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School’s out, children are home all day, and even kids get bored with the pool sometimes. Hanging around the house watching TV all day isn’t an option. Summer entertainment doesn’t have to be big or even cost a lot of money. Now that you have a lot more free time, your family tends to spend a lot of miles in the car as well, leaving downtime (and room for trouble) in the backseat. There are many activities you can do around the house or make to travel with you that use materials you already have or can find at a dollar store.

1. Puffy Paint

With some shaving cream, food coloring, and white glue, kids can create their own 3D puffy paint which makes a great texture when it dries. It even has the added bonus of being messy since they can use their fingers to spread it around. You can pick any kind of image to color in such as summer themed ice cream cones or just let their imaginations run wild with abstract landscapes.

2. Bubbles

You really can’t go wrong with bubbles. Playing with bubbles seems to be an ageless activity. And you can pick up solution and wands at your local store or mix up some of your own with dish detergent and other household ingredients. With some sticks and cotton string, you can use their energy running around to produce the air needed to produce some enormous bubbles. All it takes is mixing a giant bubble solution and enjoy a nice, clear day creating bubbles taller than your kids.

3. Crayon Art

School is out and all those leftover school supplies just came home with your children: Half boxes of broken crayons and tons of little pieces clattering around in their pencil box. There are various methods of re-melting those crayons to use again. A silicone baking mold can be used in an over to make new crayons from all the little bits. A hairdryer is helpful for creating some stunning drip art.

4. Portable Games

Now that you all have the time, summer is prime vacation and travel season. To prevent boredom in the back seat, you and the kids can make some take along versions of favorite board games. Small enough to fit into a backpack diaper bag and take anywhere, they can be made with common materials such as magnets, lunch boxes, or beads. You can now take checkers, tic-tac-toe and other familiar games with you. It takes a little bit of time initially, but are extremely useful for families on the go.

5. Obstacle Courses

Your kids love to play outside. They can spend hours just chasing each other around the grass and dodging around trees and under bushes. However, the same yard day after day can be dull. Building obstacle courses can make for limitless challenges and combinations of fun. Learning puzzles can also be a part of the course, to keep up some educational skills during their time off. You can even add water elements such as a sprinkler or pool. These can be a great way to use those pool noodles that seem to multiply ever summer, even if you don’t even own a pool.

Summer doesn’t have to be a long, painful experience you and your family. It doesn’t even have to break the bank with entertainment for your kids. A lot of these crafts and activities require an adult to purchase and prepare the materials, but leave all the work and energy to the kids. You can be the hero of summer, saving yourself and your kids from tears of boredom, all with a few dollars and a little creative work.

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