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When summer vacation rolls around, kids love it and moms dread it. specially if you’re a work from home or a stay at home mom. Because I have kids, ages, 4, 6, and 13; I’m always looking for something to keep them busy and to create fun summer memories. So here is a list I compiled of things to do at home and places to visit in Kearney. If you’re from out of town, you can take some of these ideas and apply them to what’s happening in your home town. So PRINT this list out and stick it to your fridge!

  1. Visit your local Children’s Museum. The Kid Zone offer family passes or you can purchase a day pass for $5.00 per person. We like to visit the one in Kearney and sometimes take road trips to the bigger Children’s Museum’s of Lincoln and Omaha. My 6 year-old likes to hang out in the puzzle or lego station. http://www.kearneykidzone.com/
  2. Play-Doh: Create your own play doh by visiting the site: Parenting.com. It has tons of different recipes. Or purchase your own. It’s a great way to keep them busy and bring out the creative side in each of your kids.
  3. Paddle Boat at, Cottonmill (We spend a lot of summer time at Cotton Mill). http://cityofkearney.org
  4. Visit a farm. Feed the chickens. Hold the chicks, pet the lambs… etc. Here in Kearney, there is a Nature Barn, just up the road in Cotton Mill Park. 
  5. Skype a loved one. We skpe my sister Sarah and her husband Josh. They are stationed overseas in Korea.
  6. Feed the fish at Cabelas. They generally have scheduled times, so call ahead and ask. 
  7. Take flowers to a floor of the hospital. They can be fresh from the garden  (Thx, Jen. Great idea).
  8. Random Act of Kindness Day. Leave money in a pop machine for the next person, buy the grocery checker her favorite candy bar, leave a diaper and wipes with a ribbon wrapped around at a changing table, pay for the next ice cream order in the drive through.
  9. Fingerpaint. Finger painting is a great way to pass an afternoon. You can create your own by searching for ideas on Pintrest too (Review Jen’s post https://herviewfromhome.com/her-pinspiration-finger-paint/). 
  10. Blow Bubbles.
  11. Get large paper and tape it to the walls for a wall mural. Let the kids color up a storm of mountains, faces, or whatever comes to mind. We get our large spools from the UPS store. 
  12. Get the neighborhood kids together for a parade.
  13. Play Outside, really it’s a fun past time!
  14. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Often times kids can do some of the jobs. You just have to call ahead and find out what your kids can do.
  15. Build a Fort
  16. Besides, walking your own dog, call the animal humane society and see if your kids can walk their dogs or pet the cats. 
  17. Draw pictures and deliver to a local elderly home. (Or any craft project will do).
  18. Make an Air Plane, tickets and passports complete with using construction paper for the tickets. And use your dining room chairs as the air plane seats. And grab a few toys around the house as other passengers. We had Handy Manny and My Little Ponies aboard our flight.
  19. Music. Throw in a CD by The Go Fish Guys and have a dance off. Great way to burn energy and encourage fun around the home.http://www.gofishguys.com or if you don’t want to buy a CD, visit YouTube and search under Go Fish Guys. Jam out!
  20. Make them play in their rooms, we have quiet time every day. Each kid is encouraged to play in their rooms with their toys.
  21. Visit the Library. The Kearney Library offers Summer Reading Programs as well as story times and movie days. All free and it creates a moment where you can just breathe!
  22. Write a story. Grab your scrap book supplies and help your kids write a story.
  23. ACT! Act of the story, invite friends or the grandparents, throw in some popcorn and enjoy the debut! If you’re kids really enjoy acting, the Kearney Community Theater offers workshops and classes for all ages all summer long.http://www.kearneycommunitytheatre.com/
  24. Go to a matinee. The Kearney Cinema 8 and Hilltop Mall offer maintee’s at half the price all summer long.
  25. Bake! We bake cookies and muffins. I let my oldest have the run of the kitchen as my littler ones help mix the ingredients. We often leave out eggs because they usually have more fun eating the batter. 
  26. Make Cards. Have your children make Birthday Cards, Get Well Cards etc, then when someone is having a birthday, they already have a fun decked out card ready to go.
  27. Dress up. Goodwill and of course all the major department stores have sales after Halloween, you can grab costumes for as little as 50 Cents.
