Screen Free Activities To Keep Kids Cool On A Hot Day

I love the idea of sitting under the air conditioner all day and watching movies but that’s just not possible in my house with a toddler and well, lets be honest, it's not ideal. So….here’s a list of simple activities to keep your children entertained while keeping cool on those scorching Summer days.

Australian Summers can be HOT so keeping cool and calm is a priority, especially when the school holidays are stretching on and you’re running out of ideas for how to entertain the kids.

I love the idea of sitting under the air conditioner all day and watching movies but that’s just not possible in my house with a toddler and well, lets be honest, it’s not ideal. So….here’s a list of simple activities to keep your children entertained while keeping cool on those scorching Summer days.

 

Sensory Play

Quiet activities are a great option when the weather is really hot (or wet, or cold). Activities that allow your child to use their hands to manipulate materials are great for the development of fine motor skills, encourage imaginative play and are wonderfully calming.

*Play dough – play dough can be made at home or bought. It can be moulded with the hands, flattened, rolled, cut or stamped.

*Water beads – these tiny little balls absorb water and grow. They are soft, colourful and fantastic to play with.

*Coloured spaghetti – cook a few batches of spaghetti with a little food dye, let it cool and play away.

*Rainbow rice – rice can be dyed a rainbow of different colours with some food dye and a little vinegar.

*Bubbles – watching bubbles floating through the air is simple but always special.

play dough hot day

Bring The Outdoors In

When the outdoor environment isn’t welcoming, just bring the fun inside!

*Indoor forts – build a cubby inside using sheets draped over clothes horses, chairs or tables then make it cozy with cushions and soft toys.

*Inside picnic – pack a picnic basket full of goodies, set up a rug on the floor and have a special picnic in the living room.

*Treasure hunt – write clues and hide objects around the house for your children to find.

 

Water Play

Playing with cool water is the best way to escape the Summer heat but there are many more options than visiting a public pool.

*Paddling pools – set up a small pool, clam shell, tub or even bucket at home for your children to splash in.

*Washing dishes – washing dishes with cool water and plenty of bubbles can be fun on a hot day.

*Playing in the bath – having a long, cool bath is a great way to pass time.

*Floating/sinking – encourage your child to explore the concept of floating and sinking by making boats and testing the properties of different objects.

*Bath crayons – drawing in the bath tub or on their bodies with special bath crayons and soaps is a great way for your children to get clean and be creative.

*Paint the house/fence – give your child a bucket of water and a paintbrush, set them up in a shaded area and encourage them to ‘paint’ the fence or house.

*Wash  a car – using water from the hose and bubbles from a bucket to wash the car is cooling and helpful.

baby hot day activity water bucket

Cooking

If you cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Right? Or maybe not. If you choose simple foods that don’t require heat, the kitchen can be a great place to pass the time on a hot day. Think non-bake slices, icy poles, dips, smoothies or cheesecakes. Yum!

 

Out of the house

Sometimes the heat is just too much and a change of scene is needed so a trip out of the house is needed.

*Drive – if your car has air conditioner sometimes being stuck in traffic is the coolest place to be.

*Forest walk – head up into the hills and go for a walk in some well shaded forests, the temperature is sure to be much more bearable.

*Shopping centre – shopping centres are temperature controlled and will always be cool on a hot day.

*Gallery – visit a gallery and immerse your children in the arts.

*Museum – spend some time learning new and interesting facts in a lovely cool museum.

*Library – local libraries have fabulous kids sections, take some time to browse the shelves before borrowing some books to enjoy at home.

*All you can eat lunch – spend a hot afternoon in a cool restaurant grazing on the delicious foods, all you can eat style restaurants are perfect for this.

museum kids activity

More suggestions…

*Busy bags – these are a great way to learn while having fun and keeping cool.

*Stories – grab a few favourite books and enjoy reading them as a family.

