Last week on Fresh Living (click to watch the actual segment) Jamie and I shared some fun ways to make sure you actually DO those fun things on your summer list. 🙂 I always have great intentions and have lots of ideas floating around in my head about things I want to do with my kids and family during the summer, but it’s easy to forget things as the summer passes by too quickly! Here are a few simple and inexpensive ideas to help you keep track of kid-friendly activities and pack your days with fun. 🙂 Easy and cheap, my friends.
Summer Activity Jars
Daily Activity Grab Bags
First I’ll start with the Summer Activity Jars. I’ve seen this general idea around blogland and have always wanted to make them for my family. (Check out Stephanie’s I’m Bored jars, so cute! Or this awesome post at The Daily Digi–Jar of Fun) My spin on it is a little bit different, however, with an idea I heard of from my friend Leslie of GG Digital Designs–color coding!
This was a no-cost project because I had everything on hand already! I love projects like that!!
You will need to grab some empty containers. I used three empty (and clean!) spaghetti sauce jars. THREE jars, because I divided up my activity list into three different categories which I will talk about in one second. See, projects like this give me good reasons to keep “useful garbage” in my craft cupboards, lol!
You will then need to make your list of activities you want to do this summer and either print it out or write it down on paper. It was fun to sit down with my family and find out what is on our kids’ “wish lists” for summer. I got more ideas online as well. The fun part of this is that I color coded the categories. I printed out activities and games on YELLOW paper, treat ideas on BLUE paper, and outings or fieldtrips on ORANGE paper. I am a visual person, and I love seeing the different colors! My kids are the same way!
Cut your paper into strips and then fold them into smaller pieces.
Then stick the folded up paper strips into the jars, separated by color/category. Look how pretty! 🙂
I whipped up some very simple labels to go on the jars, as you can see below, using a circle paper punch and a scalloped circle paper punch on matching paper. Oh, and I spray painted the spaghetti jar lids black too.
“Activities and Games”= fun things to do such as jump on the trampoline or play freeze tag or go on a scavenger hunt or make giant bubbles
“Let’s Eat!” = ideas for delish treats to make or anything having to do with FOOD. For example, make cupcakes or build fruit kebabs or have a fondue party
“Oh, the Places We’ll Go!” = outings to local parks, swimming pools, museums, hikes, the dollar store 🙂
Have your kids draw out a piece of paper from one or all of the jars and see what exciting activities await you!!!
Daily Activity Grab Bags
This is another super easy idea, it’s like a weekly summer advent calendar! This will give you a little bit more control and planning over the activities you do during that particular week, because YOU select the activities/treats/outing options and put them in each bag—then let your kids “grab” from 3-4 options that day. I like having some semblance of control when planning my week, even when school’s out!! 🙂 You could even put a small treat or stickers in the bags as well, just for fun.
Just take 7 small bags (found at the craft store) or even envelopes or lunch sacks could work. You can have your kids decorate them however they like, I just kept mine plain. I used a clothespin and a simple paper label glued onto the clothespin, one for each day of the week. Stick your activity or outing or treat choices on slips of paper into each bag. Or you could have one of each category each day and do them all if you are ambitious!! 🙂
Then hang each bag with the clothespin on a string or ribbon, like a garland, and hang it somewhere.
Kids love that little element of surprise, and by spending just a little bit of time preparing these jars or grab bags, you will be ready for an entire summer of FUN with your family!!
If you’d like a PDF of the labels for the activity jars and the days of the week labels, feel free to download that here:
If you need a jumpstart to come up with fun activities, you can download mine here:
For personal use only, please!! Just print out on cardstock, cut out into strips or circles, and mount on cardstock.
Amber Monson says
I love this Idea of color coding. I just can’t get your list to download to my computer is there a secret or could you email them to me? I love this project very cute.
would you please email them to me? it wont download for me either. thanks in advance.
Jasmine Kincade says
It won’t let download it either.. I want do this will my kids I nanny! Awesome idea
Hi! I love this idea, but I can’t download the list either…error message..Please e-mail me the files too, if it’s not a problem! Thanks! : )
Can you email to me as well it wont let me download.
Cassie, We don’t have the list anymore. Brooke is no longer with us and we haven’t been able to get the list from her. I’m sorry.
what a cute idea! thanks for sharing. i love your website!! i wanted to let you know that i used your idea for a daddy gift basket and posted about it on my blog. thanks for all your great ideas!!
