I work in a school so have most of the summer off to spend with my two little ones. Last summer was mostly spent inside with a newborn and toddler, which was not as fun as you may imagine. So as soon as school let out this June I was determined to get OUT there and enjoy some fun in our wonderful seacoast area. Here are a few things we've been up to... sharing in hopes of giving you some easy, simple ideas for fun.
We put ours on the deck and hang out in the shade on HOT afternoons. We also have a water table. That is a MUST for children over the age of 1, a must. My daughter loves it, and so does my son, a few years older. We put cooking utensils, shovels, bath toys, etc. in it and they love splashing around. This is an easy thing to do when you're all sweating and need a distraction from crabby hot summer afternoons.
Early in June, perhaps even the end of May, we had a great start of summer evening. It was hot all day and we'd been at work/school, could not wait to play. So we packed up towels and beach toys, my husband picked up pizza and chips and we headed to the beach for a dinner picnic. Our kids loved it! This is a great idea for after you've been working all day but are too hot and tired for making dinner. Pick up takeout or even head to the grocery store for pasta salad, fruit, etc. and eat on a blanket in the sand.
Make sure to get good Mom in the Pictures this summer, too!
The York's Wild Kingdom is an awesome place to take the kids for a morning of animal fun. We had free tickets to go, which made it even more awesome. We always go first thing in the morning when they open at 10, take our wagon so the kids can get in and out easily to see animals, and pack snacks and a lunch. They do have food and ice cream there, but it's cheaper to pack a lunch. We always make sure we bring quarters, too, so you can feed the ducks, goats and deer in the park. They have another side to the park of amusement rides, so much fun. My son is 3 years old and he could go on at least 5 rides this year.
There are typically coupons for save a dollar each person or things like that in those coupon mailings we typically get in the mail, so check that out before you go. Also, for kids 3 and younger they can get a bracelet to ride all the rides as many times as they want for about $5 I want to say, I can't recall exactly how much but it was around there. My son and his cousins loved it!
On our first day of summer vacation together we set out and found a new spot to have a picnic. Yes, it was in a cemetery, but whatever! We packed a lunch - cheese and crackers, drinks, raisins, granola bars, something easy! - and sat out on a (Christmas!) blanket we had in the car. They loved it. So find a new place in the area, something easy to get to and just have fun and relax. I find my son gets SO excited when we change things up. We eat lunch every day, but on a random day when I say let's have a picnic he gets SO excited! It's something different to smile about.
Today we had a picnic in our living room. He "sets the blanket" with napkins, forks, our drinks in water bottles, a blanket to sit on etc. We talk and read stories while we eat. When you're home all day, changing the pace of things is necessary and makes it more fun for all.
We totally missed out on this last summer so it was on the top of my list of things to do. I was a little nervous going out alone with the two kids, worried I would not be able to contain them, but I brought the stroller for my youngest and it was great. It was super cheap, too. I didn't realize it would be. We got two cartons of strawberries for $4! My son had a blast trying to find the ripe ones and learning about why the green ones were not ready to be picked. I can't wait for blueberry picking!
SO much fun! We went to Bangor for a road trip to a wedding, and of course had to make a stop at the Discovery Museum there. It was random actually. The kids were "supposed" to nap in the car while we waited to meet up with someone... but of course they wouldn't, so I took a gamble and went into the children's museum instead. We had a blast! I was nervous there would not be enough to do for my one-year-old, but she had a blast just crawling around (which yes, I realize the germs she may have caught by doing that... but after being in a car for hours it was what we did, all good!).
I can't wait to visit the Dover, NH and Portland, ME childrens' museums also. So much to do, my son lit up in Bangor.
My favorite part of this museum is the story book rooms. They have a Charlotte's Web one and Old Man in the Sea. This one was our all-time favorite: Goodnight Moon, my son's favorite book! Love it :)
I texted a picture of this to my husband, stating we needed this weird tube construction site thing in our house ASAP. My kids could have played with this for hours!
Digging for fossils.
We also went to the library for a puppet show. We signed up for their summer reading program, which starts at age 3 (score for my son!). For every 2 hours we read together he can go to the library to get a prize. It's been fun picking up new books. I'm going to do a post soon of some new childrens' books we've found that we like. We also go to weekly library story hour and sing-a-long. My son adores it, and my daughter claps along. It's 20-30 minutes of short fun. Check your local library calendar, they always have fun things to do in the summer.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Last week we randomly found Vacation Bible School summer program offered for all ages, including infants, in South Berwick, ME. It was perfect! My son had a blast and my daughter was having fun, too. It was 9-12 Mon-Thurs (we only went two days). They provided lunch and snacks, music, reading, etc. The whole theme was traveling to outer space, comets, rocket ships, etc. My son loved that part for sure. It was about 45 minutes of religious talk and the rest plain old kids' fun. We are religious so we went there for that purpose, but in case you aren't very religious you would still love it. I highly recommend it. Tons of crafts, dancing, singing, toys and new friendships. Again, check local church calendars for upcoming events.
We're off to a great start!
We made a list at the beginning of June of fun things we want to do this summer. So stay tuned for more throughout the summer. Hope you are having a fun summer also. Make sure you pack sunscreen, water bottles, snacks (no matter what time of day, always have snacks while out and about in the summer!), change of clothes in the car (getting wet is part of the deal in the summer!).
Some great ideas for local (Maine/NH) fun:
http://www.seacoastkidscalendar.com/calendar/index.php?eID=21009 -- find things like this Seacoast Kids Calendar to find cool upcoming events and ideas in the area.
Last summer we went on some ride-on toys outside the Kittery Outlets. It was fun for a rainy day! Same for local malls, check out the carousel in the Portland Maine Mall.
Go visit LL Bean factory store in Freeport, tons of things to look at there.
Smitty's Movie Cinema gives $5 gift card to kids who show a report card of As and Bs.
Regal Cinemas in NH offer $1 movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Perfect time for little ones. I'm planning to take my son to his first movie, that way we won't waste the money on a regular movie in case he won't want to sit through it.
Some other ideas we have:
Old Orchard Beach carousel
library book fairs
lakes, pools, beaches galore
Gray Animal Park - Gray
Smiling Hill Farm - Westbrook
drive in movies in Saco
Story Land, NH
pictures in a field
ice cream cone for the one-year-old... messy fun!
YAY FOR SUMMER!