The great thing about most of these activities is that even though they may seem too young for you elementary age child (or even middle school), when you couple the activity with a younger child, your older one will have just as much fun.
Find activities that are active, outdoors, and hands-on, not to mention creative.
1. Water Play
Even without a pool, you can still have water fun on those really, really hot days. Use a sprinkler. Use water sprayers or water guns. Use small bowls or containers of water. If you do use containers, some very important CAUTIONS to keep in mind:
Do NOT leave children unsupervised no matter how small the container is. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water.
Do not leave your containers standing out when they’re not in use. The standing water breeds mosquitos and other icky things. Pour out the containers. If you must leave them outside, store them upside down. Rinse them out before and after each use.
Grab some movies ahead of time from the library for that inevitable rainy day.
3. Craft Projects
Visit the Summer with Bubba board for some great activities, both fun and educational.
5. Barnes & Noble
B&N has a summer reading program that will give your child a free book after they read for so many hours. It is a limited selection but they are all age appropriate and free books are fabulous!
Put any other suggestions/links in the comments below.
Have a great summer!
Things you’ve collected on your travels
I finally found a way to put my bag obsession to good use. Kids are always bored; at least they think so. One way to combat this life fatigue over the summer is to have a few tote bags ready to go. Just add items to the bag, keep it in the closet until needed.
1. Library Tote
New books to read. Reading lists to bring to the library. Mini-journals (can be homemade) to record books read, minutes spent reading, book summaries and reviews. Bookmarks. Materials to make bookmarks as an additional activity.
Don’t forget to check out your local library for their summer reading program. There is always a theme, prizes, and an end of program event. We’ve done several and they are great fun!
This can include new snacks that the family hasn’t tried yet (non-perishable of course). Recipe cards. Aprons for your kids. Potholders. Cookie cutters. These can be used on bread, cheese, etc. If you know you’ll be using this bag you can add in the ingredients for something specific for that rainy day. Grocery list for food tasting.
3. Surprise Movie Tote
Choose a popular movie that your kids haven’t seen or have only seen once in the movie theatre. Include microwave popcorn and individual boxes or baggies of candy. The movie theatre boxes are sold at Target and Wal-Mart for $1. You don’t have to buy the movies either. Check out the DVD section of your library or Redbox. Netflix also has a DVD subscription service, but that is slightly more expensive (although still quite reasonable).
4. Summer Cleaning
Cleaning is always more fun when, well, it’s not really, but some kids really do like to clean. Have a list of chores in the bag with points assigned to it, like a scavenger hunt. In place of a list, you can use (or make) a six-sided die so the choices are truly random. Set the table for dinner, fold the laundry, fold someone else’s laundry in the house, put the sneakers away, make your bed, etc.
Pinterest has some really great boards for kids’ activities. You can get started on making some Christmas gifts as well as gifts for your upcoming teachers. By this time, your kids should know who next year’s teacher is and could make a little welcome packet for back to school.
I’ll have some recommendations tomorrow for you to check out. School is almost out; what are you waiting for?
What are some of the things you can think of mjaking a tote bag activity for? Answer in the comments.
Then and House Rules for Now.
I have one very distinct memory of childhood that doesn’t come from a picture or someone else’s recollection. I am in a very small square kitchen with a few other kids – I want to say a bunch, but a bunch seems too many. We are standing around a small white stove – gas, of course, and there is an adult, but for the life of me I can’t remember which adult it was. I don’t think it was my mother or my grandmother so it may have been a neighbor or the neighbor of a friend. We wandered in those days. Someone was always watching and even if you couldn’t see them or if you didn’t know them, they knew you and your parents and your parents always found out.
The stove was next to a back door and just outside the backdoor was a strip of asphalt or more accurately a cement walkway between the door and the rest of the house, and a patch of grass. There may have been a fence, but that is less clear to me.
We’re standing around the stove, not too close, and the mom whoever she was, and yes, she was a mom, was wearing pants and a turtleneck. The whole scene is colorful in my mind, but I don’t see physical colors; I just know they are there.
The stove is lit with that blue flame that comes up from the pilot and the gas, and the tin foil of the Jiffy Pop is expanding exponentially. The pops popping faster and faster until the foil splits and the popcorn is ready. I know we had red juice to drink, probably Hi-C or more likely Hawaiian Punch Fruit Punch. To this day, whenever my kids are at a party and that is the drink of choice, I always steal some and it tastes just like summer in the city, eight or so years old, running out the back door with a cup spilling over our hands and the other hand carrying as much popcorn as is humanly possible.
My kids saw Jiffy Pop once and it was a fandom thing, but I might have to get one for this summer. They know precisely how to make microwave popcorn and for them that is their pop-popping memory, but there is something about the foil splitting that says it’s ready that really has all the feels.
As a kid, we were never the Kool-Aid house. We lived in a court so if the kids wanted anything they went home for a minute or two.
