If your kids have ever said "I'm Bored"... I've got the perfect summer boredom buster ideas for you!

When I was a kid... we weren't allowed to swear, and we weren't allowed to say, "I'm Bored". Now that I am a mother, I totally understand why these rules existed. When my children are looking for something to do, I usually just kick them outside and tell them to find their own adventure... but on occasion (especially on rainy days when I am trying to limit screen use), I like to have a few suggestions up my sleeve. Today, I am sharing a simple idea that is guaranteed to help... an "I'm Bored Jar". I'm sharing the free printable jar label too!

Basically, I picked up an inexpensive jar from the dollar store, added a label, and filled the jar with slips of paper containing ideas for simple activities. Cute, right?

The ideas in the jar should be inexpensive and simple. For example:

  • Have a picnic
  • Read a book outside
  • Have a water fight
  • Go for a walk
  • Watch a movie
  • Build a fort
  • Get ice cream
  • Play something with a ball
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Bake something
  • Make a craft
  • Do a science experiment
  • Play a board game
  • Try a new food
  • Build a puzzle
  • Have a dance party
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Play tag
  • Write a letter

You can make your own label for the jar or you can use mine. 

To download the label I designed: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.

Don't you love when a simple idea works well and makes your life easier?

This is a wonderful idea any time of year, but it's especially great for summer. What activities will you put in your jar?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

A Birthday Letter to my Youngest Son... on his 10th birthday

Every year, I take some to write my boys letters on their birthdays. The annual letters are my way of remembering exactly what they are like at each stage of their lives. I hope someday they look back at their letters and see how special they were and how much I loved every year I got to spend with them. Today, my youngest son turns 10... and here is his letter.

My dearest "baby" boy,

I can't believe you are in double digits. It seems like only yesterday we dropped your older brothers off at school and spent our days having adventures together. I loved the hours we spent reading stories and playing with your farm when you were little, but I am having a lot of fun with you now too. Here are some of the reasons I love you to the moon and back:

  • You were a boy who started elementary full of shyness and anxiety, and this coming September you are headed to Junior High School with a new found confidence. I am so proud of how far you have come.
  • You have lots of friends, but your brothers and cousins have a special place in your heart.
  • I'm still in awe of your unique way of quietly observing the world. You always ask the best questions.
  • You are super-funny. We especially love when you put on your housecoat, hang your medals around your neck, and rap.
  • You love all things sports... especially hockey, softball, basketball, and golf. You also love to ride your bike.
  • Your favourite food is multi grain wheat thin crackers. I buy you one box a week, and you usually eat them in one sitting.
  • Green is your favourite colour, you love when I read you stories (in a soft voice) at bedtime, and you look forward to our Friday night family movie nights.
  • You love sleep. You often ask to go to bed when you are tired... which is good because you get pretty cranky when you are overtired.
  • You give the best cuddles (and I have my fingers crossed that you let me tuck you in and read you stories for many years to come).
Even though you are in double digits now, you will always be my baby boy. Happy 10th birthday, sweet boy!



An Easy Way to Brighten Up the Interior of Your Home... without spending a lot money

I am all about decorating on a budget, and I love when I can update a space without spending much money. Recently, my husband and I decided to paint the interior of our front door a light blue colour, and it really transformed the space. Today, I am sharing the details of our little DIY decor project... along with the before and after pictures. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Originally, the interior of our front door was white, so on a sunny (not too hot) afternoon, my husband removed the hardware from our front door, I hit the paint store, and we got to work.

The keys to painting a door like this are: 

  • use a quality paint
  • use a combination of a brush (for the inset parts of the door) a foam roller (for a smooth finish)

Here is how the door turned out. We added an inexpensive navy mat from Walmart (that cost $20.97), and homemade twine monogram. What do you think?

I love paint projects because you can take chances with colour (knowing that it can easily be changed). I'm loving how much it brightens up the space, don't you?

The door looks great on it's own, but I'm enjoying the addition of the monogram I made. You can find the full tutorial here.

Have you painted any interior doors in your home? This was my first one... but I'm pretty sure it isn't going to be my last!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You can find more easy and inexpensive home decor inspiration here.

Deck Dice DIY... using dollar store supplies

Keeping kids entertained (and away from screens) can be a challenge. My boys are pretty active, but there are still times I struggle to get them outside on summer days. Recently, I was at the dollar store, and I found some inexpensive oversized foam dice... and DECK DICE was born.

I purchased five foam dice and a large bucket (to hold them) at the dollar store, and I designed a label for the front of the bucket.

To download the label I designed: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.

Then, I created some 8x10 sheets, and I laminated them so that they can be used multiple times with dry erase markers. Pretty clever, right?

To download the score sheets I designed: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

I'm looking forward to playing this game on the deck with my boys this summer. It might make a few trips to the beach or park too!

