Summer Grace

The Laundry Moms Welcome Shelley Jones

today as our featured guest writer for our

“31 Days of Grace” series!


Staycation with kids

by Shelley Jones


How to enjoy the weather, make great memories for your kids, and take a break this summer when you have commitments that keep you working and/or close to home?


I stumbled into starting my own online retail business, dignify, last summer; a eureka decision that I arrived upon as the opportunity arose, and as I subconsciously concluded that my life as a stay-at-home parent was becoming much too simple with my two daughters out of the baby stage and reaching 3 and nearly 2 years old (ha!).


Now into our second summer with a family business, many challenges, questions, and juggling arise. For one, leaving town takes much planning, organization, & delegation, as the business is based around inventory & mail-outs. Complicated, but manageable; really, it’s not too different than hiring a babysitter.


But, my bigger concern is for the time when we are home. How to work when all you want to do is play? When there are pools to visit and amusement parks to frequent, and any number of summer activities and memories that I want to create for my kids & our family together?  I also happen to live in a climate that offers winter or winter-lite for at least 6 months of the year. Summer is short, hot weather is a rare joy, and I want to make the most of it!


I’d like to share my top low supervision, high fun activities for little kids this summer. These are great activities if you need to stick close to home for potty training, mobility issues, financial reasons, or, like me, because you still have to get some work done while the kids are playing.


Check Out These Great Options for Having Grace During the Summer Months While Creating Memories…


3 Backyard, Low Supervision Activities for Preschoolers & Up


1. Bathing suits + hose = fun

This simple equation has almost infinite permutations & combinations. My personal favorite is the Slip & Slide, which I bought for $10 and is set up on a little incline. Any water is entertaining, but I prefer a hose (with a meager trickle, not full blast for hours!) to a paddling pool if I want it to require little of my supervising attention.


2. Mud pie kitchen

I spent one afternoon collecting interesting kitchen tools, pie pans, spoons, etc. from a thrift shop, then re-imagining a found pallet, and, voila! A “mud pie kitchen”. Put it in a corner where you don’t mind a little muck and let them loose. I set down my notebook every once in a while to “taste” a delicious soup, pie, or cupcake, before sending them to another corner of the yard to find pinecones for the stew or stones for the scones.


Add a trickling hose & the activity lasts twice as long (see #1).


3. Scavenger Hunt

This brilliant concept came from my sister after she created it as a camping trip activity for her 2-year old. Create a simple printable with a list of things to find, along with pictures (thank you, Google image search). A brown leaf, a green leaf, a feather, a smooth stone, etc. Give kids a bucket and the list and off they go. Set a timer if that is what excites them. It depends, of course, on the kind of yard & age of kids you have, but I have adapted it to include activities, too, like drawing a picture with chalk, jumping 10x on the trampoline, and so on.


So, with the kids exploring the elements, what can you do while sipping your lemonade? Laptops and sunny glare do not mix, and it’s clear to me which one has to go. Even if you do not have a business to manage, you have a household & a life to manage – these are big jobs!


Save your to-do list for a rainy day, and spend summer days gazing on your happy kids & thinking big picture.  What are dreams, hopes, ideas, and goals for the year? We rarely take the time to reflect & plan on a high level; what more perfect time than the lead-up to a fresh start in September? Bring out a notebook & pen and allow yourself the time to be productive without immediate results (apart from your tan, that is…).


Happy Summer!




IMG_1542Shelley Jones is an accidental entrepreneur, stumbling through operating her own online fair trade retail shop, dignify.ca, while corralling her two little girls (with one more baby on the way). A native of Calgary, AB, Shelley freezes her way through the winter to get to her favorite time of year: flip-flops 24/7

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