When I had kids, I wanted to be the Kool-Aid house, but that lasted all of three minutes. I babysat for a couple of kids when my son was young, and they were great kids. Really. But every time they would jump on my furniture, not a constant jumping, but a normal, excited, jump, once, no big deal, it would make me crazy. I had to walk away so as not to yell at them because even though I didn’t realize it was an anxiety thing, I knew that what they were doing was appropriate for their age. It just bothered me, and most of the time, I bit my lip and let them be kids, but it was hard for me. I know that some of that comes from my mother having a “formal” living room with plastic on the furniture that even when company was over, we weren’t allowed to sit on. That was for company. And so despite none of my apartments having a den, I still felt that my living room was more for adults than kids. We kept glass out, and decor because my son was really good about not getting into things. Other kids, though… And his brother and sister when they came along had no concept of don’t touch, don’t drop, don’t, don’t, don’t.
We’re always cluttered. We have toys and magazines and comic books and hair ties all over the place. We live in our house even if sometimes we feel claustrophobic from all the disarray. We’ve gotten most of it under control for my son’s girlfriend to visit – the dreaded popover. My daughter has a friend who lives a few houses down. He came by and didn’t knock but waited patiently for someone to hear the screen door open. He’s done that three times already. The other day, it happened: “Can I give M some water?” Sure. “Can M use the bathroom?” Um…okay. And so it begins. With or without the fruit punch, we might be the Kool Aid house after all; for at least one friend. It must be time for –
I’ve been mute on the Orlando shooting because what can I say. 49 lives taken for no reason other than their orientation. I thought of drawing something like I had done for Prince and Muhammad Ali, but nothing came to me apart from ribbons that I can’t draw and didn’t want to copy.
This is the twenty-first century. Forget six degrees, we are all one or two degrees of separation from someone in the LGBT+ community so maybe instead of six degrees of separation we should change it to six degrees of connection.
At mass this morning, this line in Galatians screamed out at me and this came out. It is not necessarily limited to remembering the victims of Orlando or any other victims of hate, but it can be a bringing together.
In Food, posted Monday, I mentioned eating sweet potatoes when I was sick. The truth is I was almost never sick. I had the chicken pox like everyone of my generation and got a week off from school, staring out of the front window of our apartment with my brother who also had them that week. But I was never sick. I didn’t get colds, no ear infections. While my friends were out sick, I was always in school. I did miss senior skip day and I never went to class in college (or work later on) on my birthday and while I always worked Christmas, I never worked New Year’s. I also never called in because of having too much to drink.
So I was completely stunned when in my 20s, working for a child development center for the US Navy, I got an ear infection. Having never had one before I had no idea what it was except that I was certain that I was dying. The pain was unbearable. I tried to lie down to make it stop, not realizing that is pretty much the worst thing you can do for an ear infection. When I finally got diagnosed and on antibiotics, I thanked G-d for science and medicine and medical advances that would remove that pain.
Since then, I have had a few more ear infections, chronic ringing in my ears (thanks Stray Cats) and hearing loss (again, thank SC), but I still never really get sick.
My second pregnancy.
One or two bouts of food poisoning and a couple of flus, all after my kids were born. Kids wear you down. They really do.
I am pro-vaccine. I feel the need to say that in this world of maybe science doesn’t work, but science does work and vaccines save lives. I have the mark on my left shoulder from the small pox vaccine that my kids will never get because we eradicated it and no longer need a small pox vaccine in this country. I went to Jonas E. Salk Middle School, named for the man who discovered the vaccine against polio, a disease that killed our thirty-second president.
On Monday, I had my yearly physical, complete with a tetanus booster. I moaned in that childlike way of no like shots, but I took it and there was no doubt that I would.
It hurt for that split second and I went about my day, getting my hair cut, eating lunch which fit into my new prescribed diet (except for the diet coke which so far is the last one I’ve had). I watched Major Crimes. I slept and got up on Tuesday and went grocery shopping. I felt great.
Then I felt fine.
then I was achey and whiney, and my head was throbbing and I had a fever, but I was so cold that I needed a blanket and then another. I fell asleep in my office chair, which is an overstuffed living room chair.
I barely ate dinner. My eyes hurt (which is why I haven’t been here as often as I had planned), even as I listened to Containment on the television.
Wednesday was slightly better but not by much.
On Thursday, I was able to leave my bed, eat lunch and go to my meeting for the day of service for my church. I’m the secretary.
I will be calling the doctor today, although I should have called on Wednesday morning. I have never had a reaction to a vaccine before. Obviously, this is better than getting any of the things the Tdap prevents, but it was still pretty miserable.
I couldn’t even watch television which is usually very comforting when I ‘m not feeling well. Sweet potatoes and the blue glow of the television used to be the only medicine I needed.
Take your shots kids (and adults) and have some extra water, fruit, Netflix, wifi, and of course, sweet potatoes on hand. Just in case.
Week 8 – Triumph