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Top 5 Essentials To Keep From Going Crazy With Your Kids This Summer

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(This post is sponsored by Forward Influence & Nintendo America. The views and opinions expressed are entirely my own. You can read my full disclosure here. )

Are you worried about going crazy with your kids this Summer?

For most of us, School is either out for the Summer or close to it. Kids are antsy for Summer fun, and Parents are antsy trying to figure out what to do with their kids after the first week home when they run out of things to do and only want to veg in front of the TV or pick fights with their siblings. 

There are soo many fun things you can take your kids to do this Summer that they will absolutely LOVE. You have Vacations, Campouts, Pools & Splash Pads, Parks, Summer Movies, Museums, Festival, Fairs and more. As fun as all these things are, it’s not like you can be taking your kids out every single day all day. So what do you do for all the Summertime spent at home to keep the kids happy (and you sane)?

In our home, I have found 5 Summer essentials that have been real lifesavers with my kids and thought I would share them with you: 

Water Toys

Seriously one of the best sanity savers for parents during the long Summer days is getting our kids to play outside. It’s good for their health too. The problem is Summer days can get quite hot causing kids to want to stay inside. The only thing I have consistently found to entice kids outside on hot days is if water is involved.

Pools are fun but often require adult supervision. Sprinklers are nice but can raise the water bill a lot if used too often.  I suggest getting the kids water guns or soakers at your local dollar store and then fill a few buckets around the yard and let them have an epic water battle.  If your kids are small, getting a water table for them to play with is a good idea. Kids also love making mega bubbles (click here for a mega bubble solution recipe that works AMAZING!)

Good Books

Reading is a great activity for quiet time in the middle of the day (when it’s too hot for even water play.)  Even better reading helps keep your kid’s minds from atrophying during Summer Break. If you don’t own a lot of books you can always check some out from your local library. Or if you have a kindle or smart device check some ebooks out online.

I find that kids are more willing and even excited to do Summer reading if they are doing a challenge  (Like the one I have here) or even better a Summer reading program where they can earn special treats or prizes for reading. Often local libraries do fun Summer Reading Programs. If not you can always do one as a family. (like the one I have here) You could even present your kids with a fun Summer Reading Kit (see tutorial here) If your family prefers to listen to books I highly recommend getting an Audible Account. (Try Audible & Get 2 Free Audio Books)  If you have an Amazon Echo device it can even play your Audible books for you.

Personal Game Systems

Though I may have limits for how much electronics my kids can use each day, I have to admit that having some game time for my kids has been a real sanity saver. While the Family game systems like the Nintendo  Switch can be nice, for Summertime I prefer personal game systems like Nintendo’s new 2DSXL. I recently went with my family to an event where we learned about and got to play with the 2DSXL and I fell in love. A few of my favorite features are:

“Photo credit: Melinda Jae Photography”

  • Large screen (Comparable with 3DS sized Screen)
  • Lighter than the 3DS since it doesn’t have the 3D function
  • Amiibo compatible
  • Parental controls
  • Can watch Netflix, Hulu & YouTube (via WiFi)
  • Multiplayer game compatible
  • Can play 3ds and ds games
  • Can use cartridge games and downloadable games

The reason I recommend getting Nintendo 2DSXL game systems for your kids is that while there are some really fun multiplayer games like MarioKart7 that the kids can play together, there are even more games that are single player. This means when your kids are driving you crazy fighting with each other you can send them each off to different parts of the house for some quiet play. (you can even have them wear headphones (These are my favorite headphones for kids). Having personal game systems like the 2DSXL as well as good headphones are also great to have for summer traveling.


The thing I love about Legos is that even though they come in sets to build specific things, you can take them apart and build whatever you can imagine up. This can lead to hours of fun for your kids. You can even find some fun free printable lego challenges on Pinterest to get them started.  If your kids are too small for standard sized Legos they have the larger Legos available to which little kids LOVE.

Need some more Legos? You can find sets at the store and online in various sizes and costs to fit your needs. You can also keep your eye out at your local thrift store. When we were in Seattle visiting a friend we stopped by a local thrift store and got a couple Lego grab bags for only $5 a piece. Also if you have a Lego Store nearby they have a free monthly Lego Mini Build for kids that you can sign up for where each month your kids get to build and take home (for free) a fun little Lego creation. We have made Busses, Cars, Sea Creatures, Monsters and more over the months.

Dress Up 

Dressing up is not just for Halloween. It can be a fun activity during the summer too (or any time of the year) I have watched my kids, their friends and cousins spend hours and hours together lost in imaginative play dressing up. Along with dressing up, you can also ask the kids to put together a family theater to perform in the evening.  (learn all about it here) I used to do this with my siblings growing up and we always had soo much fun.

Seriously, if you don’t have a dress up box/corner yet I totally recommend you get one.  You can start with pulling out your old Halloween costumes to make them accessible to your kids. Add in some random fabric (and if your kids are a bit older some metal clothes pins) and walla. I like to get some more dress up costumes on sale around Halloween time as well. You can also find some fun ones real cheap at thrift stores.

The Key to Summertime sanity is having good toys and activities on hand that your kids can do together and apart that do not require adult supervision. Do you have any Summer Essentials at your home? If so do share!!

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