Maybe you are counting down the days until school is over in excitement. Maybe you are counting down the days in terror. (WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ALL SUMMER?!) I’m a little of both to be honest, depending on the day. Either way, I’ve got you covered! I’ve compiled 30 fun ideas for you to explore with your little ones this summer.
1. Go on a Bike Ride: Or teach your child to ride. I know, this one is super scary at first. At iCan Bike programs, individuals learn to balance, pedal, steer and take off on their own, many in five days or less. Find more info HERE.We taught both of my boys using this do-hickey called a Balance Buddy. It saves your back and made the whole process ten times easier. It’s a serious game changer.
2. Michelangelo painting– Tape paper to the underside of a low kids table or chair. Kids lie on their backs to create their own masterpieces. As an added bonus: This helps strengthen fine motor skills and core muscles too.
3. Freeze tiny toys (ie dinosaurs, or other treasures) in a bucket, big bowl or bin and let kids excavate. Excavating Tools (toothbrush, squirt bottle, hammer, salt, shovel.)
4. Make your own obstacle course in the backyard. There are some great ideas HERE.And as an added bonus, you don’t even have to leave the house!
5. Paint rocks. Gather your own flat rocks while out exploring. Cool acrylic paint pens HERE. These tiny rainbow bottles are amazing too! Of course you need some fun brushes. I seriously want to start painting some NOW! You will be the coolest house on the block with these supplies.
6. Make Play Doh. Kool Aid is my favorite, and it smells amazing! Recipe: 2 ½ cups flour, ½ cup salt, 2 packets Kool Aid, 4 tsp. cream of tartar, 2 cups boiling water, 3 tbsp any oil
7. Shaving cream fight– This family had an epic one! All you need is Bathing suits, shaving cream, goggles, a sprinkler, and towels.
8. Horseback riding-“Equine Therapy” Dr. Temple Grandin says, “I wish more kids could ride horses today. People and animals are supposed to be together.” Ask Google about options in your own town.
9. Make lava lamps! This is a super cool science activity. Supplies: empty water bottle, oil, water, food coloring and alka seltzer to make bubbles. Step by step instructions HERE.
10. Movie Mornings can be a great change in your regular Summer routine. Check for sensory friendly options at your local theaters. If you have any Regal movie theaters near you, they have $1 movies. It’s a 10-week program of family-friendly movies that play at participating locations on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am. For just $1 per ticket, parents and kids are can pick between two different movies each week.
AMC kid friendly movies on Wednesday. $4 gets you a movie, and snacks.
11. Big Box Art: Save your BIG Amazon boxes and make something grand. You can make a car, a fire truck, a fort, or cut it in half and draw roads to drive cars on.
12. Make a PVC sprinkler– Great how to HERE. I’m not the crafty type, but knock yourself out.
13. Head to the Zoo– We hate crowds, so we usually go right when it opens. Visual supports make it more fun for kids with and without autism.
14. Make Sidewalk paint: Supplies: Squeeze bottles, cornstarch, water, food coloring, sponge brushes. How to HERE.
15. Go camping (even if it’s just in your back yard.) Actually, that’s pretty much the only place you will probably catch me camping for now. If you don’t have a tent or play tent- make your own fort! Grab some sleeping bags, cook outside, make a campfire, have some s’mores, put glow sticks in a mason jar for a DIY lantern, play games- you are only limited by your own imagination.
16. Have a Color coded outdoor scavenger hunt. I saw THIS on Pinterest, and thought- heck, even I can do that.
17. BOUNCE! Have everyone in the neighborhood or friend group pitch in and rent a bounce house for the day. There’s no need to wait for a birthday.
18. Kid Camps: Many churches here host a week long camp for kids. You don’t have to belong to the church to attend. If your child is in Speech, Behavioral, or Occupational Therapy- Ask your therapy places if they do any learning groups, social skills groups, or camps. If yes, enlist your friends typical kid as peer models if the facility is in need of some. Also look to your zoo, your public library and ask around for any other camp options.
19. The autism helper materials: The Summer Slide is real. My boys still receive Speech and Behavior Therapy over the Summer. We also like to throw in some fun academic activities like these into the mix. It helps ease the back to school transition and makes sure we don’t lose skills, like sitting and focusing for periods of time. Here’s the Summer Edition Adapted book. Here’s the Summer Vocabulary Mini Unit.
20. Make a themed Movie day. You can run the theme food, décor, art projects, outfits. My boys would love an UP movie day. You can make an “Our Adventure Book”, have balloons everywhere, eat balloon decorated cupcakes, have chocolate (Russell and Kevin’s FAVORITE, and mine too).
21. ORBEEZ: Put Orbeez in a water table or big plastic pool and go to town. These little suckers are slippery and messy, so they are the perfect outdoor activity.
22. Explore local playgrounds. For this one, it’s a great idea to set up a playgroup and plan in advance. Go the same day/ time each week to explore a different local playground. Bring snacks, sidewalk chalk, a bubble machine and more.
23. Pack a picnic! Sometimes it’s just more fun to eat outside. Plus, you can have the kids help prepare the food- functional skills!
24. Make something Monday. On Sunday you can go buy all your prep materials and on Monday, cook, bake, or craft your heart out.
25. Go to your local Library! They usually have kid friendly events planned all Summer. It’s air conditioned, you can go early, and you can reinforce love for reading at an early age. Don’t forget about your public library.
26. Go to a Splash or Water Park! This is one I need to enlist help on because both boys enjoy running in opposite directions.
27. Head to a Farmer’s Market. Meet Farmers, find a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, purchase healthy foods, let them practice communication skills – commenting, requesting and buying!
28. Make Butterflys This kit comes with everything you need, including caterpillars. Kids can observe the butterfly life cycle up close. Make a complete learning lesson out of it with this FREE book.
29. Mom day: Invite your friends kids over to one house, all chip in for a couple of sitters- Go do GROWN UP things. A long lunch, mani-pedi, shopping, whatever. YOU DESERVE IT.
30. Explore your hometown like a tourist. Take pictures, visit landmarks, eat at the places that tourists love, visit an amtrak station, and just have fun exploring. I prefer to do these kinds of things on NOT a weekend day, to avoid too many crowds. Love where you live (or move) has always been my motto.
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