Cook Your Lunch Outside!

If it feels hot enough to fry an egg outside, why not take advantage of the sun's heat to cook up your lunch!

You will need: A takeout container with a lid or a metal container and aluminum foil, a cookie sheet, potholders, an area that gets at least 2 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and afternoon, and something to heat up.

Here are some of the things we like to cook outside in about 30 minutes or so:

Chili beans and hot dogs (thawed).
Baked beans.
Canned or frozen corn with butter, salt and pepper.
Ramen noodles.
A melted cheese sandwich. (A solar melt!)
Refried beans with cheese and flour tortillas.
Buttered instant rice with black beans.

And for dessert, S'mores!

Put your food in food grade container and place it on a cookie sheet in the sun. To keep unwanted pest out of your food, put it up high rather than on the ground. Check the food in 15 minutes with a potholder and mix, or turn your food if it's not ready. Then check it again in another 10-20 minutes and enjoy.
Beans tend to take a bit longer, about an hour.

Have a picnic lunch outside when your food is ready.

To find out more about cooking with the sun, check out my Solar Cooking post!

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Card Flipping Challenge

Today's challenge will include a deck of cards, and can be played alone, or with multiple players.

What to do: Stand up, hold a card in your hand at waist height, and flip it onto the floor. Do your best to match the flip with other card.

Tips and Suggestions 

Make Your Own What's Missing Picture

Play this game inside or out. Here's what you'll need to make the picture or play the game...

A camera and 10-20 different items

Optional: Paper, something to draw with, and stickers.

Camera Version: Put your items on a table or in the grass and take a picture. Remove one or two items and take another picture. Give the pictures to someone and ask them to tell you what's missing. Take a variety of pictures to make multiple puzzles for people to solve. Remove 5+ items to make it more challenging. Items can be moved around as well.

Picture/Sticker Version: Draw a picture then draw the same picture and add to it or take things away. Incorporate stickers into your picture.

Multiplayer Version: If you have multiple players, gather up a bunch of items, then have one player lay them out any way they like. Give the other players 30-60 seconds to see what's there and how they are displayed, then ask the players to turn around.
The person who set up the table can take an item and hide it or move it. Ask the other players to turn around and take turns saying what's missing or different.

Start with one item and move on to more. The player who guesses correctly
should be able to take a turn removing/moving items.

Tip: Consider taking a picture of the items before anything is moved.

Related Posts:

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Ramp 'N' Roll

This is a fun game inside or out. Here's what you'll need....

Outside Version: A flat plank of wood, a rock or two or a log, a playground ball and a target, such a box or a bucket.

Inside Version: A strong piece of cardboard, books, a ball that can be used indoors (an inflatable ball will work), and a target, such as a laundry basket.

No matter your supplies, make a ramp with the plank of wood or cardboard and use it to get the ball into the target.

Tips and Suggestions

Create a point system for players.

When the game gets too easy, make some changes to keep it interesting:

Change the length of the ramp.

Change the size of the target.

Related Posts:

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Stacking Cup Challenge

Today's challenge includes:
Stacking cups, paper, pencil and a timer

Challenge: Stack as many cups as you can in a pyramid, circle, and/or square. Next, time yourself to see how long it takes to do it. Beat your own time for each pattern chosen. Keep track of your results.
Once you feel you have achieved your best time, stack your cups, then put them back in one single stack as quickly as you can. Beat your own time.
If you can, play a challenge round with someone else.

Here are the rules...

Use any size unbreakable cups you have on hand: Recycled yogurt cups, small bathroom cups, large plastic cups, etc.. You will need 30+ cups per player.

Do the best you can, then try to do better. Keep track of your results on paper.

If you play along with another player, be encouraging, and practice good sportsmanship.

Add more cups if the challenge is too easy.

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Creative Inspirations #2

Each month I like to offer my kids a bunch of activities that'll spark their imagination and creativity. I think the stories and activities a person can come up with when offered an open-ended idea is amazing. 

For this activity, you will need: Drawing & craft supplies, an audio/video device, paper, and pencil

The two words for this month are:

 Spark & Heatwave 

What can be done with the words?

Scented Bubbles

Bubbles are great to play with any time of the year, add a scent to them to make them even more fun!

You can make scented bubbles in a variety of ways:

Bubble Base: Make your own bubbles or use commercial.

To make your own, experiment with good dish soap, water, and glycerine or sugar to make bubbles that work well. I have an experimental version here. If you want a recipe, check the resources section at the bottom of that post.

Tip: Water makes a difference. If you have hard water, use purified or distilled water instead.

Scents: Use unsweetened flavored drink mix, food extract, or essential oils.

#1. Use unsweetened flavored drink mixes by adding 1/8 tsp at time until you like the scent. 

#2. Add your favorite extract 1 teaspoon at a time as you mix.

#3. Stir in 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to your bubble solution.

Wands: Use old wands, make your own shapes out of chenille stems, use different sized straws, make paper cones, use your hands, etc.. Make giant bubbles with a length of string and 2 sticks.

Here's a video showing how to make a giant bubble wand.

I hope you enjoy making and playing with scented bubbles!

Related Posts:

Summertime Fun July, Volume 1

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Hoop Challenge

Today, I'm offering you a challenge that includes any size hoop or ring! 

The object of this challenge is for you to do something creative with one or more hoops or rings. 

Here are the rules for the challenge...

The hoop/ring can be any size.

The hoop/ring can be made from any material: Rope, plastic, tubing, wood, etc.

Play inside or out.

Play so no one gets hurt.

Nothing should get broken that shouldn't.

Need a little inspiration?

Animal Antics - Game

To play Animal Antics, you will need: A deck of letter cards or letter tiles (A-Z),
and a container.

A color or black and white set can be printed from here.

You may also write letters on index cards.

Directions: Put all the letters in a container, have players close their eyes before choosing a letter, then act out an animal that begins with that letter.

Tips & Suggestions

Spray Art

Here's a fun and messy project that's best done outdoors.

You will need: Water guns or a few small inexpensive spray bottles, *food dye or diluted tempera paint, vinegar, water, cardstock paper or a shirt, clips, strong string, and a sunny day

What to do: Run a string between two trees or objects, clip paper or a shirt to the line, fill bottles or guns with paint or dye and a tablespoon or two of vinegar, and spray the paper or shirts any way you like. Dry them in the sun to allow the color to set.

Cardstock paper can be made into a puzzle, frame or be used to make Eric Carle inspired art.

The shirt can be worn as soon as it dries. The vinegar and sun will help set the colors. Hand wash in salty water and a little detergent.

*Colored drink mixes can be used as well.

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