Glad you liked Becky’s Daddy Gift idea! Wow, you sure are organized and ready for that baby to come! 🙂 Congrats and good luck, and thanks for linking back to our site.
katie stevens says
I love this idea, thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Shannon Allen says
I also had trouble downloading them. Will you please email me a copy? This is exactly what I have been looking for! Thanks!
Sorry about that! I just sent you an email, let me know if you still are having troubles with the docs. Thanks!!
Toni Cook says
I’ve done a similar idea for many summers. It’s been a sanity saver for all! I only used 2 jars. LOVE the 3! I did find a different jar came in handy. We call it the “I’m Bored!” jar. Anytime the kids tell me they’re bored, they have to choose a slip from the jar. Yes, there might be chores in there such as dusting, sweeping, etc., but we also added fun activities like, Tea Party, Build a Lego Building, Plan a Picnic for tomorrow, etc. Come to find out, the kids wanted to choose from the “I’m Bored” jar more than any others….despite the risk!
Yes, I love that idea! Sneaking in chores is a great idea. I might make a chore jar as well to tackle those chores we never seem to get to…and make it seem fun while we are doing it!
When try to use ‘HERE’ link to get lists, it takes me to a website to download a program, which I did, but still can’t get the list 🙁
Vanessa, I’ve sent you an email. 🙂
Think your idea is great and absolutely LOVE the colors/styles, I just can’t get them to download. I seem to have the same problem as Vanessa where it takes me to a download website. If possible, could you send them in a file to my email?
I am so sorry to bother you Brooke but I have tried and tried to find the printables for the summer activity list, and it keeps kicking me to another website, could u email it to me? I can’t tell you how much I LOVE your idea on doing this, this is SO Much fun!! We live in Singapore so I’ve added a bunch of culture stuff to this as well, but can’t rave on you enough for this list. Thank you for making this available for us, you are apart of a lot of happy childhoods.
In His Grip
What great ideas, i really love the activity ideas jars.
Love the jars. What a fun way to choose an activity.
You’ve inspired me once again Brooke!! I spent most of the afternoon getting our entire summer all planned out! (thanks for the shout out too!)
Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on May. 24, 2011. Thanks again.
Sara @ Happy Brown House says
I love both of these ideas! I’m going to have to figure out how to make it work with our “Summer Park Tour” that we’ve already scheduled. It’s another fun way to get out and do something FREE! Here’s the link: Summer Park Tour
Super Cute, thank you! I especially like the fonts on the days of the week. Thanks for sharing!
Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Mandy Douglass says
Brooke, YOU ARE AMAZING! ROCKIN’ Idea!
Laura @ Our House Of Joyful Noise says
Great ideas all over the place here! Wish I had 5 others to brainstorm with. lol. Well I’m not sure if you do these, but I would LOVE it if you came and linked up as many creative ideas or projects as you would like to, to share and inspire, at my Our House Of Joyful Noise link-up party, every Tuesday!! : ) (Open for several days after too.) You may get featured too. : ) Please check it out, and join us if you can!
first off, thanks for the link to my jar in this post! that is so nice to see! second, these ideas are so stinkin’ cute! i have them on my list to feature! thanks for sharing!!!
I love the jar idea. I will make mine tomorrow. I was just thinking today how I’m going to entertain two boys this summer. this is perfect.
Hi, I am having trouble downloading your fun lists….says .docX is not a recognizable program. Is my system too old?? HELP! Thanks much.
These are great, great ideas. I’m linking to you on my blog tomorrow: http://www.the-polka-dot-umbrella.blogspot.com
Thanks for linking to this post, Emily! Your blog is awesome!
I hate hate hate 4share. can’t get it to work. but i need all the summer ideas i can get. could you e-mail them to me too?
Carla, you have email from me. 🙂
Super cute! What font did you use for the jar labels?
Let me go back and check and I’ll get your answer soon. Thanks!!
Sorry this took so long, my new computer crashed. Lovely.
You can find the font here for free: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/fonts/freescrapbookfonts/smiley-monster/
Thank you so much!!
The Funky Monkey says
I shared this craft on my own blog, The Funky Monkey
SUCH AN INSPIRATION. Thank YOU!
Hey, thanks for linking on your cute blog, that is so sweet of you! I’m glad you like the idea!
I consider myself a person with a pretty good imagination. But dang when it comes to my kids, sometimes I feel like such a dork. Thank you for your list. You just dont know how much it means to me.
I consider myself a person with a pretty good imagination. But dang when it comes to my kids, sometimes I feel like such a dork. Thank you for your list. You just don’t know how much it means to me.