  28. Schedule a play date with your child’s favorite friend.
  29. Play Hospital. My kids love to pretend to cut my legs open and attach new legs.
  30. Plan a Kid Swap. Invite their friends over for an afternoon and then switch. Your friend watches your kids for an afternoon. New friends, toys and a new environment does wonders for your sanity and kills the boredom. Plus it enhances social skills needed for school.
  31. Take them to lunch. Each summer Kearney Public Schools offers free lunches for kids and adults pay 3.00 per meal. The kids love getting in line, getting a tray and sitting in the school cafeteria. Plus you don’t have to make lunch. This year, Free Lunches are offered at Bryant Elementary.
  32. Visit the Classic Cars Museum that just opened up next to Cabela’s. http://www.ccckearney.com/
  33. Be Firemen for the day and head to the Nebraska Fire Fighters Museum. www.nebraskafirefightersmuseum.com
  34. Visit the Kearney Archway. www.archway.org
  35. Do a Science Project. We like to make Volcanoes or A Tornado In A Bottle. Hope on Pintrest or your local library website for ideas. This year we are hatching Butterflies.
  36. Go Swimming! Visit Cotton Mill for a fun outdoor sandy beach experience or purchase a pass for Centennial and Harmon Park.
  37. Swim Lessons, visit with Becky O Connell, the lessons are $7.50 or $40.00 for unlimted swimming every month. 
  38. Ride Bikes.
  39. Walk the Dog.
  40. Go for a Nature Walk in your neighborhood or visit the Kearney Trials that connect Yanney Park with Cottonmill.
  41. Plant an herb garden.
  42. Weed the garden, believe it or not, they love to play in the dirt and will uproot all the dangerous weeds.
  43. Dig for worms. Yuck! I know but so much better than video games right?
  44. Go Fishing, grab those worms and take them to a local lake to catch Blue Gill. These friendly fish will bite at anything and your kids can see them just under the water’s surface.
  45. Go to the Park.
  46. Create a Scavenger hunt, complete with a fun reward like 99 Frosties from Wendy’s.
  47. Create the Olympic Games in your backyard. Invite your neighborhood  kids and create some fun, healthy completion with Horse Shoe Toss, Volley Ball and more.
  48. Make Puppets, turn those old socks into Puppets.
  49. Have a Puppet Show.
  50. Puzzles.
  51. Take Pictures and create a scrap book, this one will take all day. Take pictures in the morning, print out the ones you like on paper and create a photo album of their day to show daddy.
  52. Window Shop. Go the mall and tell them to use their eyes of what they would buy and why.
  53. People Watch. Buy a pretzel at the mall and grab a bench. My kids love comparing all the different people and outfits they see.
  54. Decorate your nails and theirs with nail stickers. You can purchase 25 stickers at Wal-greens for 3.99
  55. Have a spa day. Throw marbles and your favorite foot soak into a kiddie pool. Make some lemonade and all you soak your feet while rubbing your heels over those marbles.
  56. Paint your toes.
  57. Be a Chef. Have your kids help you in the kitchen with their favorite food. Check Pintrest for some fun ideas like fruit ice cream cones.
  58. Make Pizza, purchase biscuits and all the toppings they like on their pizza. Flatten each biscuit and have your kids make their own mini pizzas.
  59. Play freeze tag. The “IT” person gets an popsicle when he freezes everyone.
  60. Make Jewelry. Hobby Lobby frequently has beads of all kinds on sale. You can purchase the larger wooden ones for your toddlers and lace them on shoe strings. My 12 year old makes all of her own funky jewelry.
  61. Create a Care package, either purchase items for agency’s like the S.A.F.E Center or invite them to make one for someone who is ill. Then have them take the package to them. This creates compassion and helps them think about other people.
  62. Play cards, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, War and Slap Jack are our favorites.
  63. Tag Pens and Books are another fun way to get them to learn to read and pass the time.
  64. Do Chores. Yes—Chores are a great way to build character and help them entertain themselves when you are busy getting your domestic dailies out of the way.
  65. Play Office. Pay them a $1.00 for the hour you have to check emails, make phone calls etc. Set up a little desk like yours, complete with papers, pencils, and an old cell phone.
