Tag Archives: keeping kids busy

9 Eco Friendly Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

My son is out of school for the year, and soon my oldest daughter will be too. It’s time to start thinking about how I’m going to keep them busy, ideally without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of resources. Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with.

1. Grow a garden.

This is already started, of course. We have more tomatoes than I think we’ll manage to eat, but my husband always wants to grow a big variety of tomatoes. If they go well, I’ll either have to figure out how to preserve them or start giving the excess away to family, friends and neighbors. Not a bad deal.

We also have zucchini, basil, pumpkins growing from the seeds of last year’s Halloween pumpkin, strawberries and beans. Not a big garden, but we’re pretty limited in this house we’re renting to what we can do to the yard. We also have a few flowers planted just for attracting bees and for pretty. My favorite so far are the native larkspur that grew on their own.

The kids are learning to weed and are responsible to help keep the garden watered. They love knowing that they can snack freely on what grows and is edible.

2. Stargazing

Kids love looking at the stars, and my son picked a small telescope out for his birthday earlier this year. Stargazing is a great way to make those summer nights special for your family.

3. Camping

Take a little time and go camping with your family. Most areas have decent local campgrounds, or you could camp in your own backyard. Older children may even enjoy camping out in the backyard on their own. This was a favorite when I was growing up.

4. Playing with friends.

Don’t get so into doing activities with your kids that they don’t get a ton of time to just play with friends, whether it’s at your house, the friend’s house or on their own at the park once they’re old enough and responsible enough. Let them have fun doing their own things.

5. Visit the library.

Our library has a summer reading program that allows kids in grades 1-5 to earn prizes for the number of pages they read. Prizes shouldn’t be needed to get kids reading if you’ve encouraged it all along, but make sure they keep the habit of reading books that interest them all summer long. The library is a great resource that will allow them to read more books than you could probably afford to buy.

Don’t forget to check out any special activities your local library may have over the summer. Many have activities for all age ranges, which is great when your kids have a range of interests and abilities.

6. Do recycled crafts.

I covered a few good books to help you get ideas for recycled crafts just the other day. Summer is a great time for trying some of these ideas out.

7. Visit museums.

While museums bring a picture of boredom to some minds, they don’t have to. Most kids love a good, hands-on science museum, and many other museums have come to recognize that having a hands-on component makes it more interesting for children.

Check with your local museums to see if they have any free or reduced price days to keep the expense down. These days are usually more crowded, but may put this activity into a more budget friendly category.

8. Go to the zoo.

Most children love the zoo. Annual passes may be quite affordable, or you can suggest that family give passes as a gift. Children will be impressed by the range of animals, and it’s a great opportunity to discuss why we need to protect the habitat of various animals.

9. Go hiking.

Yet another thing you can do fairly locally in most places. Find out where the hiking trails are in your area and you have a great family activity that will help to keep you fit while seeing nature in action.

5 Recycled or Natural Craft Books to Keep You and the Kids Busy This Summer

Here comes summer! School is getting out soon and it’s time to figure out how you’re going to keep the kids busy.

Crafts are a great place to start. They encourage kids to be creative. Recycled crafts are even better, as they teach your family how to reused things that might have been trash otherwise. Feed that crafting habit without buying a ton of new supplies. Here are some books that can help you get started.

Craftcycle: 100+ Earth-Friendly Projects and Ideas for Everyday Living
This one has ideas suitable for a wide range of ages, not just young children. It has over 100 ideas for you to try that encourage sustainable living. If you’ve seen those bags made out of old potato chip bags, for example, this book will help you make your own.

Alternacrafts: 20+ Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make
This book is recommended for grades 8 and up, but crafty kids at younger ages may enjoy it too. The book has a bit of a quirky style, and you’ll learn to make things such as pin-prick cards, pop bottle pendants and more.

Green Crafts for Children: 35 Step-by-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, And Found Materials
While not everything in this book is recycled, most of the ideas here will be things you have around the home anyhow. Not like you can recycle the ingredients for salt dough anyhow. Other crafts encourage the use of found materials such as shells, pine cones and tree bark.

Recycled Crafts Box
This book is definitely more for the elementary school set, not so much for older kids. What’s great about this book is that not only does it give you great ideas for recycled crafts, it separates the ideas by the materials and gets into how they’re made and how they’re recycled.

Socks Appeal: 16 Fun & Funky Friends Sewn from Socks
We all have orphaned socks and socks that just don’t fit the kids anymore. Why not have a little fun with them and make toys from those old socks you don’t need anymore?

Socks Appeal has projects suitable for kids and adults who are new to sewing, as well as those with more experience.