” Use ice cubes and pass the ice cubes around from person to person as quickly as you can.
A version of Duck, Duck, Gray Duck (or Goose) involves a sponge and some water. Don the goose by squeezing the sponge on him or her.
Try some jump roping or hula hooping under a sprinkler. Try a team game of jump roping. With two people twirling the jump rope, hold a glass of water while jump roping. See how long you can jump rope with out emptying the water cup.
Line up some empty pop cans or empty plastic bottles, take aim and knock down with some water squirt guns, a squirt nozzle on your hose, or use an empty dish detergent bottle (filled with water, of course).
Play hide and seek with a spray bottle. As the seeker, squirt each of the hiders as you find them.
How about a game of tag with squirt bottles or squirt guns? A person is tagged when they are squirted with water.
Water balloons are always a hit. Play catch and again, see how long you can continue the game before the balloon bursts.
With a pal or sibling or mom or dad, play a game of batting the balloon. One person is the pitcher and pitches the balloon to the other, who bats the balloon with a plastic bat. You won’t hit any home runs, but you will get silly wet.
A trip to the pool is always popular. If you have at least four children, play some fun relays. Use a beach ball and play the dolphin relay. The participants swim or walk depending on their ability, pushing the beach ball with their nose to the next relay participant. Instead of beach balls, use rubber ducks or plastic boats, etc.
Play some water volleyball with a beach ball or try some basketball with a rubber ball and some plastic inflated water rings or hula hoops. Try and make a basket into the hoop or ring.
Play charades in the water. Act out some water animals. Dance to some music in the water. Have partners and dance some synchronized dance routines in the water.
Play a game of tag in the water. There are a variety of versions one can play. Colors is a popular one. Designate a color to each participant. When “it” calls a certain color, those with that color try and swim across without being tagged. Instead of designating a color, designate different water animals or different lakes, etc.
(Some sources of these activities: FamilyFun.com, www.thesource4ym.com, American Girl magazine, July/August 2009 and my own imagination and family fun)
All it takes is some imagination. Don’t forget your local library, which is a source of a lot of free activities and fun, and is also a respite from the heat.
Grab a towel or blanket, some lemonade and books, and read some books outside under a tree.
Enjoy these “lazy” days of summer with your family before the next season is upon us and we are preparing for yet another school year. Have fun!