5 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained in Summer

Since you and your family may not be able to head out on your typical vacations and day trips this summer, you might be running out of ideas of how to keep your kids entertained. Leave the brainstorming to us! We’ve got you covered. We compiled some of our favorites and ditched the typical suggestion to just “put on a movie to keep them busy for a couple hours.” Let’s get the kiddos moving, thinking, and out into the fresh air for a change all while staying safe at home. Take advantage of this time together and have a fun-filled summer making memories as a family! Start out by trying one of these activities:

1. Sidewalk Chalk:

A tried and true classic, you can’t go wrong with a little street-side art! Get the creative juices flowing by heading to any dollar store or craft store and picking up a pack of colorful chalk. There are so many options for activities you can do with chalk and your sidewalk as a blank canvas. Try guessing games like hangman, a game that gets you moving like hopscotch, or make original masterpieces! You could even try using your collective imaginations to create your own game – maybe something resembling a new version of a favorite board game like Candy Land or Pictionary!

2. Cornhole:

Try playing a fun lawn game like cornhole (or as some people call it, bags)! This is a great way to get everyone outside and moving and start up a little friendly competition. Is this a tired game for your family? Try tweaking the rules and turning it into a game similar to H-O-R-S-E. Show off your fancy moves and see how creative, silly, or impressive you can get with your trick shots. Can your family members match your skills or are you the one true cornhole master? Go find out!

Don’t have a cornhole set but are feeling handy? Try building your own! It’s a great way to try something new or if you’re a seasoned craftsman, you can teach your kids great life skills while having fun building something that you’ll enjoy together. Check out this guide!

3. Water Games:

If it’s too hot to be standing in the sun for long periods of time, turn to water games! Try setting up your sprinklers to turn on for a couple hours during the day while you’re burning up in the house. Head outside and just run around through the water to cool off, or make a game of it. Who can last the longest without getting sprayed? Better start practicing your duck and weaving skills! Also, don’t forget about other fun water games like water balloon fights. If you don’t have water balloons, try throwing household sponges to soak each other. You can also break out a Slip ‘N Slide, but if you don’t have one, you can also use any old water resistant tarp like you’d have for camping or painting. Just lay it out on the grass, spray it down with the hose, and get to sliding!

4. Themed Dinners:

If your family is really missing going out to your favorite restaurants, try having a themed dinner! Dress up like chefs and waiters and prep your kitchen and dining room for the evening. Pull out tablecloths and set out silverware to make it more realistic, and try making copycat versions of your go-to dishes from your restaurant of choice. Some fun ideas could be trying a hibachi night like at Benihana or a made to order burrito night like at Chipotle.

If you’re REALLY feeling creative, kick it up a notch by making it a whole event by dressing up for the part. For example, have a luau-themed night with fish or chicken teriyaki, fresh fruits, and fun cocktails (or mocktails). Don’t forget to wear your beach party best – think: leis, Hawaiian shirts, pool floaties, whatever you got! You could also do a Disney-themed night dressed as princesses or animal sidekicks with foods like Ratatouille or even ~the gray stuff~. Check out these Disney recipe ideas. Other ideas would include dressing up like characters from your favorite TV shows and movies like Scooby Doo, Tiger King, That 70’s Show, and more! 

5. Build a Fort:

Really set on the idea of staying in to watch movies? I totally understand! Maybe try spicing up your time on the couch by working together with your kids to build the greatest castle in all the land (read: pillow fort). Grab all your pillows, blankets, quilts, and stuffed animals to make it super cozy. Spice it up by adding some Christmas lights, ribbons, and other decorations! Turn it into a legendary movie night by heading into the kitchen and making some snacks to make it feel extra special. Popcorn and hot chocolate are always hits, but you could also get your kids involved with baking cookies or making hot fudge sundaes. 

Send us pictures of your summer fun on social media. We can’t wait to see what you came up with!

Five Tips for Easy Meal Planning with Shopkick

My social media feeds are currently filled with families celebrating the first few days of school for their kids. It seems almost everyone embraces the harmony this season brings! One of the common fall rhythms that is back once again is new requests for meal planning tips to enjoy after busy school and activity days. Whether you are a fellow parent celebrating the school year or a young professional cooking for one, I thought now would be a great time to explore five easy ways to meal plan with Shopkick.

1. Check Pinterest:

Pinterest always feels like a treasure trove of some of the best recipes. There are plenty of recipes for food sensitive family members, quick and easy one pan, pot, or sheet options, or new ideas to try for lunch. Bon Appetit, Cookie & Kate, Food Network, and SkinnyTaste are a few of my go-to accounts to review whenever I’m searching for something new. Plus, Shopkick has three boards filled with recipes – healthy recipes, easy cooking, and sweet treats – that are definitely worth a follow!

2. Explore the Discover Tab:

As you’re searching for new ideas or planning your grocery list, check the Discover Tab in the Shopkick app! Some of the most well-loved brands share simple step-by-step recipe ideas and easy to find ingredients. Plus, the Discover Tab is also a great spot to learn about recently released products. You can’t mix up your meal routine more than when you introduce a new find!

3. Plan It Out:

I love the ease of searching digitally, but once I’ve found my what I want to try I turn to paper. I find writing each day’s meal idea into my planner is my best bet because it’s a tool I use daily, and I like viewing a full week of plans at a glance rather than a single day. Typically, I’ll try 1-2 new recipes each week, reserve a night for pizza and another to eat out, and then add in tried and true favorites for all other days. That schedule helps to broaden my meal horizons while also keeping my realistic availability in check. Once you have a plan, make your grocery list!