Could you also email me your list? I can’t seem to figure out how to open the file…
This looks soooo cute and fun. We just moved so we have lots of stuff to explore in our new area. Great way to break it down.
This is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing!
I am really drawn to the colors in those jars – so cute! I linked to it as part of my Summer Fun Days series 🙂
Amy, thanks! I appreciate you linking to my post as well! 🙂
Victoria S. says
I love the 3 different jars. I made a “Places You’ll Go” incentive jar back in Feb. and the kids have loved it. They have to earn puffs to fill the jar to get to go on an outing. See more about it here: http://www.obseussed.com/2011/02/oh-places-youll-go-incentive-jar.html I’m going to print out your lists of ideas to give us more to work toward. Thanks for sharing!
Love that idea too Victoria!! Thanks for the link and thanks for your comment!! 🙂
Thank you! These are great!!
Double Dipped Life says
Thanks for the great lists! I love that you live in UT, so I don’t have to edit these too much! 🙂
I am having a hard time downloading it also. This is a very cute idea, you are a talented lady 🙂
Vicki, i emailed the list to you. Hope it works! 🙂
I am also having trouble in downloading the file. Thanks for the great summer ideas.
Okay, I just emailed you. 🙂
I know this is way after you posted this, but I would love if you could email me your list as well! Thank you!
Mel @ Trailing After God says
Great ideas! I love how you hung the bags and how perfect they look! I make bags like that for really long trips in the car. Each of the four kids gets one and it contains something to do and a snack. They love it because they have no idea what’s in the bags 🙂
Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God
SO CUTE! I’m getting ready to make my jars right now, but when I downloaded the lists, only the first one will open. I can’t get Outings and Field Trips or Treats to open. Thanks for sharing your project and your lists!
Got them to work! The lists are great. Thanks again for sharing!
I have tried over and over to download your list for the jars, and all I get is goop. Would it be too much trouble to email them to me? My grandsons will love it when they visit next month. Thank you so much for your time.
Linda, I’ve sent you an email! 🙂
Hey LOVE your site! I look at it all the time!! Soo glad I can benefit from your creativity and cuteness! I also cant seem to get the list…may be operator error…anyways could you just e-mail me the list?! Thanks in advance!! =D
Ronda, I sent you the list via email. Hope it works! 🙂
I also love this! Can you e-mail them to me, as well?
Just sent you an email! Hope it works for you. 🙂
Tammy DeYoung says
I LOVE this idea! I shared it with my readers! Thank you so much!
Hayley Cook says
This is fantastic. Saves me a lot of time and such a great idea. I am just having trouble downloading the list. Could you email it to me.
I emailed you. 🙂 Thanks!
Liz I says
thank you for this post! I absolutely love this idea, my boys and I will be doing the activity jars this summer! I can’t get your lists to download, is it possible for you to email them to me as well? Thanks again!! 🙂
Got your message on Facebook and just sent you an email. Sorry about the wait! 🙂
Love this idea! My jars are all ready to go, but I can’t seem to download the lists either. Can I get an email too? Thanks so much!
I sent you an email, hope it works!
I would appreciate an email of the list as well.
No problem, I sent you an email! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and the printables! I featured you on my blog: http://kirstikoo.blogspot.com/2011/06/best-summertime-activities-printables.html with the best summertime activities and printables. Come say hi and thanks so much for sharing!
Our Montessori Home says
I copied this idea at the beginning of the summer and have loved it! I get so many questions about my jars, I finally decided to share the idea on my blog, with a link to your page, of course. Thank you for the awesome idea!
Emilie Davis says
I couldn’t get the documents for the jar project to download or print, could you email them to me please 🙂 Thanks! Also what font did you use for the labels on the front of the jars? Thanks so much!
Hi, I was wondering if you could give me the list of all your ideas that are in the jars. I am looking for fun summer ideas. Thanks.
Mary Anne says
Just a little tech help. When you save a document that you want people to be able to open, save it as a PDF file and anyone should be able to open it on any type of computer of hand held device. Cute ideas. Can’t wait for summer to come and try them out!
ann at mommysecrets says
Great tips!! I just linked to your page via pinterest @parentfurther. Thanks for sharing!!
Love the idea of the 3 different jars :). I was not able to download any of the cool ideas or lables. Could you possibly email them to me?
I am busily planning activities for my 3 kiddos and I to do this summer and I stumbled upon your website (thank you, Pinterest!). However, the lists won’t print. Can you email them to me?
