Wednesday, May 30, 2012

101 Screen Free Activities To Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

  1. Watch a parade
  2. Pick strawberries or your favorite local fruit.  Freeze the fruit or make jam out of it.
  3. Paint with water outside - give kids a paint brush and cup of water to paint with outside.  No clean up and No stains.  They can paint the house, sidewalk, fence, deck with water.
  4. Go to an Air Show
  5. Watch Fireworks
  6. Play in the sandbox
  7. Spend an afternoon with sidewalk chalk.  Hint: Soak the chalk in water to create vivid colors.
  8. Color in different shapes with chalk on the driveway.  Use different colors and ask your Toddler to find the shape or color that you ask for.
  9. Make a lemonade stand and have the kids sell lemonade.
  10. Decorate their bike, wagon or other ride on for a children's parade.
  11. Craft activities - you can buy kits at a craft store or check to see if you local library has a craft days.  Michael's and other craft stores have craft days for kids to attend.
  12. Visit the Library and sign up for the summer reading program.
  13. Go to storytime at the Library
  14. Visit the zoo
  15. Or visit zoos in other nearby cities
  16. Go swimming
  17. Go to a splash park or water park
  18. Or make your own sprinkler/water park in your back yard.
  19. Go to the beach
  20. Go for a hike
  21. Go to a nature center
  22. Visit the Fire Station - Call ahead to make an appointment
  23. Go to the park
  24. Or spend a day touring the parks in your community
  25. Or visit a new park.
  26. Play date - invite a friend over to play
  27. Volunteer at a pet shelter or food pantry
  28. Sign them up for a sports camp or day time summer camp
  29. Coordinate a summer camp week with other parents.  Each day a different parent plans the activity/craft and snack at their house.  A week of fun for your child, but you only have to plan one day.
  30. Camp in your backyard
  31. Catch lightening bugs
  32. Fly a kite
  33. Run through the sprinkler
  34. Visit a museum or children's museum
  35. Blow Bubbles
  36. Go on a bike ride
  37. Make homemade ice cream in a ziplock baggie.
  38. Attend Vacation Bible School.  They usually need volunteer parents for these great VBS programs.
  39. Go on a day trip to some place that you have never been.
  40. Go on a Picnic
  41. Plant a garden
  42. Raise Butterflies.  You can order them at:
  43. Practice math skills, so they don't forget over the summer
  44. Go to an indoor bounce center.  Some of these businesses offer summer specials.
  45. Go fishing
  46. Look for worms
  47. Visit a fish hatchery
  48. Go to a farmer's market
  49. Make S'mores
  50. Make an indoor fort.  Great rainy day activity
  51. Build a house out of boxes
  52. Play parachute activity with a sheet.
  53. Go to a carnival
  54. Go on a scavenger hunt  Pinned Image like this one from
  55. Make a pirate map for your little pirates to follow.  Let them find a treasure at the end.  A message for a special treat (like ice cream), costume jewelry or toys from the $ store.
  56. Bury "hidden" treasure in the sandbox and let them dig it up.  After they find it, I let them bury it and then come back to find it.
  57. Make Crystal Egg Geodes like these from Martha Stewart:
  58. Make Lava lamps like these from S.L. Smith Photography
  59. Make Elephant Toothpaste like this from Preschool Powol packets:
  60. Play Hopscotch
  61. Cloud watch. Lay a blanket down on the ground.  Lay down on the blanket and watch the clouds go by.
  62. Visit a planetarium and/or watch the stars.
  63. Build with items from the recycled bin.  One of my nephews loves to build towers and structures from the items found in the recycle bin.  For example: toilet paper rolls, plastic containers, water bottles.
  64. Make this "Days of the week" calendar.
  65. Go bowling
  66. Sign up for a kids project class at Home Depot or Lowe's
  67. Pajama Day - (Great for a rainy or sick days). make pancakes, read books, play games and puzzles.
  68. Go Putt-Putting
  69. Go to a county fair.  Go see the 4H displays and animals.
  70. Do a science experiment, like Growing Crystals
  71. Make mud pies and then hose the kids off outside.
  72. Go on a rock hunt.  Go for a walk in the yard, park, etc to look for rocks.  See what the look like when they are dry and wet.
  73. Go on a train, trolley or bus ride. 
  74. Attend a festival for a different culture.  We have an Italian and Greek festival here.  We enjoy the dclothing, signing, dancing and food of the festival.
  75. Walk through an art or craft festival. 
  76. Make cookies for a neighbor or sick friend.
  77. Help a disabled neighbor clean up their yard.
  78. Make a Birthday card for a friend or family member
  79. Create an obstacle course.  You can do this outdoors or indoors if it is rainy.  Have them make up their own for the whole family to go through.  Step 1: 10 jumping jack, step 2: go down the slide, Step 3: hop over a bucket
  80. Go horseback riding
  81. Rent a Kayak or canoe
  82. Make your own Popsicles.  Pour Kool-aid into paper cups, cover with saran wrap and stick a Popsicle stick through the saran.
  83. Make you own Sundae night.  Buy all of the items to have kids make their own Ice Cream Sundae.
  84. Go on a leaf hunt.  Have your child collect leaves or have older kids find matching leaves that you give them.
  85. Place little items in a bowl full of water.  Freeze the bowl of water and then let your kids work on getting them out.
  86. Make homemade lemonade. 
  87. Go on a bug hunt
  88. Make fruit kabobs 
  89. Visit a arboretum or botanical garden
  90. Visit a historical site, reenactment or village.
  91. Tie dye
  92. Go to a Drive in restaurant.
  93. Bike wash.  Kids love to wash their bikes, trikes and scooters.  Let them wear their swimsuits to have fun in the water too.
  94. Get dressed up and have a tea party. 
  95. Before the party: Have the kids wash the dishes for the tea party in the kitchen sink.
  96. Play board games on rainy or sick days.
  97. Make sock puppets and put on a puppet show.
  98. Put on a concert with toy or homemade instruments
  99. Have a water fight or water balloon toss
  100. Beauty Shop Day - the kids get to brush and style your hair.  Plus, let them put on your make-up and paint your nails.
  101. Roll down a hill
  102. Make fizzy exploding bags
These are great summer activities, even though they are screen time activites, I still had to add them to the end of the list.
  1. Free summer movies. Check you local movie theater, to see if they have a free summer movie program.
  2. Go to a Drive in or to an outdoor movie night.
Have Fun This Summer!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shur-Line Deck Stain Pad