4. Try Ordering Groceries Online:

Once your grocery list is ready to go, the most obvious step is to shop in person. However, if you’re short on time, try ordering groceries online from a store like Walmart Grocery. You can still purchase all of the brands and ingredients you buy every week, and you can add to your cart from the comfort of your house or even your car via your phone.

5. Save Your Favorites:

After you try a new-to-you recipe, decide whether or not you and your family enjoyed it. Then take things one step further, and pin it onto a Pinterest board noting the recipes you and your family enjoy. You can also create a second board of recipes you didn’t like to help to ensure you don’t make them again even if they pop up in the future. By doing this, you will collect a great variety of options over time, which will allow meal planning to become quicker and easier!

How do you and your family plan your meals? Chime in on Facebook and let us know!

Love is in the Air

In January, the holidays officially came to a close and winter’s coldest temperatures arrived over the course of a few weeks. One month seemed to last for a very long time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was battling some serious cabin fever. I realized it was time for me to look to my forever cure: travel!

Earn kicks when you book with Booking.com and Hotels.com.

Whether I’m planning a trip that’s days, weeks, or months away, I always love getting lost in the pure enjoyment of planning flights, hotels, experiences, and food. And, my two favorite tools for planning are Booking.com and Hotels.com. What’s even better is you can join me in earning 10 kicks per $1 spent when you plan and book your trip through either site while using your Shopkick app between now and February 18! This month, love truly is in the air.

Where will you go?

Just in case you love talking all things travel too, I thought I would offer more inspiration. My first question: Snow, sand, or city? Let’s dive into all three!


February and March are two of my favorite months to travel. Spring’s arrival is palpable, but the seasons haven’t changed just yet. As a result, a getaway to the mountains to ski, snowboard, snow tube, and ice skate is a definite possibility. As an East Coast resident, Vermont is one of my favorite spots to ski. There is plenty of snow, and I love exploring the quaint towns in New England when I need a break from the slopes. Of course, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Northern California also have incredible mountains too if you would prefer to head west! They’re all on my list to experience, and you can book your ski trip with Booking.com and Hotels.com through the app.


By this point in the winter, a warm getaway to enjoy the beach might be more up your alley. Florida and Southern California both have plenty of beaches to enjoy during this time of year. Miami, Boca Grande, and Naples are all excellent beach cities in Florida with plenty more to see off of the sand. And, any of the beaches from San Diego to Los Angeles always promise beautiful views! You could also plan the ultimate trip and skip outside of the U.S. to explore Mexico or the Caribbean.


In my opinion, there is never a season in which a trip to the city is not a wonderful idea. The winter offers a great opportunity to explore all of the indoor spots a city has to offer, which means plenty of time spent in museums. You can also add coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, and all things cultural to your experiences list. Check to see if the city you plan to visit has an indoor botanical garden, too! No matter the season, there are always flowers blooming inside. If you are looking for a new city to explore, I always hear incredible things about Boston, Charleston, SC, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Which city will you visit when you book using Booking.com and Hotels.com through Shopkick?

Whether you choose to visit the mountains, beach, or city, I am certain you will be happy you said yes to traveling solo or with family or friends! So, where will your getaway take you?

How to Take a Budget Friendly Beach Vacation

Whether it’s due to the below freezing temperatures or our ever-present wanderlust, we always find we’re ready to start planning a getaway (or two!) in January. And, today we’re dreaming of the place that allows all of us to enjoy sun, sand, and relaxation mixed with a hint (or more!) of adventure – the beach!

The beach is meant to act as a true escape, and we know one of the keys to relaxation is making sure to remain within your budget. We’re thrilled to announce for a limited time, you can book your next beach vacation with Booking.com and Hotels.com with Shopkick to earn 10 kicks per $1 spent! The best news? You can book trips now to take throughout the year – there aren’t any blackout dates! Plus, you can cash in your kicks for gift cards to use while you travel.

Now that you’re excited to plan, let’s start talking about beaches to visit. Up first? The United States!

There are miles upon miles of coastlines to explore throughout the world, and the United States has quite a number of incredible spots on its own. If you’re interested in seeing rocky coastlines mixed with classic coastal architecture in New England, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are three beautiful spots to consider. Perhaps Southern charm is in order, in which case places like Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, and Savannah are all perfect spots to mix sand and history. Florida’s Panhandle has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country, and Alabama and Texas offer plenty of relaxation. If surf culture is your thing, head west to cities spanning from Baja California to just outside of Los Angeles, jet to Hawaii, and don’t forget to consider traveling north to Oregon and Washington.

There are plenty of amazing beaches to experience outside of the United States too, which is why we would be remiss not to mention Mexico. Located just outside of Cancun, Riviera Maya stuns with its pristine stretches of sand, all-inclusive resorts, and plethora of adventure. Swim with whale sharks, snorkel, explore cenotes, or simply lounge on the beach with a great book – you will love your experience. Plus, Cancun’s international airport offers a direct destination for many airlines. Across the country, both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas offer unparalleled experiences on Mexico’s Pacific coastline. Be prepared for rockier coastlines, incredible sunrises and sunsets, culture, and plenty of time to relax.

Lastly, the Caribbean is brimming with beaches to explore! The Bahamas are some of the closest Caribbean islands to the United States, and each island offers a different colorful flavor and feel. We have only ever heard rave reviews of Turks and Caicos, the Virgin Islands, Curacao, Grand Cayman, and Aruba. All offer dining, history, diving, snorkeling, and some of the most beautiful water to swim in.

Wherever your adventure takes you, isn’t it time to stop dreaming and start booking your complete budget friendly beach vacation? We think so too! Booking.com and Hotels.com to the rescue! But, remember to book prior to 1/27 with Shopkick in order to take advantage of the big kicks.

Let us know where your travels will take you in the comments!

Make sure to download Shopkick for free, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more shopping inspiration!