Just Add Water! 5 Easy Summer Activities for Kids

Just Add Water! 5 Easy Summer Activities for Kids

Just Add Water! Summer Activities for Kids

Nope, it’s not an ad for an as-seen-on-TV product. We actually apply these words to raising our kids in Arizona – especially in the summer! Water activities + children = winning formula.

The “Just Add Water” formula breaks up tension and gives kids a fun change-up in their day. Whether it’s arguments, exhaustion, boredom, whining, or just big feelings, this trick seems to work – for both our kids and us!

Obviously, having access to a pool is helpful. Yet despite being an Arizona native, I’ve never lived in a house with a pool!  But the Just Add Water trick can still be done!

So if you’re like my family, in the desert with no pool, here are 5 simple and inexpensive ways we add water to our day.

Painting in the shower or bath

When our oldest was in his toddler years, we let him paint our tub in just a diaper or nothing at all. After he was done, we wiped everything down and filled the tub for bath time.  Now that he’s older, we put paint on the walls of the shower and let him paint while he showers. The best part is, it all washes away! Both bath paint or finger paint will do the trick!

Popsicles in the bath

Indoors and easy, simply put your kids in the bath and give them Popsicles or homemade ice pops. Pro tip: Steer clear of anything that could clog the drain (i.e. no fruit-filled pops). Its exciting for the kids and an easy clean up!

“Paint” the fence

A simple water activity for kids is to “paint” the wooden fence, brick wall, or driveway with water. Get a bucket of water or fill a kiddie pool with water. Grab some paint brushes and let your kids paint with water! No mess, and your kids still get to let their creativity flow. They can then color the wet surface with chalk, and you can dump the water on the fence to wash away when you’re all done!

Washing toys

Have your kids give their toys a bath! Fill one bucket with with soapy water and another bucket with their toys. Give your kids a wash cloth and let them scrub away. Not only does this incorporate water into your day, but it also give your kids a chance to partake in imaginative play. They could be a parent giving their baby a bath like they see you do, or a farmer washing their farm animals. Our kids love marine life and this is always a hit with their collection of plastic sharks.

Outdoor chores

We try to incorporate our kids into our outdoor chores. In the winter, this is often garage projects. In the summer, we attempt to keep pumpkin seedlings alive for fall harvest. This means watering the plants, spraying off the porch, and stomping in the cool mud!

I hope you enjoy these easy and simple ideas to break up the day and help you all make some summer memories at home. Enjoy!

Babymoon Inn is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Raquel MacDonald

Doula, Babymoon Inn

Raquel is a mother to three boys and a certified Babymoon Inn Doula. She loves working in her community to reach and educate new parents on all things birth and postpartum care.

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Mother’s Day at Home

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Celebrating Mother’s Day at Home

With a little creativity, you can still celebrate the moms in your life this Mother’s Day

While Mother’s Day may look a little different this year, you can still make it an amazing day creating some awesome memories to look back on together.

Remember, celebrating Mom isn’t canceled.

In fact it’s the perfect time to do something extra special!

In the morning

Start the day off right by letting Mom sleep in while you make an easy, but delicious french toast brunch in the crockpot. When mom wakes up, serve a hot pot of coffee or even a mimosa with fruit. If you’re not able to be at home with Mom, another option is to order a coffee delivery from a local spot right to her door. 

While your kiddos might not be bringing home any handmade gifts from school this year you can still make sure Mom’s card is on point with this handmade cactus card.  

Spend some time together talking about all the things you love to do as a family and all the reasons you love Mom with these I love you flowers.  

In the afternoon

Spending time outside soaking up some vitamin D is a great way to lift everyone’s spirits and get out of the house for a while. Having a picnic tea party lunch with simple sandwiches or delivery from your favorite local restaurant is a great way to relax. 

Since the weather is warming, it’s the perfect time to plant flowers or start some fresh herbs in pots for a kitchen counter garden. 

If you can’t take a trip to the pool or beach right now, you can still help mom have a mini getaway in your own backyard. Cool down in a mini pool, serve up a fun icy drink and let Mom read a book (without getting splashed 😉).

