by Jenifer Truitt, Executive Director Ziglar Family
Finding fun summer activities for kids is a hot topic (excuse the pun) this time of year, and a quick Google search will bring up all kinds of ideas to keep our little ones busy and un-bored. In fact, last summer our Ziglar Family CEO, Mark Timm, shared a bit of a ‘bucket list’ that he and his family enjoy completing. (Check it out here)
But what about when the heat index is over 100 degrees? (I’m looking at you, Alabama weather). Or when it seems Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about sunny summer days, and you feel like maybe you should channel your inner Noah and build an ark?
Don’t resort to electronic vegging out on days like that! They’re actually the perfect opportunity to encourage fired-up imaginations.
In recognition of those not-so-perfect summer days, here are some technology-free ways to make the most of INDOOR fun that will keep the kids happy and keep you, the in-charge adult, sane.
By the way, once you suggest these ideas and provide the materials needed to implement them, step aside. Kids’ imaginations can come up with even better ideas than we can, so let them take an idea and run with it!
5 Indoor Fun Activities for Kids of All Ages
1. Bust out the sheets and blankets and turn the living room into a giant fort. Admit it: you did this as a kid, and you loved it, right? My brother and I would make elaborate passageways leading into different “chambers,” all accessed by crawling around the maze of blanket forts we set up. We’d feast on PB&J picnics, somehow made all the more exotic by the location, and if we were REALLY lucky, Mom might even let us spend the night in our magical kingdom!
A close second on the fun meter for us was when we used beach towels as boats, sofa cushions as islands, and the carpet was actually an ocean, infested with sharks who were ready to devour you if so much as a toe should accidentally dip into the shag! (Every now and then the carpet was hot lava; I guess it depended on our mood!)
2. Mission Impossible Agent Training is a whole lot of physical fun. Picture Tom Cruise slithering around on the floor avoiding the laser security beams criss-crossing the room… or the Oceans 11 guy doing his laser dance. (It’s kid-safe; check it out here!) To recreate this at home, you just need a skein of red yarn, and string it into a maze that ends up looking something like this:
You could even have older kids create the maze themselves. The object is to cross the room without touching the “laser beams” and the kids can come up with the contest rules, prizes, etc.
3. Painting and hiding rocks for others to discover is a growing trend right now. The down side of this activity is you’ll need to be outside at some point to collect rocks worth painting, and then again to hide them around your neighborhood, or on the hiking trail, etc. So plan ahead on a nice day and do your gathering, then seize the next nice day after painting to be sneaky rock hiders! I’ve seen cute ones with inspirational words painted on them (hope, love, dream) and I’ve seen silly faces… anything works, and everything makes the finder smile!
Two pointers: First, don’t hide them like Easter eggs… people aren’t necessarily “hunting” for them, so you want to put them in places they can be found accidentally. And two, don’t show the kids examples of the incredible art you’ll find in online pictures of painted rocks; they’ll feel defeated before they ever start! (Here’s what I mean.)
4. Hold a “Mom & Dad’s Closet” fashion show. And don’t make any rules that boys and girls have to stick to the right side of the closet! I laughed until I cried when I played this game with some kids I was babysitting for as a teenager (yes, I had the parents’ permission!) and the boys decided to rock Mama’s high heels and Daddy’s cycling jersey and shorts at the same time! If you let them play with old makeup, that usually ups the fun factor. Or to make it even more competitive, take pictures, and text them to someone impartial, like Grandma 😜, to judge the fashion icon winner.
5. Make a “Story of My Life” photo-album. It’s inexpensive to print out photos, yet so many of us just leave them in our phones or store them on a hard drive where our kids never get a chance to see them. I remember sitting for hours as a kid poring through photo albums of my baby pictures; they told the story of my life that I didn’t personally remember.
Why not take the time one weekend to upload and print a bunch of photos from every year of your children’s lives, then buy a couple of inexpensive photo albums and let them create their own life stories. If they’re old enough, encourage them to write descriptions with each picture, including their age, the location, what was happening, etc. This project could be ongoing for almost the whole summer, depending on how many wicked hot or rainy days you have !
I hope whatever it is you do this summer, indoors or outdoors, that you are able to make memories and enjoy one another’s company. That’s definitely what it’s all about!
Do you have some great ideas for when the weather’s not so great? Share them below!