Water parks, amusement parks, vacations, and pool visits are all part of a family-friendly summer. But when you do not want to get out, or you just need ideas for functional or inexpensive ideas on your own turf, check out these make-it-yourself summer fun contraptions. Build them with your kids!
Make your own Backyard Water Park with these very easy ideas from Disney Family Fun's H2Ohhh! article These water crafts include a Super Sprinkler, a Cool-Off Zone, a Bulls-Eye Blast, and a Zoom Flume.
If you are willing and able to spend a little more money and time, take on this project: Best Slip 'n Slide from WiredGeekDad. Initially getting the idea and instructions from Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share, WiredGeekDad included photos and advice to pass along to other families who want to create a slipping and sliding contraption that really does look better than the original.
- Over at Wisebread, you can make what normally is an expensive item by mixing it in your kitchen. All you need is a bag of play sand, some cornstarch, water, and your kids will be having great fun with this recipe for Moon Sand!
- If you are great with a set of tools and want the challenge, here are plans for a do-it-yourself sand and water table from EricsProjects.
- If you're not savvy with tools, or just want a simpler version of a sand box, purchase play sand from your local home improvement store and partially fill a shallow, sturdy cardboard box. Add matchbox cars, kid-safe gardening tools, sandbox toys, or small, plastic animals for some imaginary fun.
- Some great backyard games for older kids can be found at Yahoo! Sports: Five Homemade Backyard Games to Play This Summer. Yes, you can play Bocce Ball without having to buy a game set, and construct your own BAGGO boards after a quick trip to the hardware store.
- Outdoor Math Activities for Preschoolers has great ideas to get little bodies moving and little brains working.
Including your children in preparing these homemade activities is a perfect way for them to practice a variety of skills. Whether you have teenagers or toddlers, here are some skills that they will build upon while building with you:
- following directions
- problem solving
- fine motor skills
- use of tools
Contributor's note: I made the Super Sprinkler with my children. It really is a five-minute project, and has been so much fun. Ditto for the sandbox in a (cardboard) box. Amazing, the simple things kids love!