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A Hot Mess Mom's Guide to DIY Summertime Outside Activities

Updated on July 18, 2016

Get 'em outside!

At the end of the day, the best way to get the energy out of your kid is get them outside. The sun will do them good and you can find all sorts of fun activities that will be easy to do with things you already have lying around the house or can purchase for cheap!

Wet and Wild Ideas

If you want to keep the kids cool in the summer heat, you can do that by simple little tricks to make the water flow and the fun multiply with these genius ideas I have found from moms who are way better at this thing than me.

  • Water Balloons are a pain to fill up and even more so when you have to fill them up yourself. Why not give your kids the freedom to fill their balloons themselves while you sit in the sun getting your tan on with a good book. You can repurpose an old bottle you have laying around the house and fill it with water. Set it outside and let them pump out the water into those balloons. Hassle-free for mom and watery fun for kids!
  • Not a Pool Person? I'm not! But my kid loves to get wet in the summer time. So we came across this super genius idea on how to make your own slip and slide for cheap. You can check out the step by step directions on DigitalMisery and you will be on your way to wearing out your kidlets in no time.
  • Got a Pool? I got you covered too. This awesome little PVC pile towel rack is great for keeping the pool area clean and dry. You can find the genius directions on how to build your own pool rack on EHow - where she shows you how to create this for up to 8 towels and keeping your pool noodles and toys organized and in order.
  • Ice Ice Baby - You can keep your kid busy, regardless of age, but creating an Icy Treasure Hunt. All you need to do is freeze a bunch of knick knacks and cheap dollar store toys in a block of ice. Give the kiddos some tools for breaking through the ice and watch the fun begin. Ice will melt and fly and giggles will be abound. You can check out the tutorial on making this frozen toy for summertime boredom at MacaroniKid.

Outside the Pool Ideas

Do you have a kid that doesn't like to get wet? Or if you are like me and the pool needs cleaning, AGAIN, you can try some activities that are not water related. Here are a few ideas I picked up around the internets that will keep your little artists entertained and outside!

  • What kid doesn't like sidewalk chalk? Here are two excellent ways to get the kids painting and drawing their masterpieces on your driveway or sidewalks. You can do the paint variety using cornstarch, food coloring and hot water. (If you are like me and don't have cornstarch, you can ask a neighbor or have your mother in law bring you some.) The directions for painting your driveway is found at Passion For Savings and it shows a great deal of fun to be had by little ones. If you prefer the chalk version, you can try the mess-free sidewalk chalk. Added bonus that these are made in retractable deodorant containers so you can keep the chalk contained and easy for little hands. You can find the directions to make the chalk at Playful Learning and the original deodorant container idea at De Tout Et De Rien.
  • Bubbles are a kid's best friend. But honestly, what parent wants to spend hours blowing bubbles to watch their kid run around and pop them. It gets old fast. Why not let them learn how to blow their own bubbles? Tired of spilled bubble containers or messy cleanup of the DIY bubble concoction you created? Why not try this ingenius idea and anchor the long skinny bubble wands to a sturdy pole! Just make sure the bubbles and the wands are easily accessible at a height that the kids can reach without too much hassle.
  • Trampoline Safety is a big deal with you got littles up there bouncing around. I came across this awesome idea on Next Comes L of using pool noodles to guard around each of the springs of the trampoline to make a pinch free zone during the jumping fun!

SnackTime Roundup

What would be an outside adventure without snacks?! A very boring one full of cranky, tired kids, that's what! So why not give these outside snack hacks a try to stave off the tiny terrorist in your own child and keep their bellies full while they expend all that excess energy.

  • Popsicles are the ultimate kid summertime treat to beat the heat. Funky Frugal Mommy has this trick down and shows us how to make our own popsicles that are rumored not to melt as fast as regular ones. All you need is Jell-o and a popsicle stick and a cheap mold. Not only is this trick less mess, but it's a frugal option for those parents on a budget. If you prefer the store bought popsicles, try keeping your freezer pops upright in the freezer to make cutting a breeze!
  • Ice Cream is always a crowd pleaser. So you can head on over to A Thrifty Mom to get step by step guide on how to make ice cream in a bag with less than 10 items/ingredients. Because we don't have time for complicated treats! If you prefer something pre-made, you can always go with these frozen Capri Sun Slushies with The Simple Parent.
  • Bug Proof Drinks by putting a cupcake liner over the top of your kid's drink to make it so that no one ingests the yucky summertime protein of bugs in the juice! Poke a hole through the liner with a straw to make the drink easy to sip and share.
  • Fruits and Summer go together! A Thrifty Mom has some excellent ideas for some summer snacks and treats that are sure to delight your little ones. I love the idea of making "Watermelon Sticks" for little hands - similar to a popsicle but with watermelon. She has a tutorial and a video she shares on how to do this simple snack hack.


Banish the Bugs and Sunburns!

Summer and bugs go hand and hand. It's quite the pain in the you know what to repel the bugs and if you can't successfully manage to banish them, what do you to about the serious case of itches when a kid doesn't know how to control the scratching?

  • Got a Baby Sunbather? Don't leave the little ones out of the summertime fun. You can protect their delicate skin from bugs, by setting up a pack n play and covering the top with a crib sheet. This will allow the baby to play in the shade and also keep the bugs off. Babies don't need to be inside for summer activities, they can play and be content in their cocoon of mesh and fabric and still keep cool and visible to parents.
  • Sunburnt Kids are no fun for the kid or the parent. Reduce the risk of sunburn and the harsh chemicals by trying some DIY options. Keep in mind that these are not tried and tested by me, as I prefer the store bought. However, if you are looking for ideas on cheap homemade sunscreen, you can try this recipe by Pins and Procrastination with all natural ingredients.
  • Mosquitos suck the fun out of every summer gathering. There are lots of tips around the internet on how to repel these pesky insects, but this video from Household Hacker is by far my favorite and most effective that I've found so far. So if you want a natural mosquito repellant, get yourself some witch hazel, vanilla extract and lemon eucalyptus essential oil and make your own!
  • Bug Bites are not completely avoidable though, so you can can try a few natural ways to help relieve the itch for you and the kiddos. If you have bananas in the house, why not put their peels to good use? Banana peels work great by themselves or with a little rubbing alcohol to take care of poison ivy and mosquito bites with ease. Just apply the peel "meat side down" and enjoy your banana while the peel works its magic! Because parents are wary of the Deet in most bug sprays or itch remedies, you can also try this natural anti-itch cream by Our Peaceful Planet that uses water, tea tree oil and baking soda.


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