Kids Summer Activities on a Budget. Ideas for Hot and Cold Weather!

13th April 2014

Summer’s fast approaching, so I wanted to try and be a bit more organised this year, especially as my son’s now a year older and more hyper!

I found the summer holidays quite challenging last year due to the sheer heat, and because I cannot stand the huge crowds and swarms of older children at all the places we like to go. I know I need to start getting used to it before he goes to school, but whilst he’s still a toddler, I’ll take the quieter/cheaper options while I still can!

Last year I failed to plan ahead, so would panic about finding ways to entertain my boy, and now he’s more mobile and interested in lots of things, I need to find activities for both the hot parts of summer, and the notoriously colder parts of the summer months.

Warm Days

Sun factor’s the most important thing to plan, especially as my son has sensitive skin due to his eczema. I don’t like using products with harmful additives in them since learning more about what they can do which I wrote about not too long ago. I managed to find additive-free shampoo, and the same people (Green People) have now made a sun lotion.

The Green People Organic Children Sun Lotion is SPF 25 and is designed specifically for sensitive skin, and when my son tried it there was no eczema flare up. What I love most is that there is no nasty smell to it, which I find most sun lotions have, and it strangely doesn’t smell of anything at all.

Due to my light brown skin, I hate wearing sun lotion as it’s very obvious when I wear it- all you see is a white tinge to my skin, but when I tried this out I noticed it doesn’t leave any marks or tinges. So it won’t just be him using this cream this summer!

So with the lotion sorted, my plan is to spend lots of time outside doing what he loves the most: Bug hunting and playing with water.

I bought my son and nephew a magnifying glass each from the Pound Shop recently, and they love looking in Nanny’s garden for worms, spiders and ladybirds. A lot of the time we find mainly ants and woodlice, but they still enjoy trying to catch them and fling them my way (ending in me screaming like a baby and doing some mummy flapping).

Now that Nanny has moved less than a minute from the beach, we are going to be going there too with our magnifying glasses and buckets, so we can go crabbing and hunt for algae and anything else that rocks up to shore.

I’m also planning on getting a little paddling pool to help keep them cool, and last year I bought a really cool little frog tent that has a UV shade on the top. Inside that, I can put cushions, so they can sit in there and read or do some colouring.

To keep the boys hydrated, I plan to make them refreshing and healthy slush puppies with the Chill Factor Slushy Maker I’ve recently been given.

It’s really easy to do (which is vital for Ms Impractical here) because all you do is bung the cup in the freezer for a few hours, and once it’s frozen you then add the juice you want to use, squeeze the cup for one minute and hey presto!

I tried it with some grape juice the other day, and the boy loved it! I plan to use squashes, blended fruit and even some milkshake recipes as it’s going to be a fun way to keep the boys hydrated. I may even treat myself to the odd strawberry daiquiri when he’s in bed!

I’ve also bought some lolly moulds and have been practising using yogurts and fruit smoothies.

Some yogurts are lovely, but others are too strong, so watering them down with milk can be helpful.

To look more exciting, I put two different flavoured yogurts in each section, and it also meant halfway through the lolly they got a new flavour to enjoy.

Cold or Unbearably Hot Days

When we have our usual ‘British Summer’ days (aka cold and rainy) or there are those heatwaves where you are so hot you sit around in your underwear and get stuck to your leather sofa (it hurts…a lot) then keeping the little one occupied can be quite difficult.

The Weekend Box Club is a very clever company I recently came across, and they kindly sent me one of their boxes to see how they work.

Your child gets sent a box that contains 4 activities: something to make, cook, read/write and something green (e.g. healthy/recycled).

The activities come in a gorgeous little box, and they each come in little bags which helps ensure you don’t mix up all of the instructions and equipment.

There’s even a cute little certificate you fill out once they have completed all four activities, and stickers that get put onto a reward card, which is then used to get a surprise added to the next box you order.

We got spinach pancakes, which I plan to make for a lunch this week, a fun ‘guess the sounds’ game which includes balloons and an animal card to fill in, a chick to make (doing this for Easter) and a pot of gold game.

My son enjoyed the pot of gold game, because he loved the little coins and pipe cleaners. I put the pipe cleaners into a cup (like a rainbow) and we had to throw the coins into the cup.

