Summertime, the time of year every teacher looks forward to. It's a break from lesson plans, assessments, and report cards. It's a time for relaxing, playing, reading and catching up on housework. For me the best part of all is getting to stay home with my kids for almost two full months. The beginning of summer always starts off busy with 1,000 things to do. But what do you do after the novelty of being at wears off and your children are tired of the same old, same old? Here are some great ideas for fun that are both inexpensive and don't require too much advanced preparation.

Outdoor Fun

The great thing about summer is there's plenty of time and sunny weather for playing outside. If your kids need some help finding something fun to do outside, here are some fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

1) Draw/Color/Write with sidewalk chalk

2) Go to a nearby playground or if you have a play set in your backyard, that will work too.

3) Pack a picnic lunch and eat outside.

4) Plant your own flowers or vegetables. Give your plants plenty of water and sunlight and watch them grow!

5) Blow bubbles.

6) Go for a nature walk. Don't forget your camera and magnifying glass!

7) Go for a bike ride. Helmets please!

8) If you live in a neighborhood, set up a lemonade stand for those who pass by during the day.

9) Play in a sandbox.

10) Have fun with the hose. We have a slip and slide and a water table that my kids love, but a small baby pool or a sprinkler or even a big tub of water with recycled plastic bottles will do.

11) Start an outdoor compost to recycle those food scraps and lawn clippings.

12) Have a water gun or water balloon fight.

Indoor Fun

Sometimes is rainy or someone's too tired or it's just plain too hot to get outside. Here are some things you can do to keep sibling squabbles and boredom at bay.

1) Read a book.

2) Play play dough. You can make your own play dough, which is a pretty fun activity all by itself or use the stuff you can buy in cans.

3) Play hide and seek. It's really more fun if Mom joins in too.

4) Sing the "Alphabet Song."

5) Paint. You can use watercolors, poster paints, or finger paint to create different types of artwork. You can also switch out the traditional paintbrush for sponges, cut fruits and vegetables, or fingers to keep painting fresh.

6) Make your favorite cookies. Or try a new cookie recipe. Or perhaps M&M Chocolate Cookies.

7) Practice writing your ABC's in order or out of order works too.

8) Practice counting to 100.

9) Have a sing-along. You can sing songs your kids know "Old MacDonald," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and "The Wheels on the Bus" to name a few. Also, Pandora and iTunes Radio have fun free kid stations. Disney songs on Pandora is currently the Fields family favorite.

10) Go on an Alphabet Hunt around your house. Or change it up and go on a Number Hunt.

11) Write a letter to a friend or relative (grandparent's love this one).

12) Make a card for an upcoming birthday party or event. Or make some generic ones to have on hand for that birthday party that sneaks up on you.

13) Play cards. Some of our favorites are UNO (practices numbers and colors), Old Maid, War, and Go Fish. We have special decks of cards for most of our card games, but Go Fish and War can be played with a regular deck of playing cards.

14) Take pictures around the house and play photo hunt. This can be as simple as taking pictures or as structured as having your child find something in the house that starts with a specific letter.

15) Recycle things around the house and turn them into a craft (ex: old Popsicle sticks can become a picture frame or egg cartons can become caterpillars)

16) Color in a coloring book.

17) Get ready for the the next school year with some workbook practice. My son is currently working on the Summer Bridge Workbook from PreK to Kindergarten.

Summer Bridge Activities™, Grades PK - K
Summer Bridge Activities

18) Make a sight word wall and practice commonly used sight words.

19) Set up a recycling space in your house and get your kiddos involved in recycling plastic and cans.

20) Make popsicles (post coming soon).

21) Play pretend and use old Halloween costumes to dress up.

22) Make some refreshing lemonade.

23) Play a board game. (Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and Don't Break the Ice are our favorites.)

24) Build a Rainy Day Fort.

25) Build with Legos or blocks. One of my son's current favorites is building with blocks and his train set to create special tracks for his hot wheels cars.

26) Make up a story, my son especially likes to do this. The story usually begins with Sir/Prince _____ riding through the forest on his faithful steed. Normally he encounters some sort of dragon or witch he must defeat. What can I say he's a boy.

27) Make your own picture book (post coming soon).

28) Draw a picture.

29) Organize old toys to sell or donate. This might be a tough one depending on the age and temperament of your child/children.

30) Make a delicious smoothie.

31) Practice your patterning skills using things around the house. You can use just about anything for this crayons, lids, food, Legos, the list could really go on and on. Any old pattern will do as long as it repeats.

32) Make an American Flag to celebrate the 4th of July.

Take a Trip

Summer is also the perfect time to take a trip. Now, taking a trip doesn't have to be anything as big and crazy as a vacation (or it can be). Taking a trip can be as simple as going to get an ice cream cone.

1) Get an ice cream cone. This can be something as simple as trading in your unopened Chick-fil-a toy for an ice cream cone. However, we are lucky enough to be in walking distance to a local soft serve ice cream place. I choose to think walking will burn off all of the calories I will consume while eating ice cream. Plus it makes my almost 5 year old burn off some of his energy on the way home.

2) Visit your local library. I can't tell you enough how important and awesome visiting your library can be. It's also completely free! Unless you forget to return your books on time like me. Not only can your child pick out books and educational DVDs, usually libraries offer story times for small children with fun and free crafts.

3) Visit a local museum.

4) Visit the zoo. My son is already excited about going to the zoo this summer. Animals of every shape and size, what's not to like. I think we might steer clear of the reptile house though.

5) Go on a family vacation. Summer is the perfect time for vacationing if your children are in school.

6) Go to a local park. Ride your bike, go on a nature walk, have picnic lunch. Need I say more?