Thursday, June 19, 2014

7 Quick Ideas for Summer Fun (Without Leaving the House!)

Even though it's not officially summer, it sure feels like it here in Virginia!  When you've got 4 littles and one on the way like us, you'll do whatever you can to have fun without having to load everyone into car seats or strollers...  Here are some of our favorite ways!

--1--

Grow something!


If you've got a sunny spot, plant something!  Bush beans sprout SO quickly and produce really well, and pole beans are such a blast to watch inching up those poles - they grow so fast you can practically watch them making their way up!  We like to "race" our pole beans and see which plant wins :)

Not a lot of space?  Grab some containers and plant some herbs! 


Or plant some zinnias for the butterflies to enjoy!

--2--

Too hot for outdoor play?  Cornstarch and water make an awesomely goopy mixture that won't stain clothes, and dries SUPER fast so it's easy to clean up (it doesn't get crusted on, it just turns powdery again):




--3--

Got a little space in the yard or on the deck?  A sand and water table will keep them busy for HOURS!


We have this model and it's already gotten a ton of use since it warmed up!  This picture is from last summer, and it's still going strong, although we're not adding sand this year because Mary Claire still devours dirt...

--4--

I just remembered we still have water beads sitting in the cupboard, which had been put away since the babies got mobile because it was cold and impossible to keep those things from bouncing away indoors...  But I put some in the water table for John Paul and Cecilia to play with while the babies napped and it was awesome!  You can usually find them at your local dollar store, but I think they're so fun that I bought a ton on Amazon and I have a feeling they'll last us forever...


Apparently Cecilia could be trusted not to eat them when she was not quite 2.  Mary Claire and Elizabeth are definitely not there yet!



--5--

It wouldn't be summer without the sprinkler, would it?

Cecilia's swimsuits are from Crazy 8 and Gymboree, a lot like her suit from this year, which is only $8 right now - I love how they provide a little more sun coverage and don't make her look like a little baby hoochie!
I actually like to put our sprinkler in the wading pool so that the grass doesn't get soaked, and then I use the water for the garden when the kids are all done.


We have this sprinkler, which gets terrible reviews online but works really well for my purposes - the kids are generally afraid of sprays that are too high, but you can control these so that they're pretty low, and the kids can use the individual sprayers to spray themselves/each other without too much damage because the pressure is so low.

And the pool?  K-mart.  I don't trust inflatable pools, and this hard plastic one has been doing it's $10 job since last summer!

--6--

Bubbles!


2 summers ago - how adorable are they?

Do you have a system you like?  We've had the no-spill containers and they worked for a while until the kids (well, John Paul) decided to hold them veeeery carefully upside down so that they drip out all the liquid.  Sigh.  And it's a little much for me to have to sit there holding the bubble container and monitor who gets to blow.  The whole point of these activities is so that they're playing independently!  So hit me up with your bubble recommendations!

--7--

Ladybugs!  Butterflies!

Did you know you can order live ladybugs online?  


We got some to help control garden pests last year and I think it worked?  And even if it didn't, it was SO fun!  The kids absolutely loved releasing them and having them crawl on them, and they still talk about it!

Then my mom got John Paul this Ladybug Land kit, so we got to see them grow from larvae into adult ladybugs, which was so cool!  This year I want to try the Butterfly Garden from the same company.  I remember doing that in first grade and it was awesome - I know the kids would adore it!  I bet you could even catch your own caterpillars and do it for free, although we can never find anything but those darned gypsy moths around here...

Just don't let the bugs go near a spider's web.  Lesson learned:


And yes, Cecilia still asks why the spider ate the ladybug.  Whoops.

What's on your bucket list for at-home fun this summer?  I'm always looking for more ideas!

Linking up with Kathryn for Quick Takes this week - check out more!

P.S. Amazon links are affiliate links, which means if you click them and buy anything, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you!  That way I can buy a whole lot more seeds and ladybugs and bubbles!
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