Summer Survival Kit – Crafts and Activities

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Earlier this week I introduced you to our Summer Survival Kit. This is a great “bag of tricks” to keep on hand for rainy days, too hot days, days when kids are just not easily pleased, or just a day when you all want a change of pace.

Build one of your own for the dog days of summer and have reinforcements for one of “those days.”

Here’s what you can include:

What am I missing? What else would you include?

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  1. I feel a little guilty I don’t do much crafting with my older son. He does some at school and at other activities but at home we just don’t get to it.

    I would love to see a post from you about how you manage doing things with kids of different ages. I’m sure it’s not such a big deal now since you’re older ones are, well, older and can help the younger ones but I know it wasn’t always this way. We have a 4 y/o and a 14 month old and it’s impossible for me to read a book with the older one let alone pull out a game, puzzle, or craft project. The younger one is Into Everything, doesn’t like reading yet, and won’t sit still on my lap. It’s very frustrating because the older one definitely gets the short end of the stick with me. Partly why we sent him to school for K3 (Montessori) and I sign him upt for VBS and other activities and classes.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Beth, first, know that I don’t do as much as I would like, either.

      Second, I am really trying to figure out “doing things with kids of different ages.” Our youngest is almost two but thinks she’s twelve. She gets into everything and wants to be part of everything. Often, we don’t do the games and crafts until after the girls are in bed.

      We end up letting our older kids stay up later often so we can do things.

      At this stage in the game we’re trying to divide and conquer, in the sense, that we have kids in three very different stages: toddler/preschool, grammar, and middle school/tween/early teen. So, we’re trying to do different things with each different stage.

      I assume that your toddler still takes naps? That is when I would try to fit in those things that you wish you were doing with your older child. OR, strap him in the high chair like we did here. In case you didn’t see the vlog, there’s all sorts of fussing going on. 😉

      She didn’t fuss the entire time, but at least the bigger kids got to do their thing.

      Does that help?

      • @Jessica Fisher,
        yes, it does actually. If only to know you are still struggling with it too! 🙂

        Naps have been an issue as they are really short. The 4 y/o started taking cello lessons this summer (which I know sounds insane. I’m a professional cellist and we have various reasons for doing this now.) so nap time is cello practice and usually one activity. Once the baby gets off two naps I’m hoping they will increase in length. I do need to be better about strapping him in the high chair, giving him a separate activity, and working with the older one. Right now they both go to bed at the same time but I anticpate that changing in a year or two.

        • Jessica Fisher says:

          @Beth, I think that is the trick: remembering that there are seasons for everything. FishBaby is going to be 2 next month and it’s gone so quickly. I am constantly reminding myself that if she’s my last baby, I better enjoy it. I’ll miss this time.

          And in reality, in six months, she’ll be a totally different kid. I can handle a little “Dr. Destructo” because I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And there are great things to enjoy about this season.

          On another note, my first kids were terrible nappers until they switched to one nap. If I could keep them awake until 1 or 2 pm, they took these wonderful three hour naps that we all benefitted from. Now might be a great time to think about it.

          And, no, you are definitely not alone. 😉

  2. My older kiddos (5 and 3) LOVE stickers, so I am always on the lookout for cheap stickers to put in the art box. It can occupy them for 30+ minutes.

    And stamps/stampers. They just love them. I buy cheap stamp pads and always look out for stamps that are on sale at Jo Anne’s or Michael’s. If you get them on sale, they can be pretty cheap.

    When I’m feeling ambitious, I let them use the paint-by-water pages.


  3. I agree with the stamps/stampers, and stickers. Mine is also quite fond of gluing things — free political candidate notepads from parades are great things to glue a bunch of pages together with glue sticks. Free card samples (occasionally, we’ll get “junk” mailings with just the front of a card) are another fun thing to have on hand for cutting up — or gluing paper wings onto to make an airplane.

  4. Trip Journals! Getting my daughter(15yr) to write is easy, she as great handwriting skills. My son(9yr) not so much. This summer we (me too) each has a comp book to write down where we went, what we saw, and if we went back. Every time we take a trip during the summer we keep track. So when we have a few days we can pick a favorite to visit or make a list for next summer. In mine I write down how much I spent and how we could spend less next time.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I spy books, audio books, mazes, any math manipulative a ( multi colored is best)

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