Friday, May 21, 2010

Creative Summer Fun

You remember what it is like. I know you have seen it. You spend all this of money on the perfect toy and your child is more interested in the box. There is a reason that the simple cardboard box is in the National Toy Hall of Fame. It opens up the world of make-believe and endless fun. The best toys for children allow them to be creative and provide opportunities for problem solving and encourage expression.

So this summer, take your kids back in time, a time before computers and video games. Here are a few “toys” that will not only keep your children engaged and allow them the opportunity to explore this summer but they are also free or inexpensive. You have got to love that.

1. Cardboard box, big (appliance, tv) or small (cereal, tissue). The ideas are limitless as to what you can do with a box. It can be a car, house, spaceship, a treasure box ….. Click here for additional ideas.
2. Bucket of ice or water. See how long it takes for the ice to melt in different locations. Paint on the sidewalk with it. Stick your hands or feet in it make prints on the sidewalk. Have a relay race moving the water from one bucket to another with a plastic cup. Make mud.
3. Paper – plain, construction, newsprint, magazines. Tear it, fold it, cut it, color it, glue it, create. 4. Crayons, markers, pens. Kids don’t have to be great artist to enjoy drawing.
5. Recycled items. Empty paper cups, lids, straws, napkins, water bottles, caps, buttons, yarn ... can be used to create collages, artwork or sculptures, can sort items by color, shape, texture….
6. Bubble wrap. Popping the bubbles is so much fun. Dip bubble wrap in paint to make creative prints. Place under paper and draw a textured picture.
7. Chairs, table and a big blanket or sheet. Create a fort in the living room.
8. Sticks. Recommended outside with adult supervision (no sword fighting), but still free fun.
9. Deck of cards. When I was a little girl would be spend days creating a house of cards not to mention all the wonderful hours of playing Go Fish.
10. Playdoh. Make your own.
11. Bubbles. Mix 1/2 cup dishwashing detergent (Joy works the best) and 2 cups water. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. For blowers use fly swatters, straws, pot lids, cut a hole in a plastic lid, hanger, pipe cleaners bent into shapes, cookie cutters...

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