I found a new product that I love. It is the Shur-Line Deck Pad. 
The stain goes on really smooth and easy.  The left side of the board has stain applied with the deck pad and the right side of the board is with a roller. 
 Plus, I was able to do this much of the deck in only 1 hour.
 I finished 2 coats on the decking boards and steps in 4 1/2 hours.  It does a great job of getting in between the edges of the decking boards.
If you need to stain your deck this summer, you should look at purchasing one of these deck pads for your project.  I bought this one at Sherwin-Williams, but you can find it at hardware and paint stores.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Barbie Doll Cake Tutorial - easy to make

Ok, I admit does not look as nice as the ones at the grocery store. Lillie wanted a Barbie cake for her birthday. I really didn't want to spend $30 on a simple looking cake, so I did some research. I found a recipe at: The recipe called for homemade icing, but I choose to use 2 containers of ready-made icing. Basically, you bake 1 cake mix at a time in the batter bowl. Cut a 2 inch section from one of the bottom of the cakes and place it under the other cake. Wrap the doll in plastic wrap. Insert the doll straight down in the cake and ice the cake. Lillie picked out a Barbie with a top painted on the doll and a tutu skirt. This made it really easy to decorate the cake. I didn't need to apply the icing all the way to the waist and bodice of the doll.

2 containers of ready made frosting - vanilla
2 boxes of 18.25 ounce cake mix
Ingredients to make cakes
11 inch Barbie
kabob stick to test cake.
cardboard or cake board
parchment paper

First. I cut a piece of cardboard, big enough to slide into the box that I was transporting the cake in.  Then I covered it in parchment paper.

Next, I greased and floured the pampered chef large batter bowl.  Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make cake recipe according to directions on box and pour into batter bowl.  Bake 1 hour, 10 minutes or until Cake Tester/kabob stick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack for 15 minutes.

Run knife around outside of cake and gently turn out onto cooling rack, large end down. Repeat with remaining cake mix to make a second cake. Cool 3 hours.
Tint some of the frosting with food coloring. To assemble cake, using Serrated Bread Knife, trim off rounded bottoms of cakes to make them level. Slice off 2 inches from bottom (large end) of one cake and frost it.  Place other ake portion on top of 2" portion. The layer of frosting in between help hold the cake together.  (Later I frosted this unused portion to serve as extra cake at the party.)

Wrap doll in plastic wrap and insert into cake.

I used a hair clip to keep dolls hair out of my way, while frosting the cake.

I also taped up with "fairy" skirt on the doll.  I got lucky, I didn't have to frost all of the way up to the doll's waist, because the skirt covered the hips.

I used a simple round point to make the vines and flowers.