Thanks a million! 🙂
I have been trying to come up with a fun way to sneak some learning into the day and this is great! My tags will read along these lines, “find everything in the house that starts with the letter O. Make a list of words that rhyme with summer.” Don’t worry it wont be all school!
Hi! Another sensational idea! Thank you for sharing. Sorry to be a bother, but I can’t get the lists (activites and treats) to open either. Takes me to a page for “box”. Joined it, but still nothing. Coudld you please email me a copy too? Thank you so much! I adore your site and have implemented so many of your ideas.
Hi, I love that idea and I’ll definitely use it for the summer!
I think I’ll probably use envelopes instead of jars or bags and keep the envelopes in a folder, so I can actually carry them around in my bag easily, because we’re going to travel a lot.
The labels are absolutely fantastic!
I’ve just been searching the web for Preschool Summer Learning, and I’ve found an extraordinary idea of Summer Bucket. Here are the links:
… and here’s an idea very similar to yours – a Jar of Fun:
It’s just that if I start researching something, I always have to share it with someone! Hope you find it useful…
Toddler Boy says
INCREDIBLE THINKING!! You did really making sense. I love your idea.
Love your jars and grab bag ideas. I too cannot open and print the Summer Activities Jar file so please send it to me when you get a chance. (I am interested in getting a copy of your labels fir the activity jars and the days of the week labels. It won’t let me download.) Thanks!
You have to unzip the files in order to print. Just right click on the file and click on unzip.
I saw this post on pinterest and followed it back to shop duck duck goose. My 2 year old got on the computer and scrolled it down to the bottom- I’m glad he did. I saw your comment there about it originally (all of it) being your tutorial. This is a great idea! I am happy that I have now found this site. Too bad about internet thieves out there. I never would have realized this was your guys’ without your comment. I just read right past the name of where they got the idea, assuming the tutorial was theirs 🙁 BUT- I have found several things here I like. And I’ll be pinning direct from your site 🙂 Thank you very much for some crafting genius.
Kim @ The Educators' Spin On It says
What a fun idea to use the jars. We 4 words to choose from in our Summer Bucket List Play, Learn, Make and Go. It’s perfect for all ages. We’ll have to make your jars to go along with it. LOVE the bag ideas too. Thanks for helping me plan my summer with my kids. Pinned it onto our Summer Pinterest Board http://pinterest.com/educatorsspinon/summer-projects-to-make-and-do/
Hi, Brooke – I’m also having trouble downloading the Summer Activity Jars lists. Would you email them to me? Thank you!
I fixed the download links so they should be working now. Let me know if you’re still having trouble with them but I’ve double checked the links and they are working for me now. Thanks! 🙂
Love this idea for out of town company so we have things to do! How did you print the days of the week labels? Thank you.
Oh, what a joyful, magnificent idea!
Please send me the list as well! I too am struggling with the downloads!
Thank you for this post!
I love this idea also but can’t open the link. Will you email me please? Thank you
Can you please email me the link? It would open. Love this idea!
Love this idea! Could please email me the link? Thank you!
Hi is there anyway that you can send me the list of activities to put in the jar… i can seem to think of any! that would be great!
I tried to download the activity lists and it would not let me! Please email me the lists, this is just what our girls need!
MS Racho says
Hi I loved your idea but i can not open the list. Could you send it to me?
I love this idea and would love to do it this summer, but I can’t get the printable to download. Could you e-mail me the lists? I watch my 2 nieces in addition to my 3 boys during the summer this could be a life saver for all.
Sonya Kelly says
I can not get the link to download, could you email this to me?
Cathy Pryor says
I would love the documents as well, I’ve tried to download them and wasn’t able to either.
would you please email them to me? I can’t download it either. thanks in advance.
I can’t seem to find the activities lists to download, just the labels. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!
The activities in this post are not available to download. You can find lists of 160 summer activities here https://thecraftingchicks.com/2014/04/160-summer-fun-list-ideas.html
Hi! Just wondering if you have a printable for your summer jar activities? Thanks!
I love this idea, however I cannot download the file, is it possible that you mail it to me?
Could you please email these to me also. I’m a site newbie and I’m browsing. Thanks!
Becky Sandusky says
I can’t get the lists and the images for the jars to open. Can I get and e-mail if you still have them? Thanks
The links are working now. Enjoy!
Love this idea! Could you send me the files also?
HI Kristi–the files are now available above for download. Thanks!
So awesome. I sometimes feel like such a let down as a parent for not planning more things for the kids. I too have so many ideas and good intentions then find myself cleaning and chasing my tail instead of enjoying the time with my children. Thank you