Thursday 30 June 2016

10 Great Ideas to Keep Kids Occupied this Summer

Today my three boys are off for two whole months!! And while one part of me is thinking "Brilliant, I don't have to stick to the clock for a couple of months" the entire rest of me is thinking "WHAT am I going to do with them for the next 66 days..!". It would be great to be able to say I'll just run them around outdoors for most of the day, but we all know an Irish summer can be slightly unpredictable at the best of times.

With a 2 year old, 4 year old and 9 year old, it's important that these activities are age appropriate and adaptable for everyone. So here's 10 great ideas I've tucked into my back pocket over the years to keep kids occupied come rain or shine!

Sunny Days...

1. Paddling pool
It's an oldie but a goodie. As soon as blue skies become the norm and temperatures start to soar I take out the paddling pool. Such a great activity to keep them cool and keep them busy. Water is calming too - bonus!

2. Pots of water with paint brushes
I do lots of painting (the DIY kind) and my boys always want to join in; so I had a stroke of luck one day when I discovered that filling a bucket with water and giving them a 'proper' paint brush to paint in the garden keeps them occupied for absolutely ages. The water dries out after a while, but in the meantime - thanks to the little DIYers - the fences, patio paving and garden furniture have never looked so good!!

3. Drawing with chalk
For older kids: Draw a map of your neighbourhood on the pavement. Making a map of your neighbourhood gives you and your kids a chance to explore your own neighbourhood in detail and make sense of maps.
For littles: Draw pictures on the pavement and colour in. Colouring improves motor skills and stimulates creativity, plus they love it anyway!

4. Bury something in the sand and watch them search for it.
This is such a great activity for keeping kids occupied on the beach. You could make it an evening activity and bring some wine to enjoy - sip a glass while you watch them dig!

5. Picnic
Another no-brainer when the sun comes out! For us nothing beats a good picnic. It doesn't even have to be warm outside, just dry - and preferably not too windy - and we're good to go. It can be as simple as throwing a picnic blanket onto the grass in the back garden or hiking to a spot in the forest and picnicking on logs and tree stumps. And in case you forgot, food tastes even more delicious outside!

Rainy Days...

6. Big rolls of paper
Those Ikea rolls of paper for kids are the business. For a rainy day activity we cover our kitchen table with two long lengths and it usually doesn't come off until every inch is coloured in - it brightens up the kitchen too! We've just signed up to the 'Audible Range' audio books on Amazon so I'll be popping one of the kiddie stories on in the background too. We're going to start with 'What the Ladybird Heard Next'.

7. Colouring inside a giant box with markers
My boys discovered this after we got our new TV. Now anytime anything arrives in a big box - think Ikea furniture, household items like hoovers or new toys - the box becomes a hub of creativity for the next few days.

8. Making tents
I was a master tent-maker as a child! Myself and my best friend used to create camps and forts and have the most amazing adventures. I sometimes forget how much fun it is to make a tent out of sheets, pegs, cushions and chairs. When I do remember to suggest it to the boys my house is turned upside down for a while but the fun they have is totally worth it. And if you need any inspiration check out this cool Pinterest board!

9. Library visits
I just got the Summer schedule for kids activities at the local library. There's lots to do, but even just paying the library a visit and stocking up on new stories is a great activity when it's raining outside.

10. Role play games
Pretend play activities are so much fun for little ones and a great way for children to learn about the world. Kids love to pretend! We'll be Doctors, Dentists, photographers, chefs and more! Here's a great website - - for great ideas to make games with your little ones even more fun.


  1. Great ideas, those Ikea rolls are the best!! it's often the simplest things that can keep kids amused for hours. We always stock up on crafts from Dealz and Mr Price and make a teepee out of bamboo poles and whatever sheet or blanket we have handy. My boys love indoor picnics too when it's raining out and lazy pyjama mornings. A treasure hunt can be great fun too, I remember one I did for the boys when we were still in Sydney, the first clue was out on our deck and led us to the nearest bus stop while they were busy looking in the trees for the next one I stuck another clue on the pole while they weren't looking and so on around the neighbourhood until the final clue led us to the local bakery where they had a bag of cookies with our name on it (I phoned ahead) the boys had so much fun and still never worked out how I put the clues all over the neighbourhood (the church, playground, sports field etc) my eldest thinks I went out the night before and stuck them all over the place :-)

    1. That is such a fantastic idea Alice!! Wow I bet they absolutely loved it. And the prize at the end - absolutely perfect. Will have to try a treasure hunt this week, thanks! :-)

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