Summer Fun

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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.

2. Movies

Grab some movies ahead of time from the library for that inevitable rainy day.

3. Craft Projects

Visit the Nifty (for crafts) and the Tasty (for recipes) Facebook pages for fun activities.

4. Pinterest

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!

My Everlasting Gobstopper Prayer Bead (Title Change)

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Today was week one of a four week mini-retreat I guess I’d call it. I hadn’t realized that there was an art component, but Brother Mickey and my son’s hesitation to explore his own talent has me stepping out more and more in the artistic realm. It’s not museum quality, but I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve worked on.

The theme for the four weeks is exploring and meditating on the women of the Gospel as well as the Gospel women in our own lives. We all know them, and this series of exercises will let us dwell on them and ourselves with the guidance of the women mentioned in Scriptures.

Every week we will hear two readings and have the week to think on them. Lecto Divinia was mentioned as a tool which is one that I enjoy. When we return, we’ll talk about our week away and work on some kind of art that reflects our reflections.

Today, being the first day, we reflected on why we’ve come to this type of workshop and we set out to make a prayer bead. It’s not quite a bead. Some of us went long like a rosary. Some of us made necklaces, bracelets, danglies, and whatever else struck our fancy.

Mine is a necklace that i’ll wear the next four weeks, and then I will probably convert it to a danglie.

It’s something tangible to hold onto while I’m reflecting or meditating or sit next to my keyboard while I’m writing.

I anchored mine with a bell. I like d the idea of a little bit of noise in the silence of meditating.

Today’s silence was a bit too relaxing – I think I fell asleep. No one said anything, but I still feel as though I missed some parts of the talking bits.

When mine was finished, it reminded me of an everlasting gobstopper. Watch Willy Wonka making them, and then look at my photos from this morning.

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Tote Bag Fun

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This activity needs a little prep before the winter recess (or spring break) begins. If you know your kids well, you can use this with any age, but I’ve always geared these tote bags towards early childhood up to about first or second grade. Again, adaptability is the key.

Each tote bag contains themed activities or a planned outing. for example, the library tote can store your finished library books until the next time you visit the library or your library tote can contain books that your kids rarely read or new books to create a library for the day in your home.

1. Library – include books that your kids haven’t seen in awhile. Add card stock, colored pencils, markers, and crayons to make bookmarks. Include journaling paper for book report, reviews, sketch paper for adding illustrations, paper for extending the story (ie. fan fiction for kids).

2. Beach – Throw in those leis from the variety of birthday parties your kids have attended. Include a bathing suit and towel for each child. Don’t forget the sunglasses and water bottle. Put in a CD of dance music and a camera for selfies. You might also want a big, wide-brimmed straw hat to keep the sun out of their eyes.

3. Get Crafty – All the things. Paper, tape, feathers, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, glue, chalk, yarn, string, whatever you can think of. Collect some recycling in anticipation of the week recess: toilet paper and paper towel tubes, egg cartons, tin cans (washed, of course), newspaper, magazines. Pirate themes are always fun. Toilet paper tubes make great binoculars and wind socks. Paper towel tubes make periscopes, telescopes, Olympic torches. Use your imaginations and enjoy the creative time together!

4. Dress Up – Hats, shirts, dresses, Mom’s and Dad’s shoes, neckties, scarves. Don’t forget the leftover Halloween costumes too.

5. Back to Nature – Construction paper, glue. Include paper bags to collect the nature items with. Pre-make scavenger hunt sheets where the kids can check off what they find and draw pictures or use a digital camera to take photos of the scavenged items.

6. Animal Hospital – Include a variety of stuffed animals, reusable bandages, a doctor’s kit with stethoscope and blood pressure gauge. Use washcloths as blankets. Pretend ice packs or real ice packs as long as they’re leak-proof.

7. Kids Cook – Aprons, chef’s hats, preferably kids’ sized. Cookie cutters, sprinkles, food coloring, measuring cups and spoons, bag of chocolate chips, can of frosting, box mix for cake or brownies or cookies. Box of Jello.

What tote bag activities can you add to this list? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.