EVERYTHING FAMILY &
"Mother of Family Ideas"
Make a Paper Bag Scrapbook
to hold vacation goodies
Take two or three paper bags and fold them in half. Fasten them together
in the center with a stapler (for small bags) or a piece of yarn, ribbon
or string. Children can draw or paint pictures, write about things that
they have seen or paste pictures from brochures or photographs of
themselves on the pages. The open-ended bag pages can be used to hold
postcards, fliers and brochures, photographs, travel schedules, ticket
stubs, patches, or other memorabilia from summer vacations. Use brown
shopping bags, lunch bags, colored bags or even gift bags with handles.
Car Travel Ideas
If you haven't yet succumbed to the car video player, here are some ways
to keep children entertained while traveling in the car, Make lists of
things you see. Write down the types of animals, license plates from
different places, types of buildings or vehicles on the road. See how
many different things you can find in whatever category you choose.
Different players can watch out different sides of the car and compare
what they have seen. You can also count things. See how many red cars,
white trucks, buildings with more than 3 stories, hawks or dogs you can
Play the Rhyme Game. Start with one simple word like "dog", and see how
many rhyming words can be called out before you are "rhymed out". Choose
a new word and repeat the process.
Play alphabet games. There are a number of variations. 1) Find something
(outside of your vehicle) beginning with each letter of the alphabet (in
order from A to Z).
2) Find alphabet letters, in order, on printed signs, license plates,
3) Play the alphabet word game. My name is A___, my husband's (or
wife's) name is A____, we live in A___, and we like to eat A____. Fill
in the blanks with words beginning with each letter of the alphabet in
order. Players take turns with each taking the next letter. So it might
be something like: My name is Alicia, my husband's name is Arthur, we
live in Alabama and like to eat Artichokes.
Play with Maps
Learn to read a map and see the route you will be taking
on a trip. Navigate while on the trip. Follow the map and note names of towns,
rivers and other things you see. Look at route numbers and follow the
route to and from your destination. Learn to understand the symbols used
on maps. Learn to calculate the distance from one point on a map to
Draw your own map, perhaps a map of
your neighborhood. List show your home, the homes of friends and your
school, church, or favorite places. Make a map of a make-believe place.
Make a map that goes along with a story you have read. Get on-line and look at your neighborhood and a map finder site.
Photos of Summer Fun
of summer fun. Get a disposable camera that children can use and spend
some time taking photos of one another, places or things. Get them
developed or put onto a disk and then use them for something fun. Put
them on special "hello" cards for grandparents, other family members or
friends. Make a simple family newsletter and tell everyone what you did
over the summer. Put them in a scrapbook. Add captions. Make a summer
fun collage to hang on the wall or a bulletin board.
Cool Things to do on a Hot Day
Make some salt dough (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 tsp.
oil and about 1/2-3/4 cup of water to make the dough workable.) Use a
rolling pin, garlic press. cookie cutters, butter knife, fork and
fingers to make creations of all sorts. Roll them up and use the dough
again or air dry them for sculptures to save. (They can also be baked in
a slow oven--but who wants to turn the oven on in August?!)
Make a "Magic Box" with fasteners, latches and all sorts of gadgets to
keep busy in any season.
kids like bugs! To collect bugs, check plants and other areas
for harmless ones and put them into an unbreakable jar with a
lid that has been prepared with air holes. The jar can also
have some leaves, flowers, a sprinkling of water and maybe
some tiny scraps of bread. Watch the bugs activities for a
while. After observing and discussing the bugs, release them
back into their familiar territory. It's not only fun but
teaches respect for life...even if it's bugs.
Have a Watermelon Seed
Spitting Contest. (Kids will often do this on their own.) Save some
seeds and plant them in time for watermelons for next year. Use a
melon ball scoop to make melon balls and eat them. They are much
more fun than ordinary pieces of watermelon. Carve you melon. Cut a
melon in half and scoop out the red melon. Carve a design that goes
through the green rind and exposes the white. Use it as a decorated
melon bowl to hold fruit salad or berry sorbet.
Collect patches or pins from places that you visit. Sew, iron-on, glue
or pin them to a jacket, fishing vest, duffle bag or tote bag. Pins can
also be attached to hats.
Collect rocks and identify them Label rocks with the location where they
were found, and the date. Write the identity of the rock or mineral.
If you are visiting beaches, collect a small bottle of sand from each
one and label the bottle with the location and date. Different beaches
have different colors of sand. Tuck a few small shells from the beach in
the sand before putting the lid on the bottle.
Play a Game of Toss
endless ways to play tossing games. Roll up socks and toss them into a
laundry basket, box or big plastic bowl. (Get kids to help fold laundry
and the reward is time to toss socks!) Toss a shuttlecock through a
hoop. You can make one by tying some cotton balls in the center of a
piece of scrap fabric. Use an empty cardboard box for a tossing game.
Cut one or more holes in the box and draw, paint or paste a paper
drawing on the box to make a target, clown's face or something similar.
Toss beanbags, socks, balls or other things into the box. You can do the
same thing by cutting holes out of a piece of cardboard and standing it
up at an angle. Toss buttons, jelly beans or small stones into a muffin
cup. Mark the cups with points written on slips of paper so that you can
keep score. If you have an old sheet that's ready for the rag bag, cut
some holes in it and hang it from a clothesline or other rope outdoors.
