As a mom to an 18 year old and a step mom to an 8 year old, I'm between 2 very different generations. Games, playtime, and lifestyle have changed drastically but needs and necessary must haves, remain the same. It's actually been a perfect way to introduce some old school past time things that I remember from when I was young. Here are some of the "hacks" that I picked up along the way. With both younger and older children, its hard to find stuff that helps everyone, but these seem to work out pretty well.
1. My "Go bag"- I keep a tote bag filled strategically with stuff to get me through any situation. It sits at the front door and I take it in the car with me wherever we go. In this bag, I keep: a pack of Uno cards, several ziplocks filled with wet wipes, tissues, paper towels, Bandaids, gauze, Neosporin, inexpensive sunglasses, headphones, notepad and pens, crayons, a container of playdoh, bug spray, gum, chalk, ponytail holders, socks, mints. (the socks especially at the beach for walking through hot sand) a hat, ear plugs, pack of matches, floss, Chapstick, hand sanitizer, a bottle of water, eye drops, q tips, cotton balls, tooth picks, safety pins, needle and thread, straws, a pop tart, some PB&J crackers, and fruit snacks.
2. Trunk must haves- a change of clothes for everyone, always, a sweatshirt, a towel, a blanket big enough for everyone to sit on. Bathing suits, flip flops, an umbrella, an emergency kit with gauze, bandaids, peroxide
3. Glove compartment- napkins, $20.00 at all times, an emergency flag to hang in the window,
4. A dinner box- a small tackle box that I have filled with "stuff" to keep little ones busy at restaurants, on line waiting for a table, or somewhere that requires patience while waiting. In its little compartments, I have peel and stick stickers, rubber stamps, stamp pads, google eyes, sticky dots, and lots of little odds and ends I have gathered. I also keep a water paint kit, some more play doh, colored pencils, a sharpener, some fun paper, markers and rolled up plastic placemat.
5. Home bored busters- a mason jar filled with popsicle sticks with chores written on them. Load the dishwasher, fold laundry, clean out garage, scoop poop, walk the dog. these are drawn every time someone says " Im bored". A word search book, a seek and find book. chalk. Plastic beads, stationary and stamps.
6. Special summer nights- We plan for evenings of fun with the following: s'mores night, camp out, manhunt, lightning bug night, talent show night, and movie night. these give something to look forward to, give them something to work on, and bring the neighborhood kids together.
7. Some fun projects- Home made Ice pops ( get creative) , sidewalk paint, edible playdoh ( on my blog) a lemonade stand, build a fort, build a go cart. The process of preparing, building and having a hand in it, keeps kids focused, gives a sense of accomplishment making it fun and exciting.
8. An herb garden- tending to it, caring for it and using the herbs has become quite fun. discovering different tastes, and uses has been interesting. Not to mention the surprises that we find living amongst our herbs.
9. Scavenger hunts- these tend to be super easy and can be done with one child or teams or groups. you can come up with lists on your own, or you can easily find some on Pinterest for any age or location.
10. My App- I don't like to toot my own horn but I recently launched itsgr82bme.com a family event platform that offers families one singular location to find all things family. It has gotten extremely frustrating trying to find current information when navigating the web. When you need family friendly with kids in tow, a minute can seem like a lifetime. From finding story times at the library, to a pediatric dentist, find everything family friendly in one neatly organized space rather than going to multiple sites to find what you need. Find everything from dance camp, to family friendly restaurants, to the local pediatrician, in your own community or on the go. We house all of your families needs.