What are some good summer activities for first time parents adopting a 5 year old girl?
May 12, 2010 9:04 AM   Subscribe

What are some good summer activities for first time parents adopting a 5 year old girl?

I have some dear friends who are older, academic types who are adopting an adorable little girl in the next few weeks (from the area, not abroad, if it matters). I'm putting together a "Summer Fun" gift basket of toys and things for them to do.

I'd love to add a binder of activities for the parents to have to help them and her have a great first summer together. I'd love any good websites for this age, fun craft activities, fun school projects (that could be done at home), etc. Anything you might have done and loved with your children around this age!
posted by quodlibet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go for battery-free summer favorites, like sidewalk chalk, long jumpropes (long enough for double dutch), bubbles, sunscreen, a small bucket and shovel, some windmills, and a hoola-hoop.
posted by banannafish at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2010

Sidewalk chalk
Soap bubbles
posted by sciencegeek at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do they live close to the beach or another source of water play? That's a really good age for that sort of thing. The girl will probably want to spend as much time in the sand as in the water and it can be just a nice, slow day in which to get to know each other a little better. Fun toys and snacks and then warm and snuggly after a shower or bath at home and then early TIRED bedtime.
posted by jvilter at 9:09 AM on May 12, 2010

Evening walks around the neighborhood can be great. Not so hot and maybe other kids from the block out playing to introduce to her. Might also be a good time to meet other parents in the area that they haven't had reason to interact with before now. There's something a little magical about being out late while it is still light outside.
posted by jvilter at 9:12 AM on May 12, 2010

Outside ideas:

Kickball-type ball (or soccer ball) and some plastic cones. You can make goals, running routes, hopscotch-type games, you name it.

Do they have a yard or garden? How about some kid-sized gloves, rake, shovel pieces? At 5, might be old enough to help plant some seeds, water...you see what grows.

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles

Magnifying glass for research, not punishing ants

Inside ideas:

Stack of plain white paper, some crayons, markers, safety scissors, and OMG STICKERS! can be a great time.

Lego or similar blocks

Big blanket, drape it over chairs...voila, quick tent or secret fort.

(Source: my 3yo daughter.)
posted by fijiwriter at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2010

If your budget allows, you can include a membership to your local zoo, science center or museum. Otherwise, sciencegeek and banannafish have great suggestions. There is little that can rival a bubble party followed by an ice cream cone, followed by running through the sprinkler. I'm constantly amazed by how little it costs to be a super parent.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 9:18 AM on May 12, 2010

I like the outdoor toys too. And I'll add a pair of roller skates, the children's safety kind.
posted by CathyG at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: I should have clarified - I have the summer fun basket done (with alot of the stuff you all already mentioned, although I might need another shopping trip!).

I'm more looking for ideas of things to do - so that I could put them in a binder/folder of activities. Like "My child loves the starfall website" or "We made X thing - here's the directions for how to do it"
posted by quodlibet at 9:24 AM on May 12, 2010

Look at local parenting websites. In my city there is the normal rotation of parks, museums, zoo, aquarium, science center, train museum, etc.
posted by k8t at 9:25 AM on May 12, 2010

Plant identification guide: photos of common trees, birds, and plants from the local area along with their names. Pocket sized so they can use it while they're on walks or out at the park. No animal or plant to common (ours has seagulls and squirrels and pigeons in it)
posted by anastasiav at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2010

The library!! If the local library allows it, get her Her Own Library Card. Every library I know of has lots of things for kids of different ages: storytelling, read aloud with the kids in pajamas, music, art. A huge resource. And most libraries have a summer reading program; x number of books read and listed on an official form gets a small prize. And just going together to the library and picking things out together is not only a wonderful thing to do together, it's a small window into what her hopes and fears and interests are.

Also, if you have any local independent bookstores, check them out. They often have interesting things to do involving kids.

Your friends might consider actually creating some books with their new daughter: places we've been, places I like, animals and birds we've seen on our evening walk around the block (a great thing to do, by the way). Scrapbooking stores and sites have materials to make the books more official looking.

It's wonderful that you're doing this for your friends. Hope you get to have fun with the new girl, too!
posted by kestralwing at 11:31 AM on May 12, 2010

Disclaimer: I work for this organization, but I genuinely think these resources are great. Being a literacy resource, we obviously focus on summer reading stuff, but there are tons of other activities and learning-related ideas. This is a round up of most of our summer-related resources: Summer Reading and this is a great "virtual beach bag" of activities (a lot of download-and-print-out type stuff, which it sounds like you're looking for) that we put together that was very popular earlier: Get Ready for Summer! Ideas for Teachers to Share with Families.

I think this is a really sweet idea. Good on you for thinking of it! Please let us know how it works out!
posted by sa3z at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2010


A beautiful, truly charming, deeply layered, ad-free, and imaginative site for preschool and up. It's something I actually enjoy playing with my kid.
posted by rumposinc at 12:16 PM on May 12, 2010

At 5 years old, my daughter loved playing dress-up in my old bridesmaid dresses. My mom donated a bunch of costume jewelry to round out the fashion fun.

She also loved playing stuffed animals, with me making up different silly voices for each animal. We got the camera out and recorded her "interviewing" the animals.

Her after school program showed her fun with gak which is much easier to clean up than flour and water mess I used to make as a kid.
posted by hoppytoad at 12:23 PM on May 12, 2010

This sounds like a great idea!

Our local Parks and Recreation has free activities all Summer. You might want to go online and see if you can find a calendar of events to print out and add.

A map listing local parks and playgrounds might be helpful. I'd add a little blurb about the ones that your kids like and why: :"This one has a rocket to play on" or "This one is near the Dog Park so you can watch the dogs play, but watch out for land mines." It would also be helpful to list which ones are going to be more crowded or dirty.

This is the best Play Dough recipe.
This is a good site for resources about playing outside.
Coloring pages that aren't all licenced characters.
Fun sites with Science experiments for rainy days.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2010

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