All stay-at-home moms know it can be challenging to entertain kids during the summer, school breaks, and open afternoons and evening hours. My kids regularly ask me to play with them or immediately default to wanting to watch a show or play games on the tablet. We limit screen time to about 1 hour a day, which leaves a lot more hours to fill with interactive and engaging kids’ activities. Here are a few simple kids’ activities to encourage imaginative play, also featuring Jubilant balance bikes!
1. Make Homemade Sidewalk Paint
Homemade sidewalk paint is super easy to whip up using any color of food coloring. You can even add glitter or fragrances if you want. We made simple colored chalk paint and my kids loved painting the sidewalk in front of our house! Just be careful to use mild, water-soluble ingredients that won’t damage your sidewalk or driveway. You can find our easy DIY sidewalk chalk paint tutorial at the bottom of this post!
2. Learn New Skills with a Balance Bike
My kids often sleep better if they burn some energy by playing outside. Outdoor activities can include jumping on our trampoline, riding their motorize kid’s ATV, or riding bikes. My two-year-old is too young to ride a bike, but she is learning new skills with her new pink balance bike.
These versatile Jubilant Balance Bikes allow your child to skip the training wheel stage and begin learning bike riding skills from the start. Children as young as 18 months can ride independently on a balance bike and transition to a pedal bike as early as 3 years old.
We think the Jubilant Balance Bike design is especially unique because it can be sized to fit a wide range of kids. The entire frame can flip to lower or raise the bike seat height. We initially set up the bike with the frame sloping upward, which ended up being too high for my younger daughter. We flipped the frame upside down so it sloped downward, which significantly lowered the seat level so my 2-year-old daughter could easily maneuver the bike by herself. As she grows we can change the frame again, allowing the bike to grow as she grows!
Balance bikes are better learning tools than a conventional bike with training wheels because your child learns skills of balancing and maneuvering that will transfer over to riding a big-kid bike. Training wheels can cause a child to feel unstable and not fully in control, while a balance bike responds to a child’s movement, allowing them to grow in confidence as they learn how to turn and go faster. Kids can essentially walk these bikes along, moving forward by pushing off of the ground with their feet and slowing down by using their feet as a brake. The bike only goes as fast as a child wants to! My older daughter easily transitioned to a big-kid bike on the first few tries after several years using a balance bike. Learn more about Jubilant Balance Bikes here!
Jubilant Balance Bike Highlights
- Reversible frame design provides the greatest seat height range of any balance bike from 11″ to 19.5″.
- Tires are made of a special foam that is durable, lightweight, and provides exceptional grip for young riders.
- Quick adjust seat clamp will let you adjust the seat height without tools.
- Padded seat is designed for young children to ride comfortably for an extended time.
- Comes in several colors and with a race plate and decal sheet containing both a green or magenta sticker.
3. Go On a Backyard Scavenge Hunt
Make backyard play even more intriguing by sending your kids on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Kids love exploring and discovering new things. You can make a game out of finding things around the yard! Create a list of “treasures” for your kids to find and offer a prize for completing the outdoor scavenger hunt. Possible treasures could include an interesting rock, tiny shells, a bug, a nest, or colorful flowers.
4. Play with a Stomp Rocket
My kids and their cousins love playing with stomp rockets. Somehow the action of putting the foam rocket onto the stomp launcher and jumping on it to make it launch into the sky can easily keep kids entertained for up to an hour. When my kids play with the cousins they take turns launching the rocket, a good way to practice deferring to friends and waiting for a turn. Stomp rockets are just simple and energetic fun!
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5. Have a Snack Picnic
My kids love having picnics for snack time. They also love when I join them which also creates an opportunity for me to spend some quality time with the kids during the day. Sometimes we make fun snack plates for our picnic and other times we just bring a bag of pretzels outside and look up at the sky or play with bubbles. Backyard picnics are fun and easy and transform backyard play into a memorable afternoon activity!
Easily mix up colorful sidewalk chalk paint using a few simple ingredients. Kids will enjoy helping to make DIY chalk paint too!
DIY Chalk Paint Ingredients
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
2 tbsp. baking soda
3-4 drops food coloring
To make DIY sidewalk chalk paint, mix together the water, cornstarch and baking soda until fully combined. The baking soda will help the cornstarch from getting all goopy. Add several drops of food coloring to make any color of DIY chalk paint. Kids will have lots of fun painting this homemade chalk paint onto the sidewalk! Food coloring won’t stain the sidewalk but other colorants such as soap dye could stain, so be sure to use water-soluble colorants.
We found that food coloring easily washes off the sidewalk with a sprinkling of water and leaves a little bit of white cornstarch residue behind, which easily dries up and wears off.
How do you entertain your kids when they have free time? It’s important for families to spend time together and it’s also beneficial for kids to learn how to play by themselves. Every day with little kids holds something new to explore or discover!
Katie enjoys all things creative; DIY projects, photography, decorating and family adventures. She feels blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids and many artistic outlets.