Hi! I am back today to share with you what I put in my preschooler's Summer Fun basket!
We also used this on a recent road trip--both the basket and the some of the contents were PERFECT for keeping busy in the car (bonus!!)
Here is a list of items I included:
I found these great books and flashcards at the dollar store.
These are some more of the "bought" items I included. The button lacing kit and wood stick kits were just $.69 each at a local discount store.
The magnetic Go Fish game was on clearance at World Market for $3.
The plastic plate/bowl/cup was from Target at $.50 each
I made the Date with Mom and Date with Dad coupons from the idea I found on this website.
I made these File Folder games from Dollar store flashcards.
I love the idea of File Folder games, but didn't want to shell out the money right now for something like this (although it does look very cool!)
I am notorious for waiting until the last minute to do this sort of creative thing
(a personality flaw developed in my life after kids.)
I included a pocket for the extra pieces on the front using CD envelopes I had on hand.
Cost for 3 letter-match file folder games: $1
I loved the UP Adventure book look alike (complete with badges) from Family.com to encourage summer exploration activities.
And the Passport (like the one from the Elementary bag) is an amazing tool to help the kids while I run errands.
If you are at all familiar with the idea of "Busy Bags" for toddlers and preschoolers, you should DEFINITELY look into it! It is basically a self-contained game to help the kids practice skills--everything from fine motor to letters and numbers! There are TONS of ideas out there and I have some pinned on my Summer Fun Pinterest Board and Kids Crafts.
What are "Summer Fun bags?" These are bags filled with fun and educational activities for the summer months when your kids are out of school. You can do SO MUCH with this idea. I chose to to DIY lots of the items for the bags, but it would also be really quick and easy to fill a sand bucket with items, books, flashcards and candy from the dollar store. My FAVORITE PART is that my kids receive these when they arrive home on their last day of school. (Lots of excitement and fanfare!!)
Come back later this month to see the Preschool and Toddler "Summer fun" bags. (Note: these can (AND WILL!) also double as "Road trip" fun bags too!)
The first bag is for my daughter who is finishing 2nd grade.
Bag: ThirtyOne gifts Cost: Free from hosting a party
2 New books-- 1. Judy Moody (a new favorite around here) Cost: $4.99 2. A to Z Mystery book club kit (included a free book). Looks like the kits are gone, but the printable version is here. Cost: Free
I am sure we will be purchasing some more books as a reward for completing these:
Summer reading STAR bingo, banner, bookmarks, and printables from HowDoesShe? Cost for both: Free
Summer Fun Passport--This is sort of like the World Showcase passports at Epcot. Kids get a stamp or signature as we run different errands. In the past they have gotten stamps from the postal worker, signatures from cashiers, stickers from customer service, etc..... They enjoy collecting different things, and it makes running errands easier. So maybe this one was more for me? WIN-WIN! Cost: Free
Date with Mom and Date with Dad coupons--each kid gets two. These are simple too--a meal out together, a movie, a craft project, etc....nothing fancy: just one kid and one parent. Sadly, that something that doesn't happen often in our family of three.
Cost: Nothing now, but maybe $10 per activity once we go DO them together.
Box of Science experiments. These are all homemade science experiments you can do with around the house items. I originally wanted to include the items to do each experiment in the box, (Like this!) but when I didn't have time to go chase down Borax and some other ingredients, I settled for a composition notebook with the experiments included as well as pages for her to journal about the results. The supply lists will help her gather what she needs to do the experiment. I'm sure the little boys will enjoy this too. I had a book from when I taught school that included several experiments. Here are some I included: Rock Candy Moon Sand Soap Clouds (I am excited about this one!) Lava Lamp There are literally TONS of "homemade" science experiments out there. I included about six in her box. Cost: $.10 composition book I bought during back to school sales in the fall Additional $5-10 for supplies (we actually have most on hand). Maybe less with coupons. ;-)
Then there are some candies and glowsticks (pictured above) that I got in the dollar section at Target to split among the three kids. Cost: $.66 per child
Total cost for this SUMMER FUN BAG contents: $15. I am not including the price of the "future" activities with each parent or the prizes. It will vary depending on what we do AND I have coupons for most of them in my Entertainment book.
Want a quick and easy version for your kids? Surprise them on the last day with a Summer Fun Bucket list! There are some ideas from some of my favorite bloggers:
I have been bragging on my Facebook page for some time about my affinity for the Babbabox. What is the Babbabox? It is a subscription-style service for a box of activities and crafts for your kids. Each box is built around a certain theme (Rainbows, Sprouting Seeds, Feelings) and geared toward preschool-aged kids. (She wouldn't want you to know it, but the 7 year-old princess likes them too!)
So what is so special about a box of activities? Can't I just do stuff with my kids on my own? Maybe! But this just isn't ANY activity box! The activities are researched by child development specialists to cater to FOUR ways that children learn: Create, Explore, Storytell and Connect. I love that EVERYTHING you need to complete the projects are included--down to the glue and the scissors!! The brain behind the Babbabox is adorable. Oh and clearly brilliant. Check her out.
Let me give you an example of the May Babbabox we just received. My four year-old wakes me up at 6:00am with box in hand the day after it arrives, asking "Can we do my crafts NOW mommy?"
May's theme was Sprouting Seeds and took the kids through several activities to learn about plants, seeds and the power of nature.
The first activity included decorating mini terra cotta pots and planting our own herb garden.
The second activity taught us about the different parts of the flower by making flower pens. My son loved writing with the pens afterwards, and surprised me by recalling the different parts of the flower for his daddy at dinner later that night!
