Summer Bucket List for Moms Who Want to Engage

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Last year, I pinned many a “Bucket List” to my Summer Pinterest Board. I even printed off some blank ones and had each of the kids fill one out. We actually managed to complete most of the ideas on the bucket lists.

The thing that I noticed about our lists though was they were geared towards the kids. It may have involved me in terms of preparing activities or taking the kids places, but I’m going to admit honestly that I was not truly engaged in the activities.

Don't just watch their childhood happen…get in there and live it with them!Image Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

I have come to some realizations lately due in large part to the fact that my oldest son is now an adult. His 18th Birthday was a bit of a wake-up call for me, an awakening to how fleeting these years are. I still have many younger kids and I have the chance to create memories with them.

The way that I have been doing things is to create situations that they may remember but they may not remember my part in them. 

In being busy and working hard to gather supplies and instructions for those awesome Summer crafts and in taking the time to make the fun, creative snacks and meals, I sometimes miss out on the real moments, the kisses, the hugs, the chasing in the grass, the laughter.

I am creating this printable Bucket List for Moms Who Want to Engage for me and moms like me, those who feel like their kids’ childhoods are slipping away.

I will continue my honesty by stating that some of the things on this list will be a stretch for me. I don’t even like being outside. It will be hard for me to set aside the dishes and the to-do list and get down in the grass with my kids. But I will.

Let’s make this summer about treasuring moments and creating memories that last for our kids as well as for ourselves. Are you in?

  • Have a picnic sitting on the grass with the kids
  • Play tag in the yard
  • Sit outside and read the kids a book
  • Actually participate in a water fight
  • Take the kids to a parade and soak in their excitement
  • Hopscotch with the kids
  • Draw each child’s outline with sidewalk chalk and add positive adjectives inside
  • Buy a roll of pennies or dimes and fill the sandbox to watch the kids hunt for buried treasure
  • Skip while holding hands
  • Go for ice cream and let the kids take as long as they want choosing flavours
  • Get dirty
  • Lay on the lawn long after dark and point at stars
  • Play hooky for a day from “life” and play with the kids

Summer Bucket List for Moms Who Want to be More IntentionalImage Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

  • Swing on swings, slide down the slide, truly discover a playground
  • Build a sandcastle or let the kids bury you to your arm pits in the sand
  • Play hide-and-seek
  • Blow bubbles
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the Farmer’s Market with no agenda
  • Blast the music, pick up one of the kids and dance like no one is watching!
  • Go berry picking and learn to make jam together with the kids
  • Stop and literally smell the flowers
  • Hula hoop badly
  • Lose an afternoon in the library
  • Play “I-Spy” and actually pay attention
  • Ask the kids about their dreams
  • Colour with crayons
  • Do the hokey-pokey
  • Worry less, laugh more
  • Teach the kids to speak Pig Latin
  • Go hiking
  • Build a block tower
  • Have a games night at home
  • Create a technology free day – no phones, no TV, no computers
  • Explore our community like tourists
  • Whisper
  • Giggle
  • Build a blanket fort on a rainy day, climb inside and snuggle while you trace letters on the kids’ backs
  • Splash at a spray park
  • Jump rope
  • Create and go on a photo scavenger hunt

Click image below for full printable of 40 ideas…Summer Bucket List for Moms Who Want to Engage

(There is a typo in the printable which is super embarrassing for me, but could you do me a favour and just pretend you don’t see it or cross it out? I’d appreciate that!)

A Bucket List for a Simpler Summer

Easy Homemade Lacing Cards

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Buying themed lacing cards can get expensive but it is so easy to make your own. All you need is to buy foam sheets. You can often pick up foam sheets in packs at the dollar store or you can buy individual ones at a craft store.

Homemade Lacing Cards…makes a great busy bag!Materials needed:

To make your own lacing cards, cut the foam sheets into shapes. You can do this easily by cutting simple shapes like circles, squares and triangles with scissors or you can make more elaborate shapes. To create more elaborate shapes, lay a shaped cookie cutter or stencil on top of the foam sheet, trace with a pen or pencil and cut out.

simple lacing card busy bagNext, hole punch around the outside of the shape at regular intervals (you may want the holes closer together or further apart depending on the ability level of the child). Place the hole punched shapes and some plastic lacing string into a resealable bag. This creates a lacing card busy bag that can be taken with you anywhere and is a great quiet activity as well as good fine motor practise.

