"Summer time and the living is easy" goes the old quote. However, if you have kids to entertain this isn't always the case, particularly if you don't usually have the younger set around. Here are a few ideas that are temporary, not particularly harmful to the landscape and easy for an adult to organize prior to the munchkins showing up for a visit.
What kid do you know that doesn't love a box that is big enough for a stove or refrigerator? On a sunny day in the back yard, youngsters can take it as it is and imagine it into a dozen different scenarios, from a cozy reading corner to a playhouse. With a little help from an adult, windows and doors can be cut into it and paint applied to make it even more appealing. With the addition of some cool accouterments such as redesigned paper plates, pool noodles, a whiffle ball or paper cups it could become a time machine or a car. This could turn into a several days entertainment project and perfect for a visiting grandchild wanting to be a lemonade stand entrepreneur or a princess in a castle.
The older set will remember playing under the spray of a hose in the back yard and many children still find that a great way to wow away the afternoon. There are loads of plastic gadgets that involve water and the wide-open spaces behind the house. From plastic pools to squirt guns, to geysers to slides if you want to spend some cash there are plenty of reasonable alternatives. One rather inexpensive choice is a water blob made from two sheets of plastic painters drop cloths. There is a process where one irons the plastic so the edges stick together leaving a hole big enough for a hose. The end result is a giant plastic sheet that can be filled with water. Add a little food coloring to the water to give it more interest and the little ones can spend the afternoon stomping around on it.
Another cool project is a fairy garden which could readily be added to most landscapes. Many children already have miniature people and other small objects that could be adapted to this undertaking. If one isn't thrilled with little people playing in their flower garden then an alternative might be to offer up a flower pot filled with dirt that children might add their own plants to create a fairy garden that can go home with them.
Big games like oversized checkers or monopoly laid out on the lawn have an appeal for all ages. There are some rather expensive ways of creating these games that could involve planting different types of grass or laying down pavers to create a desired design. If one doesn't love the idea of having their lawn devoted to a chess game all summer there are more temporary ways of creating such games. Ground marking paint spray comes in a variety of colors and after a couple of grass cuttings disappears from the scene.
The idea is to be creative so as not to have a permanent alteration of the yard when entertaining the younger set. Make it fun and make the youngsters part of the process and everyone can say it was just the best summer ever.