Mini Marble Run

This a great activity for older kids...and younger children if they are supervised.

You will need: Bendable straws, *metal BBs, hot glue, cereal/cracker box, a bottle cap, pencil, and plain paper

What to do: Design your run on a piece of paper. Next, use hot glue to add straws to the cardboard box according to your design, then put the BBs into the straw to go through the run and observe how well they go down. Make any changes needed. Add a bottle cap to the end of your run to collect the BBs as they come down.

*Use BBs that fit in the straw easily and run smoothly through it.

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Summertime Fun: August, Volume 1

Mini Marble Run - Make a mini marble run with straws and B.B.s

Creative Inspirations #3 - Take time to get creative with the two words offered for the month.

Soda Pop Project - Learn how soda got its start and make some delicious concoctions of your own!

Bottle Roll Bullseye - An open-ended game.

Ideas For Homemade Water & Nerf Gun Targets - 8 Ideas for making your own targets with recycled items.

Think Quick: ABC Version - This game will keep you on your mental toes!

Roll-N-Score - A game made with a box or milk carton.

Pop & Play Dart Game - This dart game has a little twist to make it more fun.

Carton Creations - Turn a milk carton into a whole new creation...suggestions offered.

Hoop Toss - A fun game to play indoors or out!

Heads-Up Coil Flips & Tricks - How nimble are your fingers and how quick are your hands? Find out with these activities!

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words - Use a picture to inspire a story.

Last One Standing - A strategy game the grows with the players and gets more challenging.

Animal Tracker - Learn how to identify signs of animal life in lots of different places!

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Solitaire Challenge #1 Peg Solitaire

Peg Solitaire has been around for hundreds of years and with good reason, it is an addictively fun puzzle-game to play!

Below you will find an online version, and a way to make or print your own board.

Compact Fun has an a multiversion peg solitaire that can be played online.

Aunt Annie's Crafts has instructions to help you make your own, and a printable version can be played with pennies or cereal.

Wikipedia has some information about the history of the game and instructions for how to play it.

Look for the game app in your favorite app store as well.

If you like the game, a solid board can be purchased in many stores under the names:
Hi-Q or Peg Solitaire. Many dollar stores carry a version too, check the toy section.

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Hula Hoop Stop & Go

Here's a fun family game you can play with a hula hoop and music. There are two ways to play:

Version #1: Multiple Hoops - Give every player a hoop. Put on some music and ask everyone to use the hoop in some fun and safe way while the music is playing. As soon as it stops, players must hold their hoops and freeze in motion. The person still hooping or moving after the music stops is out for the rest of that round.

Version #2: One or Two Hoops - If you only have one or two hoops, players can toss them back and forth to each other while the music is playing. The person holding the hoop when the music stops has to do something fun with it: A little dance, twist it around a body part, jump with it, etc.. The game ends when the players are ready.

Feel free to make up your own rules!

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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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Summer Fun July Volume 1

Hot Dogs - July is National Hot Dog Month! Learn about hot dogs, play some games, do a puzzle and what how hot dogs are made.

Spray Art - Do a fun painting activity outdoors!

Animal Antics - You get to act like your favorite animal in this fun game!

Hoop Challenge - What can you do with a hoop?

Scented Bubbles - Whip up a batch of scented bubbles!

Creative Inspirations #2 - Spark your creativity with the two words offered.

Stacking Cup Challenge - How many cups can you stack in a minute?

Ramp 'N' Roll - A great game to play inside or out!

MYO What's Missing Picture - Boost your observation skills!

Card Flipping Challenge - Play alone or with friends...indoors or out.

Cook Your Lunch Outdoors - Use the power of the sun to cook your lunch!

Hula Hoop Stop & Go - Grab your hula hoop and get ready to have some fun.

Peg Solitaire - This is a great strategy game for all ages!

Summertime Fun August, Volume 1 - More summertime activities for the month of August!

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