If you ever want to feel like the least creative, least accomplished mom on the planet, check out some Pinterest summer activity boards. These moms come up with the most complicated ways possible for kids to have fun, and then call them “quick” and “easy.” Quick and easy my butt. Here are some of the most labor intensive, time consuming, and irritating Pinterest selections, along with my genuinely quick and easy alternatives.
1. Backyard movie under the stars.
For this “delightful” and “simple” chore, I mean, activity, you need a white sheet, a clothesline, a projector (!), an adapter cord, a laptop, and probably a media assistant that you hire off Craigslist. My alternative is, wait for it, TV. Yup. A movie on the TV. Make some popcorn if you want to knock yourself out, but only if it doesn’t interfere with making yourself a margarita.
2. Make your own popsicles.
The short list of ingredients here includes popsicle sticks, paper cups or special plastic molds, lemonade, fresh fruit, and the desire to waste an hour of your life that you can never get back. My alternative? Buy some popsicles. They are really cheap, especially when you take into account that you will have to buy them anyway after your homemade popsicles suck and their sticks never stay in.
3. Water balloon dartboard.
So hold up, you’re telling me to purposely purchase darts and tell my kids to throw them? Is the other name for this activity “Game Which Must Be So Closely Supervised That If You Look Away For One Second, Your Child Will Lose An Eye?” Sounds so relaxing. Alternative: throwing water balloons. They break anyway. Middleman eliminated.
4. Squirt gun painting.
Hey, I know what sounds like a good idea! Anything but this. If you can’t imagine your kids squirting paint into each other’s faces, then give me the name of the drug you use to sedate your children. My super duper creative alternative is called “painting.” With brushes. Unless your children are hardened ex-cons who don’t get excited about painting unless the paint is given to them in weapons.
5. Create a giant tic tac toe board in your backyard.
Really? The yard doesn’t look bad enough with your husband’s lackadaisical approach to mowing? You have to consciously try to make your yard look even crazier? I have another option, are you sitting down? Get some paper and crayons. Tic tac toe, old school style. Whoa.
6. Bowling with recycled bottles.
Building on the previous idea, now your yard has a crazy looking tic tac toe board AND is littered with empty bottles? Why don’t you just forgo a trash can and dump your garbage directly into your yard? The kids can use it for “sensory play.” No thank you, recycled bottle bowling. My alternative is actual bowling. Because get your kids out of your backyard for a change. Are they on house arrest or something?
7. Build your own zip line in your back yard.
Shockingly, there are numerous pins detailing this terrifying endeavor. Call me boring, but when listing things that one should build oneself, I draw the line at “things that carry your kids through the air at high speeds.” Alternative: How about a tricycle? That’s a good one. It moves, so it’s basically the same thing.