I’m going rogue and combining a “Favorites” post with a “7QT” post. If you have no idea what I’m talking about that’s probably a good thing. Ignore my blogging nerdiness and read on. And now it’s Saturday night so I’ve missed out on that link-up too. I just can’t get my blogging together these days!
Here are a few favorite simple and easy summer fun activities we’ve all enjoyed recently.
1. Gigantic Bubbles
Our friend and neighbor is doing “Summer School” activities with her kids and I asked if maybe we could join their summer school fun. We got together last week for “Science Week”. The kids learned how to make bouncy balls and huge gigantic bubbles!
I had the kids measure the length of the bubbles and the longest measured one stretched just past 15 ft!
My friend saved a bunch of great ideas to her Pinterest “Summer School board” if you’re looking for inspiration.
2. Bubble Art
This is a fun and simple art project that combines kids’ favorites: bubbles, straws, and food coloring and/or paint. I had the kids do this in the garage while I worked on painting the door and bench for my Entry Way Bench project.
Before you think I made this up, I got this idea from a great book my genius mother-in-law gave me. 101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller
It’s very easy, get some straws, a shallow dish, bubble juice and food coloring, and paper. The food coloring is the only part I might try to change to just regular washable paints next time since food coloring stains badly!
Pour the bubble juice into the dish and add the colors your kids want. Gather up a few straws together and keep them together with rubber bands. Dip the straws into the colored bubble juice and then blow through the straws over the paper.
Voila – Bubbles and Art!
Warning: Make sure your kids only blow OUT of the straws and not IN! 😉 You might just want to let your younger kids play with finger paint and blow the bubbles. I’m not an expert but I’m guessing colored bubble juice isn’t all that safe for mass consumption.
3. Exploding Pop
This was my husband’s idea that he knew about because, well he’s a boy.
All you need is Mentos and Diet Coke.
Get a cup of water and ask the kids what they think will happen when you put the mentos into the water. (This is the “control” of the experiment in case you want to get all sciency about it.)
3 of our 4 said it would explode, 1 said it would dissolve.
Drop the mentos in the water and see who is right.
Then, ask what they think will happen when you drop the mentos in the Diet Coke.
4 of our 4 said it would explode.
Open up the unshaken bottle, drop the mentos in (or more than one) and see what happens!
We were all a little disappointed when it didn’t shoot up as high as we thought it would but it was still a neat experiment. I bought a small bottle of the Diet Coke because I’m cheap and didn’t want to waste a whole 2 L of pop just to see it explode. Though we don’t ever drink soda so I don’t know why I cared so much.
Next time, I’ll get the larger bottle and see if it makes the explosion more intense.
It could be fun to try this experiment and see which type of soda causes the greatest reaction with the mentos. That video also has a good explanation of how/why this physical reaction works.
I also took my cue for this one from the same book as the Bubble Art.
This is very simple and the kids had a “blast” with it.
All you need is:
- An empty plastic water bottle.
- Baking Soda
- Red Food Coloring (again, you might be able to use washable red paint to avoid the staining of food coloring. I’ll try this next time.)
Ask the younger kids to prepare a place in the dirt or a sandbox for the volcano.
Older kids stay in and help pour the baking soda into the bottle. We didn’t have too much this day so we only filled the bottle up about 1/4 full. I’d like to try it with more next time.
Add the red dye in, put the cap back on, and shake it all around….and do the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about, hey!
Sorry, I digress. Once the volcano is ready outside, have the kids put the prepared volcanic bottle in the volcano hole and cover it up so only the top is barely visible. Take the cap off, pour in the vinegar, and –
BOOM! EXPLOSION CITY!!!
Ok, it wasn’t that big of an explosion but it was still pretty cool. The nice thing is we could do this activity again using either the same bottle or a different one. I might just have them make a few “volcanic bottles” to have ready so when my kids are “bored” and “have nothing to do”, they can go out and play explode some volcanoes in the back yard.
5. Tape Measures
Here’s what you need: A tape measure for each child. These can be easily found at the Dollar Tree or any home improvement store.
What you do: Give them to your kids and tell them to go measure things around the house.
They’ll take it from there.
My boys have been going around the house measuring tables, couches, hallways, and of course comparing their heights to each other. I also had my boys and some of their friends lay down on the floor and make a human “totem” on the floor and then we measured how long they all were together.
Warning: I did have to remind the kids a few times that measure tape is a tool not a sword, a gun, or any other kind of weapon.
6. Cheetah and Antelopes
We discovered this gem of an outdoor “tag” game while reading about Cheetahs and Antelopes. My six-year-old son was so intrigued that he begged us to play every day for the past week until we finally played and it was a lot of fun. It’s a great way to get in a good workout too!
Here’s how you play:
It’s even more fun if, when you’re the antelopes, you pretend like you’re grazing in the grass when you suddenly look up and see a cheetah coming for you!
7. Late-Night Star and Planet Gazing and Fire-fly Catching
As many of you may know, my awesome husband has become quite the astro man and we love sharing interest and hobby with him when we can.
Since it’s summer and we don’t have to worry as much about the kids getting up early for a full day of school, it’s a little easier to let them stay up late every now and then so we can all enjoy some stargazing together.
This past Monday marked the Summer Soltice (First day of Summer) and June’s Full Moon, which unbeknownst to me at the time, is known as a Strawberrry Moon. This made June 20th, 2016 both the longest day of the year and the brightest on account of the bright full moon. This only happens once in a generation so I’m glad we got to see it! If I’d known, I would have bought strawberries for us to eat under the full moon. But then our neighbors might have thought we were wickens masquerading as Catholics by day. 😉
So we had the kids go to bed early before 8 (and I did too actually!) and then we all woke up around 10:30/11 again and laid a blanket out in our back yard. My husband brought out his telescope and we all took turns looking at the planets – which are visible during a full moon unlike most of the stars.
We spotted Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn in the night sky and then we each got a closer look at them through the scope.
The most impressive one to see in the scope is always Saturn. It’s so amazing to think that those bright dots in the sky we see are actually gigantic planets out there thousands and thousands of miles away from our world.
I thought the kids might be too tired to enjoy this, the 3 year-old basically slept on the blanket the whole time and my daughter curled up next to him but the other two boys, who always have high energy, were super charged and ran around chasing fireflies while not looking through the scope. Our poor neighbors.
Whew, well that’s all for now. What fun have your families been having this summer?