*Performance – encourage your children to put on a performance; sing, dance or act out a favourite book

*Board games – pull a classic game out of the cupboard and play together.

*Card games – teach your children a new game or play an old favourite.

*Arts, craft, painting & drawing – the possibilities are endless.

*Stickers – peeling stickers off a page and sorting them or sticking them down to form an image can take a while to do and is often very satisfying.

*Lego – build a big tower, a house or other design. Lego is fantastic for imaginative play and motor skill development.

keep cool art

Dolls, cars, dress ups…..the list goes on. For more great ideas head on over to Flying Sprout’s Pinterest page and look at all the clever options to keep your little ones cool and calm on those hot Summer days.

 

Learning is Fun with M&M’s and Skittles

Skittles and M&Ms are a fantastic learning resources! Not only are they extremely motivating (who doesn’t want to eat a handful of lollies!?) they can help your child learn maths, English and science concepts.

With the end of school, parties and Christmas fast approaching, lollies will be in abundance. Before you think of stashing some away when your kids aren’t looking, consider this; Skittles and M&Ms are a fantastic learning resources! Not only are they extremely motivating (who doesn’t want to eat a handful of lollies!?) they can help your child learn maths, English and science concepts.

M&M Skittles Maths Learning FunA single mini bag of M&Ms or Skittles (the ones you buy as a multi pack) can provide loads of activity options for the little ones. You won’t need much else either, maybe just a piece of paper and some coloured pencils or textas!

Listed below is an activity to suit any of your kids aged 2-12 year olds so add a multi pack of Skittles or M&Ms to your shopping list now, then read on!

 

Predicting – Before opening the packet ask your child to predict how many lollies will be inside and what colours they will be.

You might ask: Why did you choose that amount/those colours? After opening it; were you right? Were you close? Why or why not?

toddler maths lollies

Colour Sorting – Sort the lollies according to colour.

You might ask: What colours do you have in the packet? What are some colours you don’t have? Which colour do you have the most of? Which do you have the least of?

 

Patterns – Lay out a pattern and ask your child to fill in the next few colours or fill in the missing lolly in a pattern. Alternatively, they might like to create their own pattern.

You might ask: How did you know that was the answer? Can you think of any different colours that would also be correct?

 

Counting – Ask your child to count the total number of lollies in the pack.

You might ask: If you had one more lolly, how many would you have? What if you had 2 more? 10 more? 3 less? etc

 

Graphing – Line the lollies up to create a graph. Have your child draw an outline around the lollies using the right coloured pencil/texta. Depending on your child’s skill level you might like them to rule up a proper bar graph, line graph, create a pie graph, label the graph correctly or even create a graph in Excel

You might ask: Which colour are there the most of? Which colour has the least? Which colour are there only 2 of? How many more yellow are there than green?

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Creating sums – Ask your child to create some sums (addition and subtraction is great to start with.) Depending on the number of lollies in their packet, your child may also be able to create some division or multiplication equations.

You might ask: If you added all the blue and yellow lollies together how many would there be? If you took all the green ones out of the packet, how many would be left? If you ate 3 of the red ones, how many would be left for me to eat?

 

Probability – The probability of an event occurring can be described in words (impossible, likely, certain) or with values (1/2, 20%, 3/15). Ask your child to describe the likelihood of particular colours being pulled out off the packet.

You might ask: If all the lollies were to be put back in the packet and I pulled one out randomly, what colour is it most likely to be? What is the chance of me pulling out a yellow lolly? Which colour is it impossible for me to select? Which colour has a 1 in 4 chance of being selected? There is a 20% chance orange will be selected, true or false?

 

Fractions – Calculate the fraction of each colour as part of the whole packet.

You might ask: What fraction of the packet is yellow? Can you simplify any of the fractions? What are some equivalent fractions for the red lollies?

 

Percentage – Ask your child to calculate the percentage of each colour as part of the whole packet of lollies.

