As July rolls into August, kids begin getting that back to school itch. Bored with their own games, pushing your imagination to the limit trying to come up with new ways to entertain them, the next two weeks are often the most difficult of the whole summer. Here are a few ideas to help keep little ones busy for a few hours.

Sponge game

You’ll need more than one child, a large bucket and a small bucket for each team, and several standard kitchen sponges. You can either run this as a relay between two teams of children or a race between two children. The large bucket sits at the start line, filled with water and a few sponges. The smaller bucket remains empty and stands some distance away (equal if the teams are equal or place one a little closer to give smaller children a handicap). At your whistle or signal, children grab a wet sponge from the large bucket of water, runs across to their smaller bucket and squeezes water from the sponge into the bucket then races back to the start line again. As a relay, the next child can start toward the small bucket when the first sponge hits the water again. The first team or child to fill their small bucket with water wins. Celebrate a successful race with a refreshing fruit water drink.

Water paint

After all that running, and with those buckets of water already standing by, a little painting after naptime might be in order. Using either the sponges or fresh paint brushes, have your children paint on sidewalks and fences with water, creating whatever shapes they want and watching as the designs disappear with the sun. Bonus if you can figure out how to get this game to clean the dust off your car at the same time.

Sun art

When it’s time to dry out, give your children some dark-colored construction paper and help them collect various pieces of nature shapes – twigs, leaves, cicada shells, rocks, whatever interests them that you can stomach. Have your child arrange these items on their paper in a place that gets hit by the sun. Be sure to weight the paper down either with the collected items or with a few extra rocks just to be sure things don’t blow away. Leave the paper in the sun for a few hours and come back. Remove the nature items to see how the sun has created a picture for them.

What other summer games can you recommend to keep little people busy during the dog days of summer?

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