At-home Summer Activities for your Littles!
Summer has officially arrived! Summer 2020 may feel a little different than other summers, as many are still practicing social distancing due to COVID-19. Many children are residing at home during summer days. After a while, you may notice your older child saying phrases like, “I’m bored!”, or your younger one starting to fuss a bit more. That’s where this blog may come in handy, as it will describe 10 easy, at-home summer activities (many inspired by Pinterest!), to keep both older children and younger children occupied in safe ways. What could be better than knowing your children are engaged with unique, safe, stimulating activities at home, while mom and dad also get a little break?!
At home scavenger hunts not only are fun for the children, but they also provide for a lot of learning as you can make a variety of different scavenger hunts to target different concepts. For example, one scavenger hunt may target the understanding of adjectives (e.g., find something soft, find something hard, etc.), while another may target the function of objects (e.g., find something you use to cut with, etc.). The themes of scavenger hunts are endless! Children have so much fun, while they are also developing: problem-solving skills, receptive language skills, and gross motor skills.
Click here for a list of fun scavenger hunts!
Design Road and Train Tracks with Duct Tape
If your child is into transportation toys, this will hands-down be an exciting activity. With a roll of duct tape, your child can design a city in their very own bedroom or living room! Add some toy cars, toy trains, and blocks, and that’s all you will need. This activity encourages pretend play, as well as vocabulary building, as it provides a scene to create a whole new world.
Click here for a more in-depth “how to”!
Magic Paper Towel Art
If your child likes arts and crafts, this activity is a must! All you will need is: paper towel, fabric markers, and a bowl of water. The idea is that your child sees color appear as soon as he/she drops it in a bowl of water and… voila! Magic! All you need to do is take a sheet of paper towel and fold it in half; on the top layer of the folded paper towel, draw the outline of any design (e.g., outline of a sun) using black marker. Then, open up the folded piece of paper towel and color the inside layer to match the design (e.g., color yellow for the sun). Next, fold the paper back up again, and drop it into the bowl of water, and watch how the colors appear inside of the design!
Click here for a quick video to show how to do it!
Tie Dye Art with Baby Wipes
Another arts and crafts activity! All you will need are baby wipes, rubber bands, and colored markers. First, pinch the center of the baby wipe and hold it in your hand as you twist it up tight. Carefully secure 2-3 rubber bands throughout the twisted baby wipe. Then, use markers to color into the folds. Once everything is colored in, remove the rubber bands and untwist it up to reveal the beautiful tie dye art!
Click here for a more in-depth how-to, as well as helpful pictures! This activity encourages fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and understanding of colors.
The great aspect about this activity is that your child can make “soup” using anything they find in the house! There are no rules to what the ingredients are – ingredients can include: salt, pepper, dirt, play-doh, leaves, flowers, sand, water, shampoo… the list is endless! The idea is that your child uses his/her imagination, while also participating in sensory play. Your child is strengthening coordination skills, as well as fine-motor skills (e.g., snipping, pouring, and stirring).
Click here to learn more about a special “Fairy Soup” that your child can make!
Babies and Toddlers
Who knew there could be so many ways to play with socks: matching socks, “sock basketball” using a laundry basket… however, a personal favorite is hiding objects within socks for your baby to find them!
All you will need are socks and little objects (e.g., block, car, toy figures, etc.) that fit inside. Babies (and children in general!) love the element of surprise, so looking inside the socks not only will strengthen fine motor skills, but it will also demonstrate cause-and-effect. Babies are also practicing the skill of object permanence, which is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen.
Using sensory bins will guarantee engagement for a prolonged period of time! They can be utilized for just about any learning opportunity. As long as you are okay with your child getting a little bit messy (at times), you will be able to sit down and blissfully drink your coffee as your little one plays with a sensory bin filled with: shaving cream, paint, water, ice, rice, pasta, beans… the list is endless. Throw some toys into the sensory bin and it will add to the fun.
Click here for added inspiration.
Wash toy animals and/or toy cars
This low-prep sensory activity is guaranteed to keep your toddler (and your older ones) engaged. All you need to do is grab a couple bins: one will be filled with soapy water, while the other is filled with “dirt” (can use coffee ground or dirt), as well as toy figures! Feel free to add an old toothbrush for extra scrubbing.
Click here for more inspiration.
Save the Animals
This activity is guaranteed to keep your toddler sitting still and focused. All
You will need to do is tape a bunch of small toy figures (e.g., cars, animals, blocks) onto a cookie sheet. The goal is for your baby/toddler to remove all of the tape to “rescue” the toy figures. It might sound simple, but for your little one – it can be a lot of work! With this activity, your toddler is working on: hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, vocabulary, and problem-solving.
For more, information and inspiration, be sure to click here!
Paper Towel Rolls
Make sure to save those paper towel rolls, as well as toilet paper rolls because they can be used as the best “tunnels” and “slides” for your toddler to use with his/her toys! You will be surprised how much entertainment can be provided by placing small toys inside the paper towel rolls. He/she will be working on cause-and-effect, hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and vocabulary building. If you happen to have pom-poms, be sure to click here for this easy DIY project where your child can work on sorting colors using paper towel rolls!
The best part about all of these activities is that it promotes independent play, while they are safe. Although it is always important to keep an eye on your child, these activities do not involve hazardous materials. As long as your child does not frequently mouth objects, parents can watch their children play, while they can sit on the couch and rest… which is what all parents need!
These activities are guaranteed to provide opportunities for busy learning, experimenting, exploring, and most importantly… fun! The best part is, most of these materials you already have at home! Happy summer to you and your littles.
-Andrea Scola, M.S., CF-SLP, Exceptional Speech Therapy Blog Writer