You might ask: What percentage of the packet is green? If you ate all the red, green and yellow lollies what percentage of the lollies will be left?

 

Adjectives – Have your child randomly select a lolly with their eyes closed. Ask them to describe the smell, the taste and texture in as much detail as possible before guessing which colour it is. Encourage them to use all 5 senses and create a list of adjectives for each colour/flavour.

You might ask: Can you describe the lolly so that someone else would be able to picture it without seeing it? Can you explain the difference in colours without using the exact colour words?

m&m activities for kids

Tell a story – Ask your child to make up a story from a lolly’s point of view, encourage them to consider what the lolly would be experiencing.

You might ask: What is the structure of a good story (narrative)? What is the problem in your story? How will it be resolved? Who are the characters? What is the lolly thinking/feeling/seeing/hearing?

 

Experiment – Process: Place the lollies around the rim of a white bowl or plate. Slowly add water to the centre of the bowl until it reaches the lollies. Observe what happens.

Before adding water, encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen. After adding water have them look closely and make verbal observations about what they notice. For more detail on the experiment click here.

You might ask: What do you think will happen? Why? During the experiment- What can you see? Why do you think this is happening? After the experiment– Did it happen as you expected? Can you think of other situations where the same thing happens? Would you like to try the experiment with next?

 

Many of these activities can be done with any selection of coloured items such as coloured popcorn, jelly beans, gummy bears, Smarties or Fruit Loops. The items certainly don’t need to be edible for your child to work through the maths activities. Beads, sequins, pop poms or coloured craft sticks are great alternatives.

 

Learning is lots of fun when it is relaxed and especially when it is based around food! This Silly Season, consider buying some colourful lollies for your child to use as a learning tool.

Toys, Activities and Books for Travelling Toddlers

Travel is fun…but not always with a toddler, especially a bored, restless one. Keep your little one entertained and engaged with this list of tried and tested toys, activities and books for travelling toddlers.

Travel is fun…but not always with a toddler, especially a bored, restless one. Keeping your little one entertained and engaged will make travelling more relaxed for you and more fun for your child.

It is super important to keep your child amused and entertained while flying, or on long journeys by road, rail or sea, but it also pays to think about what they’ll need when you reach your destination. You might plan to be on-the-go most of the day but in those moments when you need some quiet time or your child needs to wind down before a sleep, having a quiet, independent activity on hand can be invaluable.

You want to choose a range of activities and toys that will hold your child’s interest, are age appropriate, versatile, are lightweight and also compact so they don’t take up too much room in your travel bag.

Here’s a selection of great toys, books and activities to give you inspiration when it comes to screen-free travel entertainment for your child.

 

Educational Busy Bags

Busy Bags are the perfect way to keep your child engaged and learning while travelling. These Toddler Busy Bags are colourful, compact and provide different task options in one little bag. You can select activity bags to target specific skills and concepts such as numbers 1-10, making patterns, colour awareness and threading.

Flying Sprout’s Carrot Busy Bag

Stickers

Keeping little hands and minds active is made easy with stickers. Peeling the stickers builds fine motor skills. If you choose reusable stickers with background scenes, like these offered by Tiger Tribe, they can engage your child’s imagination and be used as inspiration for story telling.

Tiger tribe sticker book My little town
Tiger Tribe Sticker Activity Set – My Little Town

Finger Puppets

Puppets are a wonderful way to encourage your child to tell (or listen to) stories. They can be used to perform puppet shows or as little companions that can easily fit in a pocket. This set of 6 finger puppets come in a handy storage bag.

Flying Sprout puppet busy bag
Puppet Busy Bag – Watermelon 2

Puzzle Books

Activity pads and colouring pages are an easy way to occupy your child’s concentration. If they have the dexterity; colouring within the lines, tracing and completing mazes are small, satisfying challenges they can work on. This activity book is made especially for younger children.

