Fun End-of-Summer Ideas– tested by the Blalock boys

I have a confession to make. I hate pinterest. Hate it! I’m drawn to it like a fly to a sunny window, but it just leaves me feeling frustrated and incompetent. I’m simple and I’m cheap. You can see where pinterest and I might have a love-hate relationship. So, here are some (pinterest-unworthy) ideas for summer fun that we’ve tested out this month. All are easy to pull off, and like any good teacher I’ve borrowed and tweaked my “lesson plans.” Some worked; some didn’t, but the memories are fantastic!

“Rainy day” sprinkler play

We play outside– A LOT– so playing in the sprinkler was starting to loose its edge. Spiced it up a bit and let boys wear their rain gear. We’re good for another afternoon!

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Ice cube blocks

PROS– ice sticks together and your kids can pretty much build anything they can imagine. The best part= no clean up! Let it melt when you’re done.

CON– only lasted about 12 seconds before my oldest dumped the entire bucket of ice into the baby pool and then got mad because I wouldn’t get him some more. I appreciated the vote of confidence, but no, I can’t just whip up some more ice on the spot. Does anyone else look at your kids and wonder “What were you thinking?” at least a hundred times a day?

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Shaving cream “bath”

I’m all about backyard fun that doesn’t really require me to spend hours or money on building cool things (kickball croquet game made with pool noodles anyone? Or maybe you’re the super-crafty type who actually made a water blob. WHO ARE YOU?!?!? If you really have that much time on your hands, by all means, please invite yourself over to my house. I can keep you busy!)

We used a shower curtain we already have and spent a couple of dollars at the dollar store on 3 cans of shaving cream. Voila! Oh, I didn’t figure out until my oldest cried, “Mom, the curtain is sticking to me!” that you should probably add a little water to the mix. (Have I mentioned how UNcrafty I am?) After I sprayed everything down for a sec, he was good to go.

#1 LOVED it!

#1 LOVED it!

#2 HATED it!

#2 HATED it!

Camping for city girls

Yeah, I don’t camp. But the boys got a kick out of “camping out” in tents in their room. We had one tent; we borrowed another one because Lightning McQueen really is a play tent for toddlers and two boys couldn’t lay in their together without WW III erupting. Remember that I don’t spend money if I don’t have to– ask around for occasional items like a tent. Friends and family never say no.

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Remember the library isn’t just for reading!

Libraries have the best shows for littles and bigs. One we went to this week featured a juggler. We’ve seen him three summers in a row, and he never gets old! Free is gooooooood!

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Impromptu counting practice at snack time

I made this up on the spot, but it worked like a charm for my middle son who has trouble remembering the 11-20 set. We had popcorn for snack today, so I put a piece of popcorn on each number and randomly chose numbers for him to find and say aloud to me. Then he could eat the popcorn on the number. We reloaded it a couple of times and did the numbers in random order, ascending, and descending order.  He’s finally starting to remember 13 and 16! Now, if only he wouldn’t crave a snack every time we count.

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A couple of more ideas I’m too lazy to take a picture of…

  • Letter sound practice with sidewalk chalk: I wrote our “target” letters in random places on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, and then did the same with sight words beginning with those same letter sounds. #2 really enjoyed jumping on the letter that matched a sound I made for him and then finding the word that starts with the same sound. Picture me saying, “Braden, what letter makes the ssssssss sound?… Okay, which word starts with sssssss?”
  • Looking for ways to show love:

1) I wrote a note of appreciation for a lady very important to me, thanking her for all she does for our family and telling her how thankful I am for her. The boys followed my example and chose someone to write a short note to also.  #2 doesn’t really write yet, so I let him dictate to me and I left a few sight words blank so he could write those in himself. Presh! I didn’t realize how unschooled they are in mailing an actual letter though. #2 (4 yrs old) didn’t even know what a stamp was! Whoops!

2) Other easy ways for young ones to show love: bake cookes and take them to the fire dept near you, make a couple of sandwiches and take them with you to the library. There are always homeless people around libraries, and they’d appreciate the snack.

  • Fine motor skill fun:

1) Give kids dry erase markers to draw with. We have a glass door that works perfectly because the space is so big. But you can let them use the mirror or picture frames with just a white sheet of paper in it.

2) Build with toothpicks and mini-marshmallows.

3) Salt drawings- this was a FAIL for us, but it might work for you. Pour salt into a shallow pan and let your kids draw or practice their spelling words by tracing with their finger or an unsharpened pencil. My kids got wild and salt ended up completely outside the pan. They just wanted to feel it on their hands instead of using it to draw. In theory, I think it’s a good idea though.

What fun ideas has your family tried this summer? (that worked or didn’t work.) Our funniest memories are from all of my failures!

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