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Guest Post: Top 10 List of Things to do with Toddlers this Summer

This is a guest post by Stephanie from Always Just a Mom. She has some great ideas for keeping your toddlers busy this summer. Be sure to stop by her blog and say hi!

Hi!  I’m Stephanie and I’m stopping by today from my blog Always Just A Mom!  I’m a stay-at-home mom to String Bean (3) and Biscuit (2) who are just 13 1/2 months apart, so we’re always doing something!  This summer has started off HOT!  I’ve had to adjust the way we do things around our home because of the heat and the fact that I’ve got two very active toddlers…so I thought I would share with you my…

Top 10 List of things to do with Toddlers this Summer!

1.  WATER:  Get them in the water and get them drinking water!  We have invested in a small inflatable pool (found on sale at Toys R’ Us for $69.99) but even if you don’t have the money for the pool get a sprinkler!  (I got a great ring sprinkler for $6.00 at Walmart the other day…perfect for toddlers because you adjust the height and strength of the water!)
It’s also important to get them to drink water.  This has been a challenge so we invested in some fun CamelBak water bottles for the boys…they now reach for them in the fridge.  I let them pick them out (we had a 20% coupon from REI) and we carry them with us all the time now!  You can also get great reusable kid water bottles at Target ($3.00)!
2.  PARK:   Get up and go to the park.  The beds can be made in the afternoon, the dishes can get done later.  Get your kids outside before it’s super hot.  We are very lucky to have a park up the road…we can actually walk to…but pack some granola bars, some water and get to the park!
3.  PUDDING:  Make pudding with your kiddos.  This is great for your toddlers!  Get a Tupperware container, put the pudding mix in, add the 2 cups of milk, secure the lid and let them shake it until their little hearts content!  Then stick it in the fridge and they’ve made pudding.  It’s such a little thing and they will have helped make the dessert for that evening (add some whipped topping and a few bits of candy and you’ve really made something fancy for dinner). 
4.  GARDEN:  No you don’t need an acre of land or a green thumb.  Go grab a box of triscuits or wheat thins that have the plant the seed logo on the box.  All the directions are on the back and you can plant fun herbs in your house in a small pot (Terra Cotta pots are like $2.99 at Joanns).
5.  NIGHT OUT:  Let your kids be outside after dark.  This is really tough for a mom like me because I’m all about the schedule but I usually just let them sleep an extra 30 minutes or so on a day we’re going to do this, then let them run around outside as the street lights are coming on.  They love playing in the backyard with flashlights and chasing lighting bugs!  It’s just a change for them…it’s also fun to give them a yummy Popsicle or some other messy, cool treat.
6.  MAKE ICE CREAM:  Some of you are thinking…WHAT?!?  Make ice cream with toddlers…well not the ice cream maker ice cream.  Take some fresh fruit (strawberries), blend it with some ice and some milk, pour it into little containers, freeze for 20 minutes, add some craft Popsicle sticks and let them freeze for a few more hours…you made ice cream.  Yes…your toddler will think you are AMAZING!  (Remember they are impressed with very simple things!)
7.  TAKE PICTURES:  Take pictures of everything they are doing.  Let them have fun and pose and be silly.  Just try to capture all those summer events.  You can later make them into fun little cards/notes for family far away and share a little of their summer with them.  Very easy!  Don’t want to pay for printing pictures…just use your computer printer, print on regular paper, cut it out, glue to some fun cardstock or a card you already have and just let them “color” a little note.

8.  THANK YOUs:  My kids love to paint with those little water paints (little cup of water, get the hard paint color wet, make some pictures).  We use those for Thank You notes.  They paint them and then I hold on to them throughout the year to send as “thank yous” to family and friends when they receive a gift or have a special day with someone.  They have painted them, and then I write the words they want me to write over the painting.  It’s just a little more personal and it makes them part of the process!!!  (Who doesn’t want a cute little water color painting from a toddler hanging on their fridge door!)

9.  INDOOR PICNIC:  It’s HOT!  I hate the heat.  Summer is my LEAST favorite time of year.  Plan an indoor picnic.  Put on a movie, get some cheese, crackers, grapes, and juice cups and sit on a blanket in front of the TV.  Just changing the environment where they eat and getting to watch TV while they eat a meal (something we rarely do) is a noteworthy event!  This can be done for dinner with PB&Js just sayin’!
10.  PLAY IN THE MUD:  Let your kids play in the mud.  Although I have two very rowdy “BOYS” and they are all boy…let your girls play in mud.  You can put it in a little plastic tub and let them just put their feet in it…mud is fun!!  It’s messy, it’s a pain to clean up, it’s a picture you’ll cherish and it’s fun you can’t replace!

