10 Things… to do with yoUr kids or grandkids this summer!

Published 10:14am Thursday, August 9, 2012

1. Make a Mud Pie Kitchen. Set aside an area outside with old pots and pans (take a trip to the Salvation Army or Goodwill store) where the kids can mix up mud and create all kinds of fun messes. Keep a hose nearby for quick cleanup before they come back in the house!

2. Build a giant sandbox. Be sure to fill it with lots of scoops, buckets – almost anything. The kids can pretend they are at the beach or build things in the sand for hours. Again, be sure to keep a hose nearby for quick cleanup so your house doesn’t become the sandbox!

3. Make Dried Apple Characters. Simply peel apples and have the kids carve faces and other details in them. Soak the carved apples in a solution of lemon juice, water and salt for 24 hours. Take them out of the solution and bake them for 6 hours in an oven at 175 degrees. Once the apples cool – decorate them by pushing in beads and other craft items. Let them dry for up to a week.

4. Make body paint out of sidewalk chalk. Scribble chalk in a small area on the sidewalk. Add a little bit of water and continue to add chalk until it becomes the consistency of paint. The kids can then put the “paint” on their faces, legs, arms, whatever! It wipes right off with a few baby wipes – or there’s always that handy hose in the yard.

5. Make sidewalk chalk paint by combining 1/2 cup of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of water and adding food coloring. You can mix this in re-used margarine tubs with lids so you can store any extra for weeks. If it gets a little dry, simply add more water. Kids can draw on the sidewalk and driveway for hours! This sidewalk paint washes off very easily and will not harm plumbing or plants … cornstarch is all natural and biodegradable – and inexpensive!

6. Make your own sprinkler out of a noodle. Take a pool noodle (the ones that have the hole in the center) and cut holes in various locations on the sides. Then push a hose up inside the center and let the fun begin! A great way to cool off on those hot summer days. You can hang the noodle from a tree branch or fence post to elevate the fun.

7. Create melted crayon art. Using a glue gun, attach old crayons (unwrapped works best) on the top of a sheet of poster paper or canvas. You can use new crayons, as well. Sharp ends pointed down. Stand the poster paper up against a chair or wall or tree (this will be messy – so best done outside or in an area you can use tarps to keep clean). Using a hair dryer – start melting the crayons and directing the wax in whatever pattern you wish. Younger kids will need help with this project! Once the wax is dry – hang up your art.

8. Make your own river. Take an entire roll of aluminum foil (this is where your local dollar store comes in handy) and lay it out flat on a slightly sloped surface in your yard or driveway. Fold up the long edges the length of the roll on both sides to act as a gutter. Put a hose at the top and start a flow of water. The kids can “float” pieces of sponges, small sticks, leaves, etc down the river. Have them experiment building dams with rocks to re-direct the water. When you’re – done just wad up the tin foil and recycle!

9. Decorate the grass in your yard. Cut the entire side from a large (at least 3-4 feet wide/high) cardboard box. From each side cut a shape in the center – stars, a square, circle or diamond. Fill a flour sifter full of flour. Have the kids lay the cardboard on the grass and “sift” the flour until the shape in the center is formed on the grass. Then move to another area and make another shape on the grass. They can play “jump” from shape to shape or use the shapes for bean bag practice. It’s just flour – it will wash away in the rain or the next time the lawn gets mowed!

10. Blow up a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave. That’s right – you can make your own “soap soufflé” in the microwave! WARNING – this only works with a bar of IVORY soap. Place the entire bar of IVORY soap on a paper towel or paper plate in the center of the microwave. Cook it on high for two minutes – have the kids watch the whole time as the soap begins to expand and erupt into beautiful puffy clouds. Be sure to let the soap cool a few minutes before touching it – it is rigid again. Send the soap home with the kids – they can still use it – it’s just in a different shape. If you want to continue to experiment with soap…you can cut pieces of other brands of bar soap into 2 inch chunks and see which ones “float” and which ones don’t. Then Google to find out why!


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