Summer is exciting and a time to relax. (If you have littles maybe a time to put on your gladiator gear and hop into referee mode for the next 90 days.)

This summer I am pregnant, with no big vacations, or huge plans for the summer. Intentionally we planned a laid back, calm, and as peaceful as it can get with the circus summer!

The screen time tends to amplify on the days we have nothing planned, but this year I was on a mission to make my home a summer camp fortress with creative little things to keep them busy and hear them giggling.

1. Water Stations – who doesn’t love water? I took a baby pool, a few squirt guns from the dollar store, buckets filled up with dish soap and one with regular water and spread them out about 3 feet apart. The kids had to create a game relay for who could start in the pool, squirt a target, run and dunk their head into one bucket to find the treasure and then not spill the soapy bucket taking it back to the pool to dump it! You can also add water balloons to amp up the intensity! (By the end they had more fun swimming in a giant soapy bubble pool) but this was 3 hours of solid bliss!

2. Nerf Gun Station – Anyone else a boy mom? My son is obsessed with nerf guns! I like to take bad situations and turn them into something productive… it’s just who I am. About 2 weeks ago my son learned the art of putting a nail through a nerf and then was shooting raw eggs watching them explode. It was silly and fun, until…. he forgot to unload his one “nail nerf” he created and shot me in the leg joking around forgetting he never took out his “special invention” low and behold I find a nail sticking out of my thigh! Agghhhhbhhhhh the joyful serenity of parenting right?! (He lost the nerf guns for 2 weeks on a safety lesson moms don’t worry!) however I didn’t want to kill his invention all together, so I found this idea! A nerf board to pop balloons!

3. Rock Tic Tac Toe – Last year I posted this idea on Instagram and it was a HIT’ so simple and a nice way for kids to sit outside and play a little game of nature! All you need some rocks,a paint pen, and the artistic ability to write an X and an O.

4. Outdoor live Kerplunk – I found this little gem scrolling Pinterest last week, genius! Absolutely genius! My kids love when things fall and the challenge of keeping all these balls in tact is hours of entertainment! Takes less then a half hour to create!

5. Fishing – We are so fortunate to have a little recreation pond close to us, but fishing has been something my kids look forward to! It’s free, outside, takes focus, and my son is over the moon about his latest catch’ we make it a picnic night and grab dinner, eat at the park, pick up worms and bait those fishies in! (My family does catch and release so the clean up is a bit easier.)

6. Bean Bag Toss – These bins you can grab at any Target or Dollar store, write your score on it, or if your feeling extra crafty write something the loser has to do! (A chore of the other siblings etc.) yesssss I know I said loser! I’m not the mom that everyone’s a winner – I want to teach my children that it’s okay to not always win and fun to give high fives when that person is not you! As an adult I stumble and redirect often, it’s beautiful, it teaches me how to be a better version of myself! I want to instill that same character in my littles.

7. Science Experiments – Science is a regular occurrence in our house! Recently I had a ton of extra eggs from a fundraiser we attended and wanted to put them to good use! We did an egg challenge following the law of gravity learning lesson!

The extra eggs that cracked we put in a craft tray and I put some alum and food coloring in the tray, my kids mixed, gooed and gawked, pretended to be zombies, your getting my pitch! It was an hour of endless sensory play and giggles.

We also soaked three eggs, one in corn syrup, one in vinegar, and one in water. You let them soak overnight and watch what the vinegar does to the egg with expansion (stay tuned I’ll do a blog on just projects we do with the expanded egg tomorrow!)

8. Imagination Building – For a Signs and Wine event I had some little wood planks left over from the back of canvases, I gave my kids miniature hammers, an Elmer’s glue stick, and had them build a creation of their liking. There’s nothing better then watching their little wheels turn and seeing what they see as beautiful. Is it a castle, a base, a bungee jump fortress? The possibilities are endless and a great opportunity to open conversation about imagination with your children.

9. Have a staycation – We kicked off summer staying an hour and half away in Reno at the Peppermill (my husband is from here so not a vacation but a stay cation’) we swam all day in a new pool, ate ice cream, jumped on a bed, took naps, played in arcades, ate buffets, it was simple fun that my littles are still raving about!!! You don’t have to be fancy to make memories, your children want one thing… Time with YOU. That’s all.

Through out Summer I’ll be posting more ideas of fun staycation ideas! In the mean time take it easy mama, enjoy time not things, get back to basics!

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