Again, everything you need for both of these activities are included as well as full color instructions plus bonus coloring sheets! There are even scannable QR codes that link you to bonus online activities.
This category generally takes the kids out in the world to explore things about the month's theme. This month we received a magnifying glass to examine the seeds and herbs as they will grow. You could also take it out into your backyard to explore more about how things grow or to expand on what you learned about the different parts of the flower.
And again, full color instructions and a scannable code for bonus activities!
Each month there is a book included on the month's theme. This month was a 2-in-1 book about Curious George growing a garden. My little man didn't know there were stickers in the back of the book, so I am saving that for a future "keep him busy" activity very soon.
This is my FAVORITE category because it is really in touch with an area of learning for our kids today--technology! Each box includes a code for a free app for your smartphone that helps to expand their learning even further.
Then there is always a bonus for us--the MOMMIES! This month it was something that grows from the cacao seed: CHOCOLATE. I should put it out there that Babbaco might need to send me another box so that I can really do an appropriate review (tee hee! Shameless plug for more chocolate!?) But it was really fabulous. And gone in about 2.5 seconds. So no picture for that one. ;-)
I love love LOVE this box! As a frugal-minded mommy, the $29.99 is SUCH a value and incredible for what you get. I mean, just imagine if you were to go out and purchase the supplies for all of these things on your own?
They have a SUMMER SURVIVAL PACK for my MOMumental Savings readers! If you place an order and pay for the months of June, July and August NOW, you will save 33%! Use code MSSUMMER33. Think about the savings: If you were to pay separately, it would cost $89.97 ($29.99 each month). Pay just $60 now (free shipping!)using the above code then sit back and wait for your fun summer boxes to arrive!
There are some little things you can do RIGHT NOW to save over $2000 in the next 12 months or less.
(And these won't even require you to clip a coupon.)
1. Look closely at invoices for healthcare-related services. Did you know that 9 out of 10 invoices may inadvertently charge you for supplies or equipment that wasn't even used? Closely monitor your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company and compare that to the bill you received from your doctor. Persistance pays off. After an 18 month battle with a hospital after having my son for charges that had ALREADY BEEN PAID by my insurance company, I won. And saved about $500.
Potential savings: Around $500
2. Save on pet food by using Amazon's Subscribe and Save feature which charges you once every few months to automatically send your order. You get to determine how often your order ships and shipping is FREE. You will save around 10-15% on a 40lb bag (compared to pet stores) and never have to set food outside your house. I used this for diapers, applesauce, and other items.
Potential savings: Around $50
3. Save on DVD rental by using Redbox or Blockbuster kiosks. Never pay for a Redbox again by checking this website for discount codes. You may use each code once per credit card.
Potential savings: $50-$100 depending on how often you rent
4. Cancel your landline and invest in an internet phone. We recently switched to Ooma. You pay a one time fee (around $200) then never have a phone bill again. Ever. Voicemail is even included. Take it from me though--make sure you security system is compatible with the internet phone service first. Or cancel your landline altogether--especially if you have a cell phone and it is your primary way to make calls.
Potential savings: $100
5. Wash everything (EVERYTHING) in cold water. You don't realize how much energy you are using by using hot water. I save up the items I need to wash in hot water or sanitize and run that cycle ONCE every two weeks. Or if you really want to save, air dry your laundry!
Potential savings: $100
6. Stop paying for TV channels you don't watch. This is self explanatory--it just requires a phone call. I made a phone call and found out I qualified for a 6 month $20 a month discount, and I didn't have to change one thing about my plan!
Potential savings: $120
7. Use discounted giftcards to purchase essentials like socks, underwear and T-shirts. I love plasticjungle.com and giftcardgranny.com. You can buy gift cards at a discount of about 30% off (I love free money!) or sell unused gift cards that you have received for stores where you don't shop that often.
Potential savings: $100
8. Call your local power company to see if they have an energy regulation program. My local power company enrolled me and came out to install a device (for free) that regulates my power usage in high demand times. So far, we haven't noticed a difference!
Potential savings: $150
9. Lower your internet speed. Maybe you moved and the company gave you a great introductory rate on their highest internet speed. But is it still necessary? If your internet usage is limited to checking email and social media sites, you could probably downgrade without noticing a difference.
Potential savings: $350
10. Find the cheapest gas station. Download the app GasBuddy to find the cheapest price in your area. I found a gas station just 4 miles away (in a direction I don't normally go) but it saved me nearly $.20 per gallon. That's significant! And guess what? I found a Target nearby! Now I take my weekly trip to that Target and fill up on the way home!
Potential savings: $500
And just because I like you, I'll give you a freebie.
11. PLAN to eat out.
Many restaurants have "kids eat free" nights on a regular basis. Find out what those are and PLAN to eat out on those nights! If a kids meal is $5, and you have two kids, that is $10 a week. That's $40 a month and a whopping $480 a year.
And you know your kids don't eat half of what they order anyway, so why pay for it!?
So there you have it! Get busy and save yourself some money before the end of 2012!!
Why not do good AND snag yourself this fabulous deal?
Some reminders: Publix BOGO sales allow you to use a coupon on the item that you are purchasing AND the one you are getting free! Get subscriptions in multiples of TWO to maximize your savings! Read each deal's fine print. Each offer has limitations per address.
Click the pictures to subscribe. This deal is BETTER than Groupon because you get a $5 gift card with your subscription!!!
And for Brevard county readers: (no gift card, but fabulous price!)