Simple Ideas for Unplugged, Low-Tech Summer Fun

School’s out and now it’s summer! The kids are ready, but are you? With a little preparation now and a few supplies, you will be able to keep those kiddos busy, happy and exhausted all summer long. Cue some sanity for mom!

Looking for more kid-friendly activities? Check out our summer fun family guide!

Bursting Bubbles

All kids love bubbles, and the bigger the bubbles, the better. So create your own giant bubble recipe in a large bucket or baby pool.

Combine 12 cups water, 1 cup dish soap, 1 cup corn flour and 2 tablespoons baking powder and gently stir. Let mixture sit for at least an hour, then gently stir and start making bubbles.

Try out different tools for bubble blowing such as a Hula-Hoop, toilet paper rolls, diving rings, a coat hanger or a plastic bottle with the bottom cut out.

Super Sponge Balls

Grab a package of kitchen sponges at your local dollar or discount store to create homemade sponge balls. These are great alternatives to water balloons because they don’t make a mess and are reusable all summer long.

Start by cutting the sponges into even strips, about four strips per sponge. Use two different color sponges and alternate the colors. Lay strips on top of each other, four strips wide by four strips high. Cinch together tightly across the middle with a rubber band or string. Fluff sponge pieces out into a ball and soak in water for endless outdoor fun.

One idea: Use chalk to draw a bullseye target to throw the sponges at for points.

Get Noodley

Stock up on foam pool noodles, easily found at your local dollar store for just a buck each or less.

Turn six pool noodles into rings and attached the circular rings with duct tape. You can do two rows of three and attach the rows together. Lay rings on the ground to play hopscotch, bean bag toss or leave the rings unattached to create an agility obstacle course.

Sprinkle Away

Or, turn that foam pool noodle into a backyard sprinkler. With a skewer or ice pick, puncture the pool noodle randomly around all sides of the noodle.

At one end of the noodle, stuff a piece of foam or a plastic cap, then duct tape the end securely. Decide where you want your sprinkler to be, whether on the ground or hanging from a tree. Slide the end of your hose into the foam noodle so it holds securely.

Turn on the hose water and watch the water sprinkler fun begin!

Sand Memories

Nothing says summer like beach sand, so capture that summer sand and turn it into clay that you can bake and keep.

Mix 1 1/2 cups sand, 1 1/2 cups corn flour, 2 cups baking soda and 1 1/2 cups water in an old medium-sized saucepan (the sand may scratch pan when stirred). Heat over medium-high heat and continually stir until the mixture thickens like a thick dough.

Empty dough onto a baking sheet and allow to cool under a damp dish towel. Once cooled, knead until smooth and model your sand clay into anything you desire. Keep dough under a damp towel when it is not being used so it doesn’t dry out. Bake clay designs at 100 degrees for two hours and allow to cool in the oven before removing.

Amped Up Lemonade

Break out that lemonade stand, but this year sell homemade summer lemon playdough instead.

Combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add yellow liquid watercolor paint or food coloring for a bright yellow color. Heat over medium-low heat until the dough comes together.

Let cool completely and then knead and store in airtight containers.

Backyard Haven

To create a shady hideout in the backyard, use a Hula-Hoop and an old bed sheet or shower curtain. Attach the bed sheet or shower curtain to the hoop with duct tape and then hang with string from a high branch in a tree.

Create a giant dry erase board by hanging up a clear shower curtain liner against a fence or wall. Then provide a basket of colorful dry erase markers for an outdoor art wall.

Cool treats

When all else fails, a cold popsicle on a hot summer day will please everyone.

Make your own Nutella ice pop by placing 1 cup Cool Whip, 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons Nutella in a blender. Process until fully blended, then pour into popsicle molds or ice cube trays with sticks inserted.

Freeze for a few hours, then relax and enjoy those summer days.

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This story was originally published on May 21, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information. 


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