In the evening

This one-pan Mexican quinoa casserole can be easily adapted to fit the pantry supplies you have on hand by using rice or any variety of canned beans or vegetables. You could also add in your choice of ground meat if you wanted to switch up the protein. 

Or, keep it simple and order in from her favorite restaurant.

Before bed, let Mom pick the movie for family movie night and snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn. If you can’t be with Mom, plan to watch the same movie at the same time and then call each other afterwards to catch up and talk. 

Give her some time to soak in the bath alone while you get the dishes and craft supplies cleaned up from the day so that they’re not left out to clean up tomorrow. Starting and ending the day with a good clean will be SO appreciated! Taking pictures throughout the day (and every day for #proofofmom) can be a fun way to create a Mother’s Day photo album to look back on later. 

It might not be advised to visit grandmas, aunts, or the other special people in your life this year, but try one of these ideas to make their Mother’s Day extra special as well:

  • Have a family FaceTime or Zoom call with everyone to wish them a happy Mother’s Day and spend time catching up with each other. 
  • If you live nearby, you can drive by their window to wave and blow kisses from the car. You could even make colorful signs to hold up for them to see or decorate their door with a cheerful sign or wreath. 
  • If you live farther away, mailing a hug and a handwritten letter is a great option to send some love their way this season.

What activities are you planning to help make Mother’s Day extra special this year?

Michelle Petkovic

Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn

Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler and one newborn, and she loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

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DON’T waste energy.  Are you in early labor with noticeable yet manageable contractions? Relax! Take a nap or go to bed, watch Netflix while sitting on an exercise ball, eat a balanced, nourishing meal, take a casual stroll around Target, or take a warm bath or shower. Think of birth like a marathon – maybe even an uphill marathon. Conserve your energy in the beginning because you will need it at the end.   

DON’T watch the clock.  In early labor, there’s rarely a need to time your contractions.  You’ll know if they’re 30 minutes apart or 5 minutes apart – we promise. And if you’re fixating on your contractions, you’re going to feel them more intensely. Plus if you’re timing them, this means you’re not sleeping, which is a far more beneficial activity in early labor! As labor progresses into a more active state, we still discourage looking at the clock. (On more than one occasion I’ve seen a midwife quietly take a clock off the wall in a birthing room…)  Watching the clock makes you acutely aware of how much time is passing – or not passing – and you’re more likely to get caught up asking yourself “How much longer can I do this?” instead of staying mindful and present in the moment and focusing on relaxing during and between contractions. 

DON’T stress out.  Yes, this is easier said than done (which is why we recommend great childbirth classes and lots of mental preparation during pregnancy). But there’s a super-scientific reason why stress is counterproductive to labor. During labor, your body produces increasing levels of oxytocin, the amazing “love hormone” that among other things, causes contractions. Oxytocin is produced when we feel safe and loved. We WANT the body to produce oxytocin because oxytocin = labor progression. But when we’re stressed/scared/sense danger, our body produces stress hormones called catecholamines that – you guessed it – inhibit oxytocin production! So minimizing stress and external stressors isn’t just good for your mental state, it will actually help your labor progress. #science

DON’T hold your breath.  It’s tempting and may even feel instinctive to hold your breath when experiencing pain. But breathing is an important tool for labor, and one of the few tools you can use regardless of the path your birth takes (e.g. if you’re having a Cesarean, birthing balls and rebozos are no longer useful, but breathing is!).  Remember those stress hormones mentioned above? The best way to quell the stress response is by breathing. Breathing also lowers blood pressure and provides energy to both mom and baby. Because it can be instinctive to hold your breath and tense up when feeling pain, practice breathing/relaxation techniques during pregnancy that you can learn in childbirth classes, prenatal yoga, or pregnancy/birth literature.

