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11 Activities to Try at Home this August

By Hailey Almsted

August is here, which means the start of school and cooler weather is on the horizon. To help you make the most of this final month of summer break, we’ve compiled a list of 11 open-ended  activities that exercise both body and mind.

These simple, engaging experiences are not only fun, but they also boost 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. See how many you can try!

Fun in the Sun

Playing outside is one of the best parts about summer – especially in Minnesota. Here are a few fun activities to do outdoors:

1. DIY Moon Sand. Help kids create their own sensory dough with this easy recipe. Put the moon sand in a water, sand or sensory table for play time. Find the recipe here. There are also gluten-free recipes out there for those who need to avoid gluten.

2. Water Play. Kids love water and it’s great for physical and cognitive growth. Plus, it’s easy and inexpensive. Simply filling a shallow container with water and letting them play with toys (cars, figurines), safe kitchen items (cups, turkey baster) can keep them busy for hours. Another idea: let them paint the sidewalk, driveway or fence using water and a paint brush or roller.

3. Homemade Giant Bubbles. Be blown away with these ginormous bubbles! It’s easy and provides hours of fun. Follow this recipe.

4. Sun-Melted Crayon Art. For especially warm days, take a box of crayons outside and make beautiful crayon art. Not only will the kids love it, but you’ll have a new piece of decorative art. Check out this easy tutorial.

5. Bird Feeder. Recycle juice boxes, milk cartons or other containers by making homemade bird feeders. Kids can decorate them with markers, glitter and whatever else you have around the house. Here are helpful instructions.

6. Potion Station. Allow kids to use their imagination and develop fine motor skills with their very own potion station! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Rainy Day Activities

Unfortunately, not every summer day is filled with sunshine. If you’re stuck inside and already built a fort city throughout the house, here are five more activities to try:

7. “Sardines.” Think of it like hide and seek, but only one person hides and everyone else spreads out to look. When a seeker finds the hider, the seeker joins the hiding space. Try not to giggle too much!

8. Homemade Chia Pets. Encourage kids to make their very own Chia pets using clay. Kids sculpt whatever they choose around a paper cup, fill the cup with soil, plant grass seeds and voila! Not only is it a fun activity, but it has staying power since kids can watch their seeds grow over time. (from STEAM Lab for Kids book).

9. Summer Journal. Journaling is great for any age and is a meaningful way to incorporate writing and/or drawing into summer activities. Read on for prompts that can get kids started. Learn more.

10. Pom-Pom Monsters. With some yarn, a fork and glue, your kids can make pom-poms. Add some googly eyes, pipe cleaners, stickers, etc. and turn that pom-pom into a monster.  View the quick tutorial.

11. Musical Band. If you’re ok with a little noise, this one is great! It’s easy to do and uses everyday items from the kitchen. Have kids practice alone or create a family band. Here’s what’s needed: Wooden spoons, pots and tops, glasses/cups filled with various amounts of water, dried rice or beans in Tupperware containers. Here are more details and other activities.

We’d love to see pictures of you trying out these activities. Or, share your own tips and favorite activities with us. Post on our social channels using the hashtag #ParentingWin and tag us @MNChildMuseum

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Parent resources are funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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