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The Usborne Little Childrens Travel Activity Book

Magnetic Drawing Pads

These are a fantastic, clean, all-in-one way of drawing. Magnetic sketching pads can be used for drawing or playing games like tic-tac-toe. Having the drawing instrument attached means there is no risk of misplacing a lid or even a whole pencil or texta, plus they won’t mark the furniture! Quack makes this compact magnetic drawing pad.

Quack Magnasketch Art Board
Quack Magnasketch Art Board

Lift-the-Flap Books

Interactive books are always popular with little ones. The joy of lifting a flap, opening a door or peeking behind a window means they are likely to want to read one book over and over again. Spot is a classic lift-the-flap series. Spot Goes on Holiday is perfect to take traveling.

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Spot Goes on Holiday Book

Quiet Books

These are not traditional books in the sense that they don’t tell a story, rather each page has a simple activity to entertain and build fine motor skills. Quiet books are fabric, often felt, and stitched to include things like buttons, laces and velcro shapes. A great deal of work goes into the creation of these books so they are not cheap but are a worthwhile purchase. This one is made in the Philippines and money raised from it’s sales helps the local women.

Quiet Book for Toddler travel
Quiet Book by Story Time

Look and Find Books

Exploring all the details in a densely illustrated book is like a visual treasure hunt. Collections like Where’s Wally and Seek and Find are full of amusing and surprising illustrations while books in the I Spy collection contain photographs of many items on each page.

i-spy
I Spy 4 Picture Riddle Book

A Favourite Story

Having a favourite book on hand can provide your child with a familiar comfort when their surroundings are not so familiar. Reading a story can have an instant calming effect and help transition your child to sleep time. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a favourite of many children and parents alike.

ERIC CARLE
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Drawing

If you’re not sure about letting your toddler loose with pencils or crayons, drawing with water is a fantastic idea. Add a little magic into the mix with these mess free water pictures by Melissa & Doug.

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Melissa Doug Water Wow!

A Favourite Toy

Taking a favourite toy along while travelling can be really reassuring for your child and can providing them with entertainment as well as comfort. Just don’t lose it!

mini diggers set of 5
Mini Diggers Set of 5
Ragtales - Tilly Rag Doll
Ragtales – Tilly Rag Doll

Wearable Toys

Often when travelling there are unexpected delays or unavoidable queues. In these situations it is not always convenient to search through your bag for something to entertain your child. Here’s a great idea from @critterz_, a wearable toy! The necklaces each include a toy figure so your child can wear their entertainment.

shark-necklace
Critter Necklaces by @critterz_

There are many, many great toys and activities to keep toddlers entertained while travelling. When shopping for items to pack on your next adventure make sure your choices are appropriate to your child’s age, will hold their interest for more than a few minutes, are lightweight and compact and will also provide them with entertainment once you reach the destination.

30 Ways for Kids to Collect and Keep Travel Memories

Photos are a fantastic way of storing memories while travelling but they are certainly not the only way. Here are 30 other child friendly options for collecting and keeping memories of your next adventure.

Having a camera built in to our phones means capturing moments and storing memories is easier than ever. It’s super convenient to flick through digital photo albums and relive special travel experiences. Children particularly enjoy taking a digital walk down memory lane.

pexels-photo-129426

Photos are a fantastic way of storing memories while travelling but they are certainly not the only way. Here are a few other child friendly options for collecting and keeping memories of your next adventure:

 

Videos

Videos are a great way to truly capture a moment. You can record your kids in action, whether that be splashing around in the water, eating a meal or trekking through a forest. Alternatively, you (or your children) might like to create a video diary or interview people you meet along the way. Videos, even more so than photographs, can truly record a moment in all it’s glory. Plus they provide a real talking point that helps make memories more relatable for kids, especially young ones. With things like Go Pro you can even record hands–free.