He didn’t understand why he had to sit far back from the cup, so preferred placing the coins into the cup, but he enjoyed watching me fail at throwing them into it.

This game kept us entertained for quite a while, and then we looked at things we could make with the pipe cleaners (worms and snakes), before Chunk wanted to put the coins in his toy till. So that was quite a good activity, and I’m looking forward to trying the others out on the next indoor day. I love the idea behind these boxes, and they only cost £7.50 each (with free delivery).

Puzzle Fun

Another great little game I’ve been sent recently is a floor puzzle, aimed at children from the age of 2. My son has been playing with puzzles for a while now (the ones with the little gripper handles) but we have never attempted the large floor puzzles, so I didn’t know what to expect.

We got the In The Night Garden My First Floor Puzzle and he was very excited that it featured characters from one of his favourite programmes (Makka Pakka rules!).

At first he didn’t know what he was supposed to do, and spent time just throwing the pieces around, until I found a way to engage him. I started making the puzzle, and pointed out things I needed him to find (e.g. “Can you find Makka Pakka’s tummy?”).

He loved looking for the different body parts of each character, and pretty quickly he began to slot the pieces together himself. Once he had put the final piece in, he looked so proud of himself and I gave him a big clap! We then looked at the picture and he hunted for each character that I would talk about.

We then took it apart and did it again. Since then, it has become a toy that he wants to do at least three times a day, so I definitely need to look at getting some other floor puzzles to give him a bit more variety.

Thankfully the puzzles seem to be quite a bargain, with this one being on Amazon at the moment for around £6 including delivery.

The fact that it has helped him to improve his observation and matching skills, and it’s taught him how to slot puzzle pieces together is enough to know that it was worth getting. It’s also amazing how long he can stay engaged with doing this activity, so I’m very pleased!

He’s also starting to really enjoy painting (especially finger painting) and colouring, so I have bought lots of coloured paper, colouring books and sponges to help with some indoor activities too.

He recently did some paintings which I then turned into Mother’s Day cards and I think they look great!
We are going to do this for people’s birthdays too, as I’ve always loved getting handmade cards as they mean a lot more to me than store-bought ones.

What fun (but cheap) activities have you got planned this summer? Feel free to comment below to give me some more ideas!

For the purpose of this post, I was given the sun lotion, slushy maker, weekend box and floor puzzle to review. No payment was received for this post, and all opinions are honest and my own.

44 Comments

  • madmumof7

    14th April 2014 at 7:22 am

    I like the look of the slushy maker – very clever! #magicmoments

  • Coombe Mill – Fiona

    14th April 2014 at 7:31 am

    Yummy looking lollies and a floor puzzle is so good for coordination #MagicMoments

    1. Coombe Mill – Fiona

      14th April 2014 at 10:09 am

      Thanks for coming over and joining in with Country Kids.

  • Anonymous

    14th April 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Everything looks fun! I love that slushie maker and saw one at ToyRus! #MagicMoments

  • Unknown

    14th April 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Wow, what a whole host of fun things to do! I need some more ice lolly moulds too, love them!

  • Anne

    14th April 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Yay for summer, plenty of activities here, and I so want a slushy maker 🙂

  • Mumof2.com

    14th April 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Bring on summer with all those actitivites to keep everyone busy! I hope there is time for a snooze planned in there lol! #magicmoments

  • Super Busy Mum

    14th April 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Great tips there! We have one of those chill factor slushie makers too! Aren't they fab! #MagicMoments

  • Jaime Oliver

    14th April 2014 at 7:53 pm

    some nice ideas honey

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

  • mumturnedmom

    14th April 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Lots of good ideas 🙂 #WhatstheStory

  • Janet Camilleri

    15th April 2014 at 4:09 am

    I think you're spot on, the key to surviving the Summer school is having a host of ideas/activities planned and written down!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT xxx

  • Twinsplustwo

    15th April 2014 at 6:45 am

    Some really good ideas for fun on a budget here. Green People products are great. It's the white stuff (zinc oxide?) which dries the skin out and makes eczema worse, so if it isn't white and opaque having that missing is probably why it didn't flare his eczema. I will look out for it this summer!
    #letkidsbekids