You can also create several of these busy bags, each one having a theme. You can use farm cookie cutters to make farm lacing cards or use dinosaur stencils to make dino theme lacing cards.

If you are looking for more busy bag ideas, you may be interested in following my Activity Bags board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Activity Bags on Pinterest.

3 Busy Bags with Popsicle Sticks

5 Busy Bags with Pipe Cleaners

7 Busy Bags for Learning Colours

7 Busy Bags with Paint Chips

Maple Scented Canada Day Playdough

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Homemade playdough is the best. I don’t think there is anyone that would dispute that when compared to store-bought, it is softer and less crumbly and messy and lasts longer. But I used to hate making homemade playdough because it made my arms sore to stir it for so long as it thickened!

I have finally discovered the secret to making homemade playdough without getting sore arms! The answer to my playdough-making-problem was sitting on my kitchen counter right under my nose…my KitchenAid!

Homemade Playdough that won't make your arms soreI got the KitchenAid as my Christmas gift last year and honestly, I have only used it a handful of times, but I noticed it sitting there on the counter and an idea began to form…what if it could do the work for me? I put the flat beater attachment on and began to add the ingredients for the playdough.

I let it mix the dry ingredients first before adding the oil and then the boiling water. I could not believe how well it worked. I kept it on the two lowest settings and it was done in no time at all. 

It took less than five minutes to have soft playdough ready for my kids to use! My arms did not have to get a workout and the clean-up was easy. I will be making playdough in my KitchenAid from now on!

Of course, I also went outside and told my husband immediately that I had found a purpose for the gift he had bought me and it would get plenty of use now!

Maple Scented playdough perfect for Canada DayRecipe for Maple Scented Playdough

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple flavouring
1 cup boiling water

maple shaped candy sprinkles (edible confetti)

Put dry ingredients in KitchenAid mixer. Add oil and maple flavouring and begin mixing with the flat beater. As it is mixing on the lowest setting, add the boiling water. Mix until desired playdough texture is achieved.

Take the dough out of the mixer and allow it to cool before adding some maple leaf shaped candy sprinkles.  If you add the sprinkles before the dough is cool, they will melt.

*Note that the candy sprinkles will melt anyway while your kids play with the dough but waiting until the dough is cool will allow them to retain their shape initially.

Canada Day maple scented playdoughI set the dough out with some play maple leaves and leaf shaped cookie cutters to encourage imaginative play. My kids really like playdough as part of their sensory play.

If you are looking for more playdough ideas and recipes, you may want to follow my Playing with Playdough board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Playing with Playdough on Pinterest.

Free Printable Playdough Mats

Summer Sensory Bins

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Ahhh, summer…that wonderful time of year when the weather is nice and life seems simpler. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when kids seem even more restless and even though some things about parenting may be easier, the sensory needs of your child don’t automatically disappear.

In fact, the sensory needs of some kids become more noticeable in the summer as they adjust to the changes in routine.

15 Summer Sensory BinsTo combat this challenge with my kids, many of whom have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), I use sensory stations. Sensory stations are even easier to set up in the summer because so many of them can be set up outside with little to no preparation. One sensory station that we always keep year-round is a sensory bin. I make a new sensory bin every week or two.

Sensory Station Ideas for the home or classroomEven though my kids are getting older, they have not outgrown sensory bins. They still play in them and after spending time with one, they are calmer and more able to focus.

These ideas will help inspire you to create your own sensory bin for your kids this summer:

Summer Sensory Bin here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Frog Life Cycle Sensory Bin from Teaching Mama

Starfish and Sand Dollar Shaving Cream Tray from The House of Burke

Water Sensory Tray here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Edible Sand Sensory Activity from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Fizzy Ocean Sensory Bin from Wildflower Ramblings

Seaside Sensory Bin here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Beach Themed Water Sensory Table for Toddlers from Golden Reflections Blog

Summer Sensory Bin IdeasSparkling Ocean Playdough from Stir the Wonder

Calming Lavender Sensory Bin here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Sea Turtle Sensory Bin from Teaching Mama

Watermelon Sensory Play from Little Bins for Little Hands

Garden Sensory Pail here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Ocean Sensory Bin from Happy Hooligans

Gardening Sensory Bin from Mama Papa Bubba

For hundreds of other sensory bin ideas, you can also follow my Sensory Bins board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Sensory Bins on Pinterest.

If you are looking for information on making sensory bins, you may be interested in my book. The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins