Has the summer blitz got you in an exhausted frenzy? The vacations, amusement parks, sports activities, camps, and road trips of the activity-driven dog days of summer may have you looking for quick ways to regroup. Refresh your spirit and just chill out with your children with some inexpensive alternatives that are productive and memorable.
Start slowing down the pace, and as you'll see by the suggestions below, you'll be able to stop and smell the flowers (literally!) with these close-to-home activities for you and your family.
Deborah J. Waldman of Edmonton, Alberta hosted a tie-dye party the weekend before her children, then ages five and seven, went back to school. Neighborhood kids and their parents were invited and brought their own shirts to dye. Waldman provided the dye, which can be purchased at fabric or craft stores. "We mixed up five colors in huge buckets in the front yard and invited everyone," she said. Participants ranged from ages three to thirteen. Waldman said she knew the event was a success when a neighbor stopped by recently to get details on the tie-dye party as she was planning to throw one for her daughter's birthday.
You'll need just a few things to have a tie-dye party—dye colors, rubber bands and marbles (to create unique designs), buckets, hangers, and t-shirts or other small articles of clothing. One thing to note before preparing for a tie-dye party: the t-shirts have to soak in the dye for at least an hour, so make sure you have plenty of drinks and snacks for your guests.
Host a neighborhood driveway art show. This activity will work well with any number of kids of all ages and requires only a nice day, some sidewalk chalk, and eager artists. Divide the driveway into large sections and give the kids a specific theme or let them discover their inner Van Gogh. To add to the fun, appoint a judge and give away prizes for the most creative murals. As long as it doesn't rain, everyone's a winner!
Another outdoor art project children love is rock painting. Collect large rocks or even smaller stones, get some colorful paints and make pet rocks, garden decorations, or door stoppers. This is another creative, inexpensive art project that doesn't require a lot of supplies. Your child may even want to create custom gifts for friends, grandparents, and other relatives.