Do you like playing games with your kids outside during their summer break from school? I recommend a trip to the dollar store to pick up some of these foam dice. It's easy and inexpensive to put this game together, and it's lots of fun!

Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

50 Ideas for Easy and Inexpensive Summer Fun (including a free printable 2019 summer checklist)

This is the 8th summer for our family's summer checklist. Every year, we make a list of all the fun adventures we plan on completing during my boys' break from school. We fill our summer bucket list with easy and inexpensive ideas for summer fun. This is one of my absolute favourite annual family traditions, and it has helped us to create many priceless memories. Today, I am sharing our 2019 summer checklist (that you can download for free below). I've also included several links to additional info about the activities.

To download and print the summer checklist: click on the checklist below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo. I sent mine to my local copy store and printed it for $0.59. That's a lot of fun for less than a dollar!

We always have 50 items on our list, but feel free to adapt the list to fit your family. You can choose 10, 20, 30 or 40 of your favourites and add them to this blank list. It's not meant to be stressful... it's a template for family fun!

To download the blank version: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

And... in case you need more info about the items on my list, or you are looking for items to make your own list, check out the helpful links below.

1) Celebrate Canada Day or the 4th of July - Find simple and fun ideas for photo props, crafts, decor and recipes here.

2) Watch fireworks or attend a parade

3) Have a picnic or BBQ and eat outside - All picnics are great, but a teddy bear picnic is extra special. You can get the recipe for our favourite teddy bear picnic cookies here.

4) Go to a splash pad or swim in a pool

5) Host a "half sleepover" or backyard carnival - Hosting a fun event for friends is a really fun way to spend a summer afternoon or evening. Click on the links above for some of my favourite DIY party details.

6) Go to a farmer's market or visit a yard sale

7) Visit the library and read a book outside - If you are looking for some great books to get your kids reading this summer, you can find a list of some of our favourites here.

8) Have a water fight or NERF gun battle - I have simple tips for transforming your backyard into a water park here and easy and inexpensive NERF battle ideas here.

9) Go fishing or hiking

10) Have a family movie night outside or attend an outdoor concert - Outdoor movie nights are a family favourite in our house. You can read my best tips and tricks for an easy, inexpensive and fun movie night here.

11) Eat donuts from a string (with no hands) 

12) Pick out a toy or treat at the dollar store

13) Plant something and watch it grow

14) Visit a wildlife park, farm or zoo

15) Build a fort (inside the house or outside) or a trail through the woods

16) Get ice cream in PJs (drive throughs are OK) 

17) Play baseball, soccer, golf or street hockey

18) Make homemade ice cream or another cold treat - I have tons of great ideas for ice cream on my blog here. They are all delicious, but I highly recommend giving the DIY ice cream pie a try.

19) Go for a bike ride

20) Decorate a cake or bake cookies - I have tons of recipes for sweet treats on my blog, but if you are looking for a tried and true favourite, check out my soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

21) Spend time at a cottage, beach or park

22) Do a science experiment or make a craft - Science experiments and crafts are perfect ways for kids to have fun, be creative, and continue learning during their summer break. Find some of our favourite science experiments here and some of our favourite crafts here.

23) Play a board game or chocolate bar bingo (which is like regular bingo... but with chocolate bars as prizes) - Playing games together is always fun. I have a great idea for a board game day here and a fun DIY outdoor game here.

24) Go geo-caching or bowling

25) Have a "kids pick the meals" day

26) Play mini golf

27) See a play or visit a museum

28) Have a lemonade stand or yard sale

29) Try a new food

30) Have a theme day (e.g. a pirate daysuperhero day, "parents say yes" day, or "spend our gift cards" day)

31) Camp at a campground, in the backyard or in the living room

32) Have a PJ day

33) Build a large puzzle

34) Make a summer reading list, set a reading goal or keep a summer journal

35) Fly a kite

36) Have a dance party or sing karaoke

37) Go on a scavenger hunt - Scavenger hunts are fun for kids of all ages. You can find one for younger kids (with pictures) here, and you can find a fun idea for older kids here.

38) Organize a drawer, closet or room

39) Play with water balloons

40) Do a good deed or raise money for charity

41) Go on a road trip to another city or town

42) Play "tag" or run in a race

43) Roast marshmallows, make s'mores or cook a different campfire treat 
- Check out my favourite ideas here

44) Write and mail a letter or postcard

45) Visit at least 5 different ice cream stands

46) Go stargazing

47) Choose your own
48) Choose your own
49) Choose your own

50) HAVE ICE CREAM FOR SUPPER! - This is the last item on our checklist every year. It's the perfect way to celebrate the completion of our summer checklist and remember all the fun memories we made together.

Creating and completing a summer checklist really is one of my favourite family traditions. It's always a lot of fun, and definitely something my boys look forward to each year.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't miss any of the fun....