Let the kids try to toss balls or water balloons through the holes.
places here in Arizona where you can pan for real gold, and often find
garnet and other interesting things in the process. You rarely find more
than a few flecks, but it's even fun for grown-ups. For young children,
you can spray some rocks with gold paint and mix them with sand after
the paint is dry. Put water in a container with the sand and rocks and
give the kids pie pans. Put some sand mixture and water in a pan and
swish it from side to side so that the lighter sand goes back into the
container with the water and the heavier "gold" stays in the pie pan.
Collect the "gold" and put it in a bag. You can also use iron pyrite
(fool's gold). We've kept kids busy with the activity for extended
periods of time! Follow-up by looking for rocks the next time you are
out and about. Always watch children around water.
For a good
time for younger children, spray paint some small rocks or pebbles with
gold paint and mix them in with sand and water. Let the child take a pie
pan and dip it into the sand and search for the "gold" nuggets.
Play in a Tent
Summer is a good time to escape
to the woods, fields, backyard or wherever you can find a spot to set up
a tent. Hike, eat outdoors, fish, look for rocks, bugs, wildflowers and
critters. Look at birds with binoculars and listen to their songs. Get a
star chart and identify constellations at night. (Look for Perseid
meteor showers about the middle of the month.) Toss stones into the
water or try to skip them across the top of lake or stream. Play games
or read stories in the tent. Tell stories and sing songs around a
campfire. Relax before the busy season begins.
No time for a picnic?
With schedules as busy as they are, the old fashioned
family picnic is in danger of disappearing. Who has time to
fry chicken like my mother used to do? Once in a while,
on a day that is a wee bit less chaotic, it's nice to
pick up some fast food and eat in the the back yard or take it
to a park. If can can swing by the grocery store before the
drive through window, you could even pick up a watermelon and
maybe a bag of marshmallows! That's practically an instant
picnic! It's also a change of pace that's good for you
and the rest of the family. Now just sit for a minute. Breathe
in. Breathe out. Ahhhhhh. Now wasn't that great?
Put the FUN in Parenting!
Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy
Ideas for Tots through Teens
By Kas Winters
the season when children slam the doors they left open all winter.
on the Road
When you travel, think about
your comfort. Take a travel pillow, a sweater if the air
conditioning may be chilly in the vehicle, an umbrella or
poncho if rain is a possibility. If you will be riding for a
while, include a book, crossword puzzle, some stitchery or
handwork, or something to pass the time (unless, of course,
the scenery or conversation with other travelers is likely to
be more entertaining!)
To make a s'more, begin by toasting a marshmallow over a campfire. (Okay, in
desperation, we've been known to use the kitchen stove.) If you hold it
over hot coals and away from flames, it can become very soft and puffy
and not burnt. This is the best way for a s'more. Take a graham cracker
and break it in half to make two square pieces of cracker. Place a
square of a chocolate bar on top of a graham cracker. When your
marshmallow is toasted and soft, place it on top of the chocolate and
squish the second piece of graham cracker on top to make a "sandwich".
It tastes so good, you will want "s'more"--which is precisely how they
were named. For variations, get some chocolate, butterscotch, mint or
peanut butter chips and sprinkle them on the graham cracker or on top of
the regular piece of chocolate.
If fire restrictions allow, have a campfire at a campsite, on the beach
or in a bar-b-q grill in the backyard. Make your own marshmallow stick
using a wire hanger. Straighten it out and then bend one end for a
handle. Cover the handle portion with duct tape to insulate it and keep
it from getting too hot. In addition to having plain marshmallows, you
can, of course, add graham crackers and chocolate to make s'mores.
(Another great way to enjoy marshmallows is to take a half of canned
peach with a marshmallow in the center and sprinkle a little cinnamon on
it. Wrap it all in two layers of aluminum foil and cook it on coals for
about 10 minutes.) Always watch children around fire. Marshmallows
are especially sticky when melted and can cause serious burns.
Blow bubbles and let children chase them or let them
blow bubbles too. Use the bubble blowers you purchase at the store or
make you own with wires. You can make interesting shapes of wire bubble
blowers, but the bubble will still come out round! Wrap a rubber band
around a few straws (maybe 6 or so). Dip one end of the straws in some
bubble solution and blow through the other end for a bunch of bubbles at
once. Pour some dish soap on a kitchen counter and add water. Place a
straw in the soapy mixture on the counter and start to blow air through it. You can
make some great bubbles this way. (Dawn®
Detergent is especially good for making bubbles.)
Stay Cool in Water
Find a place to play in the water such as a pool, a lake,
stream or even a bucket. Always watch children around water. Spray or
sprinkle one another with a hose. Sit under misters. Practice swimming.
Learn to snorkeling or even try scuba diving. Stay cool and have fun
together as summer reaches its hot peak.
Get Ready for School
Decorate some folders to hold all of those school papers
that come home daily once school begins. Make one for "Parent Papers"
and others for children's papers as needed. Use colored file folders.
Paste interesting pictures on them, draw pictures with markers or
colored pencils or use decorator paints with nozzle applicators. Put
them in a handy place where calendar and contact information are easily
available for parents and children's papers "to save" don't stack up on
the bedroom desk or floor.
Is a seashore trip in your summer plans? Either way you can travel with
friends of a seahorse.
Make new friends
Cinnamon the Sea Horse
by Louise Garcia
Illustrated by Kas Winters
Making new friends