Here are a few more ideas to get you through the end of the summer!
Paint Free Painting
Painting can be fun, but messy! If you have a sidewalk, a fence, or a deck, this is an easy outdoor activity for your kiddos. Just fill a bowl or cup with water, give them some painting utensils, and paint away! It dries quickly and leaves a clean canvas behind.
Pouring a Drink
My kids have always loved trying to pour with a pitcher. The dollar store has super cheap containers, too. Even the smallest kids will be able to try this without fear of a giant indoor mess to clean up if they spill. Try mixing in ice, too. While your kids are playing outside, let them try to pour themselves a drink on a hot day. It's excellent for their motor skills, and great practice for life. To encourage my kiddos to practice this skill without any cleaning on my part AND to help keep them hydrated on those oh-so-hot summer days, I fill up (yes, completely, otherwise you'll make multiple trips to fill up the pitcher) a pitcher with ice water and bring out one plastic cup per child. I just set it out and told them to pour themselves a drink if they got thirsty. My three year old said, "By myself?" (Insert happy face here). Their faces lit up and they poured drink after drink....and drank it all. Well, whatever managed to get in the cup.
Outdoor Bubble Bath
Pretty self explanatory, but fill up a swimming pool with water and bubbles. Dawn dish soap works great, but doesn't agree with my kids' skin. We used Seventh Generation and it worked great.
We're about picked out here, but if you have any farms near you still offering You-Pick, try it out! We picked strawberries and blueberries and our apples will be in soon here on the east coast.
I found the cutest activity in Disney's Family Fun Magazine (April 2008)! It's so hot here today...and it's supposed to get worse as the week goes on. I've been waiting for a way-too-hot spell to try it, and this is the week!
S'mores are probably my favorite summer treat, with or without the campfire. I make them in the oven, you can grill 'em, but this new way is completely safe for the munchkins. Introducing....
Here's what you'll need:
- Pizza Box
- Pencil and ruler
- Craft Knife
- Aluminum Foil
- Glue Stick
- Black Construction Paper
- Clear plastic packing tape
- Clear plastic (like sheet protectors, laminating paper, etc)
- Graham Crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows
- Stick or dowel
- Adults: On the top of the pizza box, draw a square that is an inch smaller than the lid all the way around. Use the craft knife to cut through the cardboard along three sides, as shown, and then fold the cardboard up along the uncut line to form a flap.
- Kids can help: Glue aluminum foil, shiny side out, to the bottom of the flap, keeping it as wrinkle free as you can.
- Glue another piece of foil to the inside bottom of the box and then tape black paper on the top of the foil.
- Tape clear plastic to the underside of the lid to seal the opening created by the flap. For the best results, the seal should be as airtight as possible.
- Place your "oven" outdoors in direct sunlight with the flap opened toward the sum, For each s'more, center two graham crackers on the constructionpaper. Top one with chocolate and the other with a marshmallow. Close the box and then use a stick or dowel to prop the flap open at the angle that reflects the most sunlight into the box (check periodically to adjust the angle). Within an hour (or sooner if it's a really hot day), the chocolate squares and marshmallows should melt enough to assemble into s'mores.
If you try it, let me know how it goes. It's also a good excuse to order out pizza for dinner. :)