1. Make art for lunch. Spread a tortilla with cream cheese or almond butter and then give kids an assortment of colorful fruits, veggies and other healthy foods to make their own mosaic picture. You can cut things like green and red peppers into strips, halve cherry tomatoes and grapes, slice olives and cheese, etc. Take a picture before they eat their creations!
2. Visit a farmers’ market. Pick out some fresh, local foods and take the time to chat with the vendors. You’ll find good deals, get good food and help the community. You can often find fabulous other finds too, from homemade soaps to fresh cookies to jewelry.
3. Take up a new sport. We picked up some badminton rackets and birdies at a garage sale last week and our whole family has been having a blast playing badminton every day since then. We rigged up a net using a hammock and bamboo stakes in the back yard. Whether it’s tennis or t-ball, find a new way to play outside.
4. Find a children’s book that’s set in your area and read it together. If you don’t know of any, ask your local librarian or do a google search. We’re in the area of On the Banks of Plum Creek here and we have friends who recently discovered that their cabin is near the fictional site of My Side of the Mountain. Do a little sleuthing and find some story to visit where you can feel that added kinship to the characters.
5. Draw on the walls! Find an out of the way spot and trace a square for each child to use as a canvas. Hand out markers and let them decorate their own little areas. Between washable markers and the wonders of Magic Erasers, it’s pretty easy to remove if you want to later. If you rent (or aren’t really crazy about semi-permanent art), put up shelf paper first.
By the way, I always consider this one of the best perks about having an old house. Our house is so old and beat up that we can happily stencil words up the stairs, doodle around the light fixtures in gold paint, spray chalkboard paint on the doors and otherwise put our personal artistic stamps on it. If we had a fancy new house, I’d probably feel obligated to keep it fancy. Our hallway needed paint anyway so today I gave the older kids all markers and let them decorate the walls in neat little boxes I traced for each. It looks fabulous and makes me smile. 🙂
6. Explore a local historic site. Jesse James and the Younger Brothers were in a big shoot-out just up the highway from us and the kids love visiting the site and imagining the battle. At another site we find Native American artifacts and imagine how different life was here just a couple of hundred years ago.
7. Extend the fireworks season by sprinkling pop rocks on cupcakes. Okay, it’s quite junky but the kids will delight at geting a popping surprise with every bite!
8. Make nature necklaces. Give each child a shape cut out of clear contact paper and have them go through the yard collecting bits of nature to press into it. Clovers, flower petals, blades of grass and small leaves all work well. When they’re happy with their creation, have them press a piece of colored construction paper or another piece of contact paper against it and trim. Punch a holeand tie a ribbon through it to make a lovely reminder of summer.
9. Doll the kids up and do a photo shoot. Make it as glamorous, funny or theatrical as they like, complete with props. Help them pose and take a billion pictures. Or if they prefer, let them doll you up and play fashion photographer for YOU.
10. Make your own puzzle. Have the kids assemble an old puzzle and when it’s all together, take it outside and spray paint it white. When it’s dry, give them paints or markers and have them create a new picture for it. Remind them to try to cover as many of the pieces with the picture as possible to make it easier to assemble.
Have a magical week!