 

Specialty Books

If you are visiting new counties, major landmarks or popular tourist destinations you may be able to find engaging children’s books that capture the destination in print. There are fabulous sticker books, pop-up books, children’s map books, atlases and stories published to engage, inform and educate young readers. Like photographs, books are easy to store, look through and revisit again and again.

9781409582373
First Sticker Book London – available from www.bookdepository.com

Collections

Starting a collection of items from each location you visit is lots of fun for children of all ages. Your child might like to choose something different each time or keep it the same; postcards, mini landmarks and key rings are easy to find and generally kind on the budget. Alternatively, they could fill a bottle with a little sand from each location you visit, collect admission tickets, boarding passes or perhaps collect a pebble from each location, If you are visiting multiple countries with your children, they might like to collect stamps or coins from each place.

pebble collection

Journals/Diaries

Travel journals can be as simple or complex as your child chooses to make them. They could create an elaborate scrapbook or simply write a sentence in a notebook to reflect on each day of their adventure.

Your child might like to write a letter or postcard home every chance they get, that way when the adventure is over they will have an instant collection of memories, neatly packed away in envelopes waiting to be relived.

If your child is school aged, they could post their correspondence to school. Their class would have the opportunity to read the mail and follow your child’s adventure before returning the mail to your child when they get back to school. The lovely thing about this is the writing will capture your child’s personality at that age; the spelling, letter formation and pictures can be looked back on in many years to come.

love-heart-hand-romantic

Maps

Recording your journey on a map is another fantastic way to keep a visual memory of places travelled. You might like to place coloured stickers on a map or upgrade to a scratch map or pin board map. They are easy to use, educational and look fantastic hung on a wall. Not only are maps great to show where your child has travelled but they are handy to use before setting off to show distances, places and create some excitement about adventures to be had.

BBJB-scratch-map-web
Scratch Map – available from National Geographic

While there are many options, most of the time taking photographs is the simplest, easiest and most convenient way to capture your memories. But that doesn’t mean the photos can’t be interactive. Professional printing services now offer a huge range of options when it comes to creating something a little more exciting. You can create puzzles, clothing, mugs, cushions, even snow globes with your happy snaps. Plus, of course, there are photo books. With these books you are not limited to images, you can add headings, stories, captions; any text, to accompany each photograph and build a great resource about your experiences.

Regardless of which method you and your child/ren choose to store memories, the most important thing is to make them in the first place! Don’t concentrate too hard on taking those photos or finding items for a collection when you could instead be totally present and immersed in your experience, making some amazing memories you’ll keep with you forever.

pin map

In summary here is a list of ways you and your child can collect and keep memories of your travels:

  • take photographs
  • take a video diary
  • record video interviews
  • buy location specific sticker books
  • buy location specific pop-up books
  • buy children’s map books
  • buy an atlases
  • buy location specific stories
  • collect postcards
  • collect mini landmarks
  • collect key rings
  • create a bottle of sand
  • keep admission tickets
  • keep boarding passes
  • collect pebbles
  • collect stamps
  • collect coins
  • write a journal or diary
  • make a scrapbook
  • write letters to themself
  • write letters to their school
  • place stickers on a map
  • use a scratch map
  • use a pin board map
  • create a photo book
  • create photo puzzles
  • create printed clothing
  • create photo mugs
  • create printed cushions
  • create a photo snow globes

Activity Ideas for the School Holidays (or Any Weekend)

While the school holidays are now finished for most of us here in Australia, that doesn’t mean we should forget about having fun for the next ten weeks.

Here are a few more activities you might like to try on the weekends to mix things up a little.

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Fresh air, greenery and exercise do good things for your soul. Bushwalking doesn’t have to be strenuous to be rewarding. Get outside and feel the freedom and peace of a forest.

Holiday suggestion pampering

As teachers and/or parents you spend an enormous part of everyday looking after others. Now that it is holiday time, take the opportunity to do something for yourself. Treat yourself to something special that will make you feel good for more than a moment. You deserve it.