  66. Wash the Dog and the Car. Just don’t use the same soap for both.
  67. Sprinkler Time. Who said just a plain old hose can’t be fun.
  68. Water the flowers.
  69. Fly a kite.
  70. Crafty and Handy Kids, we go to Home Builders once a month for their kid projects, like planting flowers.
  71. Road Trip, have them pick the destination, pack a lunch and head out for the morning or the whole day.
  72. Make popsicles out of juice.
  73. Make a bird house for the backyard.
  74. Chalk. Have them decorate the sidewalks and porch.
  75. Play School. Let them be the teacher and you be the student. I usually get put in the corner because I don’t raise my hand enough.
  76. Chalk board paint, create an area in the kitchen or their room with to color with chalk. You can purchase chalkboard paint at your local hardware store.
  77. Watch the stars. We camp out on our trampoline, complete with snack tray and watch the stars come out.
  78. Make Tye-Shirts, or have them design their own with puff paint. This is an all day event. Lots of Fun!
  79. Make Wind Catchers.
  80. Make Gaint Squids, Visit Kidstylefile.com.ua or look on Pintrest for other fun ideas. 
  81. Make a puzzle block, use old pieces of wood, cut into 3 inch cubes or larger, have your child make paint a simple picture on the front.
  82. Make a Calendar using their favorite photos of themselves for Grandma and Grandpa.
  83. Make Rubbings. Go for a walk, find some fun, large leaves and flowers, and create rubbings out of them.
  84. Mud Castles, turn them loose with the hose and let them make mud pies and mud castles.
  85. Dictate. Had them a clip board and some paper, then as you’re making your grocery list or to do list, tell them to write down what you are stating.
  86. Join 4-H, lots of fun projects for you and your kids! (visit: http://buffalo.unl.edu/buffalocounty4h). They have everything from showing animals to shooting guns, to scrap booking and photography!
  87. Use scotch tape to make roads for your child’s match box cars. 
  88. Dust the floors. Most homes have linoleum, wood, or laminate flooring. Grab a pair of old socks and let them slid across the floors to “dust”.
  89. Catch Fire Flies. If you’re kids are restless and not ready to sleep, grab an old jar, stick some holes in the lid and wait for them to come out at night.
  90. Make Stuffed Animals. We bought a kit that lets them make miniature animals. Each time we go to wal-mart and have to go grocery shopping, they each get to pick out an animal to make when we get home.
  91. Make bouncy balls.
  92. Make the Stars. Grab a set of stars and constellations. Help your kids stick them to the ceiling and they will be excited about bedtime that night. 
  93. Make Sun Catchers: https://herviewfromhome.com/her-pinspiration-sun-catchers/. You just need old beads, fishing line and an old muffin pan. 
  94. Make a Tire Swing. If you don’t have one, grab an old tire, have Dad hang it and watch the fun begin. 
  95. Camp Out. Grab some sheets and those sleeping bags and sleep in the backyard. 
  96. Make and sand box and then fill it with sand. Another all day fun project.
  97. Make a House out of a Refrigerator box. Visit your local furniture store for a box. 
  98. Create a Drive In Theater. Grab some big boxes, have your kids color them like cars. Add paper plates for the wheels and stick the boxes in front of their favorite movie with popcorn. 
  99. Paint the playground. If you don’t care how your playground looks for the most part, hand them a can of paint and let them decorate. 
  100. Feed the Swans at the park. Favorite activity for my kids. Save bread crumbs and take a short walk to feed them.
  101. Make freshly squeezed lemonade. Kids love swishing and squeezing out the juice.
  102. Write letters to friends or make a pen pal!
  103. Start a sticker chain and sticker club, by mailing stickers to a set of friends. Check google for the instructions.
  104. Roast Marshmallows or make S’mores. Grab your fire pit or grill, makes for a fun but sticky evening. 
  105. Go to KRave. They have events for all ages and every Friday there is dance for middle schoolers. Well supervised and lots of fun. About once a month, they offer crafts, video games, etc for kids in 1st – 5th grade. You can find them on Facebook and stay up to date with the lastest. http://kraveunderground.com/

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