I hope you enjoyed my Top 10 and I hope you try a couple ideas!  These are nothing Earth Shattering but sometimes it’s the little things we forget to do!  Summer is here and like the lyrics say “There’s a 104 days to summer vacation…” enjoy these days and enjoy your little ones!!!  Have a great summer and thanks for letting me share a little bit of me with you!!!  Look forward to seeing you over at Always Just a Mom!


Guest Post: Breakfast Basket

This is a guest post from Amanda at Gratefully Growing in Grace. Please stop by Amanda’s blog, you won’t be sorry!

My name is Amanda and I’m so excited to be writing my first guest post for the Coolest Family on the Block! I wonder if they will invite me to be an honorary member of their cool family… I’m visiting from Gratefully Growing in Grace where I write about baby, toddler, and preschool activities, crafts I attempt, recipes I manage to cook successfully, and as any good mommy blog includes, cute stories, photos, and videos of my children. My kiddos are spectacular and I try to be an equally spectacular mommy.

As I wrote about in an Easter post on my blog, instead of giving something up for Lent this year, I decided to add something good into our lives. In order to include my three year old, Mini Me, and my now 10 month old, Little Lady, I came up with the idea of reading a Bible story at breakfast. I used to read my way through breakfast and lunch in my pre-mommy days, before I had the joys of spoon-feeding applesauce and getting up from the table four times in one meal to refill cups, grab an extra rag for spills, etc etc etc. I thought my book-loving children might also enjoy an extra excuse to read during the day. We have a great toddler Bible so that was the first resource I brought to the table.

Mini Me loved our breakfast reading from the get-go, which was no surprise since he adores reading any other time of the day. Little Lady could have cared less at first – she was still pretty little. We would read the short story, talk about the picture, and say a little prayer. It took about 3 minutes, and then it was back to brekist, as Mini Me says. After our 40 days of reading a Bible story at breakfast (okay, maybe only 36 or so because a few days breakfast got hectic what with the applesauce spooning and cup filling, and Mommy forgot), we thought it was so much fun to read at breakfast that we should just continue past Easter.

I added a few resources to the pile and then discovered we needed a basket. We have our toddler Bible (which I have entirely committed to memory at this point) and a set of Bible touch-and-feel story and picture cards. We don’t do the touching part at breakfast or Moses’ basket in the rushes would be covered in oatmeal. We have Little Visits with Jesus that I was very excited about, but it is still a bit too advanced for Mini Me, so that doesn’t get much use yet. We have a couple sets of flashcards – ABCs and 3-letter words for our budding reader, as well as the first set of BOB books since Mini Me is starting to read(ish). We also have a set of Brain Quest cards for 3 year olds that are a daily favorite. There aren’t many things geared specifically toward Little Lady, but for now she loves looking at the pictures and hearing the words of anything we read. She has also learned to fold her hands and pray so she participates in that (provided the prayers only last 2.5 seconds). In addition, I grab any other book off the bookshelf if I have a second.

I never intended our breakfast basket materials to be entirely educational… it is filled with things I quickly grabbed one day that I knew would last us more than a day at a time, unlike a book with a single story in it. Single stories work fine but for my own sanity I need something that is slightly different every day instead of reading That’s Not My Monster every morning.

Also, don’t be fooled by the name of the basket. We also dig into it during lunch or supper if we feel like it – or if Mommy forgets during breakfast – and I know I can always count on Mini Me to remind me about the basket at some meal during the day. We have always been a chatty bunch at mealtimes, but pulling an item out of our breakfast basket just adds a twist to our conversation. The teacher inside me also has to admit that I like squeezing in a few extra minutes of literacy time, too.

As much as milk and toast, our breakfast basket has become a staple of our daily breakfast tradition. Bon appetit!

Amanda is the author of Gratefully Growing in Grace where she blogs about baby, toddler, and preschool activities, crafts she attempts, and recipes she manages to cook successfully.
Please stop by Amanda’s blog and let her know how much you appreciated her guest post!

*Disclaimer: No affiliate links are used in this post*

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