DON’T be self-conscious.  Labor naked if you want to. Moan and roar and make all the noises you like. Make peace with that fact that you will probably throw up or poop while pushing (I promise literally no one cares, and in fact your midwife might get excited by both of these things because it means labor is advancing and you’re pushing effectively). Again, oxytocin is produced when you feel safe, comfortable, and loved. If you’re stressing out about what you’re doing, saying, or looking like, you’re getting in your own way. Don’t worry about being “lady-like” or “a good patient.” Your birth is about you and your baby. It’s your moment. Don’t worry about other people.  Embrace the experience and be the birthing goddess that you are.

DON’T forget to make a social media plan. Do what’s right for you regarding this topic, but know that if you post on social media that you are in labor, you’re opening up the flood gate of “have you had that baby yet” texts and phone calls. You may be totally fine with this. Or you may find it really frustrating/annoying/distracting/upsetting, especially if labor is going slower than you hoped or has taken a stressful or unexpected turn and you have 50 well-meaning friends and family members wanting minute-by-minute updates. In addition to thinking about if/when you post about being in labor, be thoughtful about what you post. A friend (who shall obviously remain nameless) once posted on Facebook that her water had broken and she was headed to the hospital, only to come back a few hours later and be forced to admit she had actually peed her pants and mistaken it as her water breaking.

What Do’s and Don’ts of labor do you recommend? Tell us in the comments!

Diana Petersen M.Ed., LCCE

Diana Petersen M.Ed., LCCE

Director of Education, Babymoon Inn

Diana Petersen received her journalism degree at the University of Arizona and her Master’s degree in education at Northern Arizona University.  She is a DONA-certified doula and Lamaze-certified childbirth educator at Babymoon Inn, an accredited birth center and full-scope midwifery practice in Phoenix, Arizona.

‘I’m going to stop you there’ and other conversational comebacks to protect your pregnant soul – blog at The Spinoff

‘I’m going to stop you there’ and other conversational comebacks to protect your pregnant soul – blog at The Spinoff

At some point during pregnancy, it’s inevitable that you will receive advice you didn’t ask for, a horror story you wish you could unhear, or a reminder that things aren’t going to get any easier once your baby arrives. I spoke with a pregnant woman who recently tried to buy a beverage at a local farmer’s market and was refused service because the vendor felt that strongly that she shouldn’t be drinking caffeine, and he let her know allllllllll about it.

So what do you do when the unwelcome advice starts rolling in? Columnist Thalia Kehoe Rowden shared some advice in a recent blog at The Spinoff.

“When the advice that flies towards you is not welcome, for whatever reason, here are some things you can say:

  • ‘That’s something to think about [+ change the subject].’
  • ‘We’re still figuring that stuff out [+ subject change].’
  • ‘Thanks.’
  • ‘Good tip! Now tell me, what was your favourite thing about being pregnant?’
  • ‘Hmm.’
  • ‘Actually, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with advice at the moment, let’s talk about something else.’

This is important: you don’t need to engage with every person who wants to influence your parenting, either to take their advice on board or to tell them that you’re not going to. You can just say ‘Hmm,’ and move on, if you want.”

Pregnant people are also often subject to scary stories about birth or parenting. Kehoe Rowden offers some quick and easy responses when a conversation is going in this direction:

  • “Does this story have a happy ending? Because I’m finding I don’t want to hear sad stories at the moment.”

  • “I’m going to stop you there. I’m trying to focus on positive birth stories.”

  • “Please only tell me encouraging things at the moment.”

  • “I need your support to reassure me. Tell me what went really well.”

If someone in your life feels the need to issue the “just wait” warning when you issue a complaint regarding pregnancy, Kehow Rowden has suggested responses for this situation as well:

  • “So you’re saying that insomnia in pregnancy might be bad, but it’s only going to be worse when the baby arrives? That’s actually not very helpful to hear.”

  • “Yes, I’m sure each stage will have its own challenges. My challenge at the moment is [repeat what’s on your mind now].”

  • “Yes, I know there will be challenges. Please let me enjoy this stage while I can!”

Did you receive unsolicited advice or hear unwelcome stories or comments during your pregnancy? How did you respond?

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