  • Unknown

    15th April 2014 at 7:21 am

    The slushy makers are amazing, and I love the sound of the sun cream, as my sons both have eczema. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  • My crazy Family story

    15th April 2014 at 11:02 am

    wow looks like you have loads of fabulous things to be doing over the holidays x #triedtested

  • EssentiallyJess

    15th April 2014 at 11:06 am

    The slushy maker looks very cool. I've always wondered how well they work.
    Whilst you prepare for summer up there, in Australia we are getting ready for winter. The idea of warm days sounds divine to me right now

  • Anonymous

    15th April 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Izzy wants a slushy maker, so many ideas, thank you! x

  • Californian Mum in London

    15th April 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I really like the look of that slushy maker. Yummm. #triedtested

  • Unknown

    15th April 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Yoghurt lollies… that's just such a good idea!! Creamy but a healthier option. I'm stealing that one. Great suggestions. #letkidsbekids

  • Unknown

    15th April 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Lots of good ideas. The cards look great.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  • Pippa Ainsworth

    15th April 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Some good ideas there, we've been trying out the Slushy Maker too and its been a big hit #TriedTested

  • Kim Carberry

    15th April 2014 at 6:47 pm

    So many goodies…..Those lolly moulds look fab! Yum x

  • Teentweentoddler

    15th April 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Great post! I love the look of those slushy makers x #TriedTested

  • Unknown

    16th April 2014 at 8:12 am

    we got one of those slushy makers last year to test, they're great aren't they?!

  • Unknown

    16th April 2014 at 11:54 am

    Love those lollies :)?

  • Hannah

    16th April 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Great list.

    Thanks for linking up to #TWTWC xx

  • Hannah Wood

    16th April 2014 at 6:29 pm

    We love the weekend box such fun .x

  • Unknown

    16th April 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Some fab ideas hun x love the slushy makers! Think i need to invest 🙂

  • Tarana Khan

    16th April 2014 at 9:08 pm

    So many good ideas here! I like slushy maker and the idea of putting two flavors in one 🙂 #LetKidsBeKids

  • fashion-mommy

    16th April 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Some great ideas. I'm now off to hunt for a magnifying glass from the pound shop – think that is such a simple, but interesting idea for little ones.
    #Tried/Tested

  • Tina at Mommynificent.com

    17th April 2014 at 3:12 pm

    That slushy maker is intriguing! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again soon to hear how books are impacting your family's lives!
    Tina

  • BakedPotatoMummy

    18th April 2014 at 8:23 am

    I really like the idea of the frozen yogurts. I need to get some more lolly moulds!
    #CreativeChallenge

  • Unknown

    19th April 2014 at 8:17 am

    loads of good ideas there – i'm so impressed how organised you are #countrykids

  • [email protected]

    19th April 2014 at 1:54 pm

    We love our slushy maker!

    Thanks for linking up with the Parenting Pin It Party x x

  • Wild Family Fun

    19th April 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I love your post, brilliant. Very simple but effective ideas and I love the low cost part to them. I totally agree that you don't have to spend the earth to keep children happy. Will be using your frozen yogurts idea too.

  • Emily Twin Mummy and Daddy

    19th April 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Some great ideas here! Thanks for linking up #binkylinky

  • Unknown

    20th April 2014 at 9:53 am

    Great ideas lovely! Wow the ice lolly makers brought back memories of my childhood!!

    Laura x x x

  • Unknown

    20th April 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Lovely ideas, there is so much you can do with kids without it having to cost the earth – thankfully! Thanks for linking with #creativechallenge xx

  • Unknown

    20th April 2014 at 6:32 pm

    All of these look fantastic. I LOVE those Slushy makers – we have one and it is brilliantly clever. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

  • Colette

    20th April 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I'd love to try one of these slushy makers!
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  • Unknown

    22nd April 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I love how he has taken to the puzzle, and got the hang of it so quickly. I might have to get one of those, Ethan is really into In The Night Garden again at the minute. We got to review the slushie maker last summer, I loved it. Must get it ready for this summer!

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)
    x

  • Tracy Nixon

    28th April 2014 at 3:50 am

    Great ideas thanks for sharing!

  • Tracy Nixon

    1st July 2014 at 4:06 am

    Not long to go now so printed this off!

  • Claire

    4th July 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for all the great comments guys!

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