Holiday suggestion picnic

Picnics are always good fun, especially with a group of friends and a little sunshine. You can pack an elaborate basket of goodies or just pick something up on the way to your location. Maybe you could go somewhere with a view and enjoy the sights as well.

Holiday suggestion movie
Watching an old favourite movie is a little like cuddling up in an old oversized jumper; familiar and comforting. Take an few hours and treat yourself to a familiar favourite.
I’d choose Dirty Dancing. What would you watch?
 —
Holiday suggestion botanic gardens
There are so many wonderful gardens and green spaces we can explore. Even if the weather is cold or it is hard to get yourself out of the house, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy the outing if you make the effort.
I was busy doing many out door activities this past week thanks to the beautiful Queensland Winter weather but also made sure to spend some quality learning time with my son at home. Here he is building on his understanding of numbers 1-5.
 —
learning to count 1-5

Activity Ideas for the School Holidays

We are now halfway through the school holidays so hopefully you’re feeling relaxed and have been totally enjoying yourself. In the previous post I listed 40 things to do in the school holidays. If you have read that list you will have come across the following suggestions and if you haven’t read the list, perhaps you might like to visit it now.

These ideas were posted on Instagram during the week. I love the background and font colours, I hope they make your eyes happy too.

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Now that most of us are on holidays, I’ll post some suggestions of how you might like to relax. Local libraries have an AMAZING collection of items you can borrow, not just books! Most libraries also have great free or low cost activities running throughout the weeks too.

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There are so many things we overlook in our own towns and cities. These holidays consider playing tourist for one day in your own city and enjoy the adventure.

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When you bake a tasty treat in your own oven, not only do you get to eat it hot and fresh, you are also treated to the lovely smells that will fill your home.

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Taking the time to write a thoughtful letter or postcard to someone you care about is time well spent. Plus it’s always lovely to receive something personal and thoughtful in the mail so you’d be giving the special recipient a lovely surprise.

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Camping is a great adventure but if you’re after something requiring a little less effort (& a hot shower) you can set up a tent in your backyard. If that’s a little chilly, then make a fort in your lounge room and camp out there. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

40 Things To Do in the School Holidays

Simple ideas on for how to spend your time off.

FINALLY the holidays have rolled around and it is time for you to enjoy that much anticipated ‘me time.’ If you are fresh out of ideas or looking for a little extra inspiration, hopefully you’ll find some helpful suggestions below.

Here I go, 40 Things To Do in the School Holidays:

  • Visit a museum
  • Take a free walking tour of your city
  • Bake some cookies
  • Try out a new craft
  • Plant something in your garden
  • Play your favourite tunes and have a dance
  • Have a bubble bath
  • Try a new food, restaurant or cafe
  • Go away for the night
  • Visit a nursery
  • Go to an art gallery
  • Camp out in your back yard (or lounge room)
  • Have a potluck meal with friends
  • Visit your nearest zoo or animal reserve
  • Watch an old time favourite movie
  • Head to the local library
  • Take a bush walk
  • Watch a sunrise
  • Try a new recipe
  • Go for a bike ride; most cities offer bike rentals
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Search the local newspaper for free activities to attend
  • Write and send a letter or postcard
  • Look through some old photographs
  • Read a new book
  • Walk along the beach
  • List three tasks you must complete and a reward for doing each
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Catch up on films at home with popcorn and treats
  • Research and write a list of places you’d like to visit
  • Prepare a meal with all colours of the rainbow
  • Buy some new stationary
  • Visit a local farmer’s market
  • Ride on public transport to a new location
  • Buy a bunch of flowers to brighten up your home
  • Treat yourself to a massage or beauty treatment
  • Write down five things you are truly grateful for
  • Do some goal setting; what do you hope to achieve in the next year?
  • Head to your nearest botanic gardens
  • Get dressed up and go on a date, by yourself

If you have some suggestions, I’d LOVE to hear from you!