10+ Activities Your Kids Will Love To Do This Summer

July 15, 2020 No Comments

Category: Motherhood, Parenting
Tags: Children, Interactive toddler experiences, Kids activities, Summer, Summer Bucket List, Toddler Activities

Life has been turned upside down this summer with COVID-19 canceling camps and indoor activities and closing all city parks and playgrounds. With so many restrictions, it’s been challenging figuring out what to do with out little kids so I’ve outlined 10+ Activities Your Kids Will Love This Summer that you can do at home or that aren’t location-specific, and then a few others that are close to Chicago and open during Phase 4.

 

While I would typically work full-time while Chloe is in camp, I’ve also made some changes to my work schedule so I could take advantage of this opportunity to spend some extra 1:1 time with her. She’s now 4 and at that perfect, sweet spot age to really enjoy interactive experiences and quality time together, so I’ve actually loved having her home. Plus, she’s been lucky enough to have play dates with her grandparents regularly, ballet lessons on our deck, weekly tutoring and therapy sessions so she doesn’t miss camp a bit!
I’ve collected the list of activities below that we’ve either done so far this summer or have on the list of things to-do! Hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we have
Activity and Adventure Ideas To Do This Summer!

1. Go on a Nature Hunt and create a “masterpiece”

We collected sticks, leaves and flowers we found on the ground and brought them home to make an art piece. I stocked on these foam boards for art projects, and this glun gun which has gotten SO much use this summer.

2. Plan a menu and make lunches for the homeless

This was a special day that really helped Chloe understand the importance of helping others and got her involved in the process! Chloe made her own lunch menu, shopped for the ingredients, assembled meals and dropped them off at a local shelter.

3. Host an ice cream social for your neighbors or friends who live close by

We hosted this cute little party in front of our home and invited all of the neighbors to join. It was so fun and such a hit! I bought this ice cream table cloth, these ice cream napkins, and made this invitation on Canva.

4. Plant a veggie garden

We planted an assortment of veggies and herbs and Chloe now takes responsibly for them by watering and caring for them. We often use them in meals which makes the experience come full circle. I made the signs below using images/my laminator but in retrospect, I should have simply used these signs. The rain ended up ruining mine.

 

5. Popcorn & Pajama Movie Night

Let your little one pick a movie of their choice to enjoy with some popcorn (which you can pop together with this easy popcorn maker!).

 

6. Develop a family tree with pictures

Create your own tree leveraging printed pictures and labels so your little one can see how everyone in the family is related. I am excited to do this so Chloe not only learns everyone’s names and faces but so she can see how everyone is related. Those foam boards would be perfect for this project too!

7. Make a “flower vase” with fresh flowers you find outside 

Draw a vase on paper and add in flowers you find in your garden or around your neighborhood.

8. Make fresh squeezed lemonade or OJ

Nothing beats a fresh glass of lemonade or orange juice – especially in summer! This hands-on activity is one of Chloe’s favorites to make and beats the concentrate stuff from the store! A lemon squeezer like this one is needed.

9. Plan a picnic date at the park!

We pack our lunches and head over to local parks in the neighbor where we play games and Chloe can run around! It’s fun to explore new places and get out of the house for a change of scenery. This summer I finally invested in a larger cooler bag which has come in so handy!

 

10. Head over to your local farmers market

Enjoy the freshest produce and a fun time roaming around your local farmer’s market. To make it more experiential, pick out a fresh ingredient and make a meal out of it. Chloe and I made gazpacho with the ingredients we collected – yum!

We also bought fresh flowers which she later cut and assembled into a vase, which she LOVED!

 

Few More Ideas in or around Chicago

Novelty Golf Mini Golf  (Lincolnwood)

Chloe’s first time on the golf course was a success! She really got into it and it was fun heading back to Novelty which was where I went mini golfing as a kid.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (Oak Brook)

Only the outside area is open but here’s a Visitor Guide with what you can do

Wildwood Nature Center (Park Ridge)

Great place to teach your kids about science, the outdoors, wildlife and the environment. Sadly the indoor nature center is closed now, but the outdoor surrounding forest preserve / hiking trail is open.

Pony Rides at Memory Lane Stables or Sarah’s Pony Rides

We went to Memory Lane Stables with my dad and had a great morning. We opted for the 1 hour trail ride ($20 for kids, $30 for adults) which was a nice walk. You could otherwise do an hour in the barn area for kids only. Masks required in the barn.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

This waterfall is a hidden gem outside the city. Chloe loved jumping from rock to rock, getting wet and playing in the water. I’d recommend bringing a bathing suit, enclosed shoes and a picnic for lunch.

Visit the murals on side of Hubbard Street (West Loop, Chicago)

This was close to home so Chloe and I enjoyed a long walk and 3 blocks of vibrant animals and characters!

Schaumburg Sculpture Park (Schaumburg)

Splash Island (Oak Brook)

I am renting out this awesome splash park for my friends and their kids for a very reasonable price ($275)! Every family will contribute $10 per person (same price as simply going to the public park!). Easy and safe way to get your friends together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goat and Chill at GlennArt Farm (Austin, Chicago) – Spend an hour hanging 1:1 with the sweetest goats. Bring carrots for them!

Indiana Dunes State Park beaches (Porter, Indiana)

Indian Caves (Bourbannais)

The Indian Caves are small narrow caves that include a little ravine that runs through to the Kankakee River. It is such a beautiful place to visit.

Visit a Raspberry or Blueberry Farm

Mike’s Blueberry Farm in New Buffalo, MI is supposed to be a hidden gem. Note: cash only!

Safari Lake Geneva

This drive through Safari is an animal adventure that kids will love!

Lincoln Marsh (Wheaton)

This hiking spot looks GORGEOUS. They offer some fun, interactive scavenger hunts to do too.

Nina’s Hands, Paws and Claws (McHenry, IL)

An exotic animal sanctuary that houses more than 50 animals. Nina and her team offer a 1:1 experience where your kiddos get a private introduction to goats, alpacas, a mini horse and cow, bunnies, ducks, chicks, and more. $15 pp.  Email gillnina@comcast.net to book or call 773.316.6679.

If you end up going there’s an adorable ice cream and chocolate shop, Riverside Chocolate Factory, and Stade’s Farm that’s all within 10 minutes of there.

What else have you done this summer? Would love to know and add to my list!


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