Summer is coming and you know the, “Mom, I’m bored!” is coming with it. Conquer boredom with 5 original budget–friendly projects that let kids under 10 explore their creative side.

  1. A Stage

It doesn’t take much more than a hairbrush to get kids performing for hours in front of a mirror, but making a corner stage for them will inspire them and raise cool-parent status to epic levels. All it takes is:

  • Tension rod
  • Curtains
  • Mirror
  • Microphone

A stage will give your young thesbians hours of fun and it can be as simple or as complex as you like. Curtains don’t necessarily need to be purchased, you may have some old ones in the attic or extra flat sheets than can be sewn or hot glued over at the end to make a rod pocket. An old shower curtain will work too. A dresser mirror can be repurposed in the stage area or a cheap one can be picked up at any thrift store. The microphone is simply a paper towel tube with a Styrofoam ball glued to one end. Some glue and glitter will make it worthy for your A-list performers. If you’re a woodcrafter, an actual elevated stage built from a pallet can really make this corner stage one to remember, but is not necessary.

  1. A Reading Nook

Keeping up on summer reading by creating a quiet corner just for books. Kids love the cozy spaces behind corner chairs or under the stairs and anywhere else their little bodies can fit. Find one in your home or make space in the bottom of a closet. Toss in a rug and a few pillows. Turn a wooden or plastic crate on its side to make a nice bookshelf . Leave the top free for a drink, snack, and flashlight. Oh yeah, kids love flashlights too. Maybe you can toss in one of your favorites from way back when. Don’t forget to join your kids in the corner and read aloud a chapter or tw.o

  1. Science and Recycling Exploration Station

Keep their investigative and exploring side busy all summer with a science and recycling station. 

A garage or small space dedicated in the kitchen or bathroom would be ideal. The space should be near a sink. Get 2 plastic storage boxes that work with your space (shoeboxes and 5 gallon totes work for this). Fill one with interesting recyclables as they come through (e.g. cardboard tubes, yogurt containers). Supply the other with home supplies for a few experiments like magnets, clay, paper clips, batteries, and balloons. You will add to this as you experiment over the summer. Add a few notebooks and pencils too. Head to the library for an age-appropriate home science experiments book and let the mad scientists get to work. 

Books can be traded out all summer to keep the scientist work fresh. Encourage your kids to keep a journal of their findings. Join in the first few times for fun, guidance, and safety.

  1. Kiddie Gym

It is as important to keep their body going as it is their mind and spirit so a kiddie gym is next on the lists. Gather things you already have around to bring to your kiddie gym. Hand weights, twirling ribbons, jump ropes, and hula hoops are a few ideas. Together, come up with a list of activities, exercises, and games to do in the gym.

For the sake of storage space, place all the equipment in a 5 gallon labeled tote. Tape your list to the inside and let them take it outdoors to play. On rainy days, the furniture can be moved back and kiddie gym can be inside. Just ask them take turns leading gym class like at school. You be the student once in a while.

  1. Arts and Crafts Area

Have a well-stocked arts and crafts area for your summer crafts with kids. Repurpose some recyclables from the Science Station to store your art supplies. You could also take a cheap tool bag from the thrift store to make your art station mobile. Fill your arts and crafts area up with paints, colored pencils, crayons, stencils, and more. Search the internet, library and local museums for art project inspiration.