Finally, I let down her hair, skirt and attached her wings.  Lillie was so excited with her "Barbie Fairy" cake.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Making Crystal Trees - Preschool Science

I found this science project on pinterest and I had to try it out. I got my recipe at:

It only takes a few ingredients and it is really easy to do. 
2 Tablespoons of salt
2 Tablespoons of water
2 Tablespoons of liquid bluing (Mrs. Stewart's brand is available in the laundry detergent aisle.)
1 Tablespoon of ammonia
Cardboard toilet paper roll
Disposable bowl
Food coloring

First, Lillie dropped little drops of food color on the cardboard roll.
I measured the ingredients in a container that seals well (i.e.clean Starbucks container) and Lillie mixed them up by shaking the container.
 Then she poured the mixture into the disposable bowl with the toilet paper roll in it.
 After a few hours we started to see some crystals.  Some of them were the color of the food coloring.
 That night we had a few more.
And the next day the crystal had really grown.
This was a great project and I can't to try it with Sophie in a few years.

Pinterest favorites this week

Yummy Olive Garden Salad Dressing. I don't like using corn syrup, so I might substitute sugar.
1/2 C. mayonnaise 1/3 C. white vinegar 1 tsp. vegetable oil 2 Tbsp. corn syrup 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese 2 Tbsp. Romano cheese 1/4 tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
copycat recipe olive garden salad dressing

These melted bead suncatchers look so pretty and they seem very inexpensive to make.

Dancing Oobleck, 2 cups of corn starch and 1 cup of water.  See the link for more info.

How to frost a cake with papertowel and make it look like fondant.

Sounds yummy.  A summer corn dip.

A patriot mocktail for the kids.
red white blue kiddie cocktail hed

I like this website.  She comes up with so many fun ideas for young children to experience science, math, and learning to read.  Here is a link to her top 15 science experiments.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Preschool "Days of the Week" Calendar

Lillie and I made this "Days of the Week" calendar when she was only 3 years old.  She knew which days she had preschool and dance, and which days Brian had off of work (Sat & Sun).  To help her keep track of what day it was we made this calendar.
Step 1: I Lillie picked out 7 colors of construction paper.
Step 2: I made squares for her to cut out of the construction paper and she cut them out.  (great cutting practice.)
Step 3: I asked her which day she wanted me to write on each square.
Step 4: She glued the squares end to end.
Step 5: we punch holes in the top and tied a string to the calendar.
Step 6: I made a butterfly on one of the squares that she cut out.
Step 7: We glued the butterfly onto a clothes pin. 
After the glue was dried we hung up the calendar.  Each morning, Lillie would move the butterfly to the new day.

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Classified: Mom

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clothes Line

One of the reasons that I love the spring/summer weather, is because I love to hang laundry out on the clothes line.  The laundry smells great after I take them off the line.  You save energy and money by not running your dryer.  It does take a little more time to hang them on the clothes line, rather than just tossing them in the dryer, but the positive effects are definately worth the extra time and work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

I saw this recipe on pinterest and I just had to try it.  I made them last night and they were delicious.  They are baked and homemade, so they are healthier than the ones at restaurants and in the grocery freezer section.  I even wrapped the cooked leftovers in wax paper and reheated one tonight.  I reheated a frozen egg roll in the toaster oven for 10 minutes and it tasted just as good tonight as it did last night. 
  • 2 cups of frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 (15oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 (10oz) package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry (the recipe calls for a full package, but I choose to use only 1/2 of the package.)
  • 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 (4oz) can of diced green chilies
  • 1/2 of a chopped red onion (recipe suggested 4 green onions.  I didn't have them, so I used red onion.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
Finely chop onion and cooked chicken breast with a food chopper.  In a large bowl (the size that you make cookies in), combine all of the above ingredients, except the egg roll wrappers.  Mix well, the spinach likes to clump together.

Lay the egg roll wrapper on a cutting board or working surface, with one of the corners pointed toward you.  Place 1/4 cup of the mixture in the center of the egg roll wrapper.
And this is how I rolled my egg rolls.  I have never rolled egg rolls before, but this is how I interpreted the instructions.  Fold the corner closet to you over the mixture and tuck it under the mixture.
Dip your finger tip in water and wet the exposed edges of the egg roll wrapper.  This help the wrapper stick.  Fold the left and right corners to the center.  I pushed the wrapper down next to the mixture, like I was wrapping a package.
 This is what it looked like after this step.
 Then I just rolled the egg roll away from me.
Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and place the egg rolls seam side down.  Use a basting brush to lightly brush olive oil on the egg rolls. 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn the egg rolls halfway through the cooking time.  I forgot to turn them and they turned out fine.
We like to eat ours with Ranch dressing. 
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