With some extra time at home these days, we thought we would re-share “Miss Dawn’s Cool Things To Do” list to help inspire activities to keep your children exploring, creating, and having fun! From shadow puppet shows, to stone painting, to flipping a coin at each corner of your neighborhood walk to see where you end up- there are plenty of activities to keep the children engaged with healthy activity! These ideas can continue to be enjoyed all summer long!

For the youngest children

  • Give your child a collection of interesting items on a tray for them to play “laboratory or apothecary”. These items can include funnels, bottles, corks, tubes, rubber bands, dropper bottles, tweezers, tongs, goggles, kitchen gloves, etc.
  • Set your child up at the kitchen sink with warm bubbly water and simple kitchen items such as funnels, a whisk, cups, small pitchers, a sieve, even marbles and sponges, etc. Most children will play at this for a long time!
  • Make aftercare nachos by heating ½ can refried beans, ¼ cup water, ½ lb shredded cheese (do not use preshredded cheese as it does not melt properly) and 1 cup 505 brand green chile sauce (salsa can be substituted) in a crockpot or a saucepan on the stove. Heat and stir until creamy. Serve with corn chips!
  • Make shadow puppets. Cut simple people and animals out of paper and tape them to sticks. Set up a flash light in a dark room and make a play with your shadow puppets.
  • Have your child collect 612 of their small items. Have them hide in their room while you hide the items. (remember where you hid them!) Give your child a flashlight, magnifying glass and/or a hat. They get to be the detective to find the items! Maybe even leave clues behind like a moved chair or a turned up corner of the rug!
  • Go for a walk and bring two bags. In each bag put identical leaves. Choose ones with different shapes and textures. After returning home your child can play a game where they choose a leaf from bag #1 and using only their hands they have to find the same leaf out of bag #2. No peeking!
  • Birds are making nests this time of year. Give them nesting material by brushing your cat or dog. Put the hair outside in the trees and then watch for the birds to come take it away!
  • Go for a walk together. Take a quarter and when you come to the end of a block or to an intersection flip the quarter. Heads you turn right and tails you turn left. Where will you end up?

For the oldest children

  • Build a house of cards. See how high you can build it before it falls down!
  • Make a puzzle. Take a magazine page and paste it evenly to a piece of thin cardboard such as a cereal box. Cut it into interesting and odd shapes. Give it to a sibling to solve or mail it to a friend!
  • Make a sugar scrub to soften hands and feet by mixing 1 cup granulated sugar with ½ cup melted coconut oil. Add 1215 drops of your favorite essential oil or 1 tsp vanilla extract for a scented version!
  • Make aftercare nachos by heating ½ can refried beans, ¼ cup water, ½ lb shredded cheese (do not use preshredded cheese as it does not melt properly) and 1 cup 505 brand green chile sauce (salsa can be substituted) in a crockpot or a saucepan on the stove. Heat and stir until creamy. Serve with corn chips!
  • Find stones about the size of your palm. Paint them with kind words and images. Leave them around your neighborhood for your neighbors to find!
  • Use sticks or Qtips and paint to make a “dot” painting. This can also be done with paper dots made from a paper punch and colored paper.
  • Take apart a paper bag and put it back together. Take apart an envelope, make a duplicate and put them both together. Move onto harder things to take apart and put back together such as a ball point pen, a picture frame or a broken lamp (with parent’s approval of course!)
  • Start a family history book. Include personal stories of all your relatives, pictures, favorite foods, places they’ve visited and lived, pets they’ve had, etc.
  • Make your own Mad Libs. Write a descriptive short story or interview and leave certain adjectives, adverbs, nouns, numbers, names and verbs out of the story with a place to write it in. Call a friend on the phone and do Mad Libs with them.
  • Make shadow puppets. Cut simple people and animals out of paper and tape them to sticks. Set up a flash light in a dark room and make a play with your shadow puppets.
  • With permission hide something that belongs to a sibling and give them a treasure map or set up a series of clues for them to solve to find their missing item.
  • Go for a walk and bring a bag to pick up trash during your walk.
  • Toothpick architecture. Use toothpicks and play dough or clay (to fasten the ends together) to build a house, a neighborhood, a city, a bridge, etc.
  • Use books or boxes on a table to set up a table hockey court. Leave a “goal” open at each end. Use a waded up piece of paper as the puck and your hands to hit the puck across the table into your opponent’s goal.
  • Use yarn to wind around table legs and door knobs. Fill a portion of the room with yarn pulled taut. Pretend you are a cat burglar and you have to get through the invisible security to the other side of the room. Climb under, over, around, but don’t touch the yarn or you’ll have to start over!
  • Make a house rule for the day.This is a fun family activity that can go all day or just for an hour. Make up rules such as: Always enter the kitchen hopping on one foot, Say the entire alphabet before sitting down, snap your fingers every time your name is said, count backwards from 10 each time you pass a mirror, run outside and then back in every time the phone rings. Make your own funny rules to follow!
  • Learn how to make pancakes! On Saturday make your parents breakfast in bed!
  • Birds are making nests this time of year. Give them nesting material by brushing your cat or dog. Put the hair outside in the trees and then watch for the birds to come take it away!
  • Fill a balloon with flour or sand or rice. Tie off the balloon and now you have your own squishy ball. Make an extra for your parents to play with when they are on their Zoom meetings!
  • Watch for Bee swarms, cocoons and owl pellets around. I have tiny Eastern Screech Owls living in the trees outside my house. I’ve been watching for owl pellets to dissect!
  • Buy or make postcards. Send jokes to your friends.
  • Record yourself reading stories. Send them off to younger cousins so they can hear you read to them. Better yet call them up on the phone and read to them live.
  • Wash your parents car with a bucket and a big sponge and a hose to rinse at the end!
  • Make a papermache globe with a balloon and paint the continents on it.
  • Get good at skipping rocks on the water.
  • Have a family talent show.
  • Whittle
  • Set up a domino track. See how complicated you can make it with different levels.
  • Make a maze.
  • Write and illustrate a comic strip.
  • Learn to make balloon animals.
  • Reproduce a work of art using only trashplastic bags, bottle caps, twist ties, plastic containers, etc.
  • Make a flip book.
  • Learn how to say hello in 10 different languages