If you were raising your kids in, say, Utah—or any other place that doesn't have a Mommy Poppins daily calendar to point you in fun directions—you'd have to work a lot harder to keep your summer days playful. Our SUMMER OF PLAY partner, KaBOOM!, works with community leaders around the country to create more spaces and ways for kids to enjoy balanced and active play. Mother of three and registered nurse, Cyndalynn Tilley, is one of these community leaders in Woods Cross, Utah, and she's shared some of her favorite ideas for finding opportunities to play while doing ordinary daily activities. Backyard games are great when you have the time and space, but what about when you have to bring kids along to do chores like shopping and laundry? Even then grown-ups can help kids get the play they need to thrive.
If you are taking a vacation that involves fishing this summer, fish printing is a great way to preserve a couple of fun family vacation memories. Fish Printing, or Gyotaku, is a traditional Japanese art dating from the mid-1800s. Think of it like a pre-Instagram way of recording the size of your catch. In these days of digital media; however, it has evolved into a bit more of an art form. We had the good fortune to learn a bit more about it on vacation in Cape Cod. I wasn't sure how my 2.5 year old daughter would react to painting a fish, but she loved it. Luckily, if she hadn't we had a fake fish on hand to work with too. You can also use this method to create one-of-a-kind t-shirts, a great DIY vacation souvenirs ( I mean, who needs another tie-dye shirt!)
Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Boston free online community.
Going on outdoor summer adventures with your kids often means eating on the go, maybe picking something up at a snack bar or bringing a PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit. It can be fun to switch the focus to making a picnic the main event, and the setting is the key. Here are some outstanding picnic spots that will make your al fresco meal that much more delicious!
Ever notice how when folks talk about summers back in the day they say things like, “We just went outside and played and we survived.” Yes, surviving is a great achievement, but we can set our sights a little higher, can’t we? We’re sharing our SUMMER OF PLAY with hundreds of ideas for playtime with your kids. So Red Rover those neighborhood kids right on over and teach the whole crew a few of those games that used to occupy the Brady brood in their AstroTurf backyard, and do more than survive this summer. Play!
I’ve probably seen more than my fair share of circus shows, reviewing just about every one that comes through town. I’ve watched as the rise of cirque nouveau, popularized by Cirque du Soleil, has reinvigorated the old three-ring model and rejuvenated children’s theater with amazing new performance troupes. But, even Cirque has started to fall a little flat for me. I’ve been waiting for something new to knock my clown socks off. What I didn’t expect? That the people to finally do that would be a bunch of kids in rural New England.
Circus Smirkus is a youth circus troupe based in Greensboro, Vermont where kids aged 8-18 train and perform in a traveling big top tour each summer. We were able to catch their show, Anchors Away for Atlantis, in Essex Junction, Vermont last week. Both my son and I were blown away by what we saw.
I am constantly telling my kids how lucky they are to live so close to New York City—especially in the summer. From beautiful parks and beaches to a variety of attractions and entertainment, all five boroughs are family-friendly stops, whether it’s for a day, weekend or extended trip. And our sponsor NYC & Company is "spreading the news" on everything the area has to offer for parents and kids.
Kids love to role-play and act out stories and, the truth is, they don't need fancy toys or puppets to do it. The beauty of kids' imaginations is that they can be sparked by anything and the stories just seem to flow from inside of them. These simple puppets facilitate that because they put the focus on your child's imagination, not store bought puppets that are confined to preconceived roles.
This upcycled clothespin puppet craft is a perfect rainy day activity or summertime activity and can be whipped up with whatever you have lying around the house. searching for the images or drawing your own is half the fun. The whole family can even get involved in making sweet puppets for storytelling fun.
Due to a recent shift in my career path, I'm staying home with my kids this summer—all 10 weeks of it! There will be no camp to tire them out or nanny to occupy their time. Just one big SUMMER OF PLAY. And one thing that really works for summer play is water; those kids are going to want to get wet!
You may already be navigating your summer days using our SUMMER FUN LIST GENERATOR. Our family started a Boredom Busters jar: a painted Mason jar full of ideas to keep the kiddies busy. Anyone complaining of boredom can open it and pick out an activity. Many of the ideas come from the Mommy Poppins' 100 Summer Play Activities List. And many more are water-based, like the 25 cool and splishy-splashy water activities below.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara