- Monster Bubbles: 6 cups water, 2 cups Joy liquid dish washing soap, 3/4 cup light corn syrup. Mix in a large bucket and let sit for 4-6 hours. Use string threaded through 2 straws, hangers shaped, hands, plastic lids with holes cut out from the center, etc. The bubbles LOVE humidity but it is not necessary. Have a blast out side!
- Shaving Cream Paint: Mix tempera paint or food coloring with squirts of shaving cream. Allow your child to paint on cookie sheets or plastic trays OR if it is a stormy summer day put them in the bathtub with no water and their swimming suits and let them paint there.
- Finger Paint: 2 T. sugar, 1/3 corn starch. Place in saucepan and slowly add 2 cups cold water. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes until clear and smooth gel appears. Cool. Stir in 1/4 c. liquid dishwashing soap. Scoop in containers and add food coloring or tempera paints. Will stay in sealed containers for several weeks. Let them paint on foil, wax paper, regular paper, or cookie sheets. It is finger paint so let them use their fingers!!
- GAK: 2 c. white glue, 2 c. warm water. Mix together in a container that is not used for food and can be cleaned or disposed of. Mix together 1 c. water and 1/2 c. Borax. Slowly add the 2 solutions together and mix them well until it coagulates together. This does not come out of clothing. You can draw on it with markers or bury toys in it. Very fun but messy. Store in zip lock bag.
- Kool-aid play dough: 2 Kool-aid packeges matching flavors (without sugar), 2 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. salt, 3 T. oil, 2 c. water. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Bring the liquids to a boil in a saucepan and then add the hot liquid to the dry ingredients. Knead together. This smells so good and is a great time to play with when it is warm. Keep in tight container and store in refrigerator for several weeks.
- Toe Paint: 3 parts flour to 1 part salt. Add water until gravy consistency. Stir in food coloring and paint with toes on paper–outside preferably but not necessarily.
- Penny Cleaner: Mix salt and vinegar. T his makes hydrochloric acid. Drop pennies in the mixture then use swab to wipe them clean. Dry immediately.
- Colored Pasta or Rice to play with like sand: 1 c. uncooked rice, 1/2 t. food coloring, 1 t. rubbing alchohol (optional). Place in plastic bag and mix together. Place the pasta or rice on a tray to dry. Pour in a plastic bin and add cups, spoons and toys.
- Snow paint: 1 c. White King Natural Laundry Soap, 1/2 c. water, 1/3 c. liquid starch. Whisk or blend. It whips up like frothy snow. Store in covered container.
- OOOBleck: 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/4 c. water. This is the oddest stuff. You can make a solid ball and then it will melt in your hand. Read the book by Dr. Seuss, Bartholemew and the Oobleck.
- Sand pictures: Mix white corn meal with powdered tempera paint. Get glass jars and layer them with colors. You can color sugars and do the same thing as gifts. Place glue on paper and use the sand like glitter to make colored pictures.
- Squeeze Paint: 2 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. salt, food coloring. Place in squeeze bottles. (You can buy these at Michaels, or go to the dollar store and buy ketchep and mustard squeeze bottles)
- Gelatin fun: Make your own wonder worlds with clear gelatin. Make it in a bowl and let it set. Tip over the mold and now you have a jelly fish. Take an eye dropper of food coloring and water and squirt it inside. you will have all sorts of colors inside. Slice it with a plastic knife. Explore this strange substance.
- Contact paper collage. Cut a piece of contact paper and take the backing off. Place the sticky side up on a table and allow your child to stick things on it. Gather leaves and petals from outdoors, feathers, string, yarn, toys, fabric, cotton. If you child wants to keep it cover it with a clear piece of contact paper on the top.
- Sand paper flannel board. A piece of sandpaper can be a sensory experience with your child. Allow them to stick cut flannel, felt, string, yarn, cotton to the sand paper.
Celebrate the beginning of summer!
- Go out for ice-cream
- Have a water balloon fight
- Make s’mores
- Measure your child, their hands and feet too, and be prepared to see a big growth change when summer ends and you measure again.
- Begin a summer collection. Help your child create a simple collection box. (Sea glass, bottle caps, petals, ticket stubs, pennies, different rocks, seeds, sand, bugs–(of course let them go)
- Create a boredom box out of a plastic bin and have you child help you fill it with their suggestions. This is a box they can go to to find something to do when they are bored. Keep refreshing it.
- As a family begin to count a type or color of car that you see together on the road just for fun in the sun.
Have some fun your way and CELEBRATE!
Summer usually gives breaks to a family’s hectic schedules and is a time for a bit more freedom and relaxation; that is if you want it to happen that way.
It is also a great time to create your very own fun or silly family rituals or traditions all your own.
Here’s a few ideas to help you get started:
- “Sdrawde” Day! It is your very own family holiday that you chose the date to celebrate. My last name is Edwards so it is my last name backwards. There you go…the theme for the day. Do everything backwards, including your clothes. Eat dinner for breakfast, eat dessert before the meal, walk backwards to get into your car and go on an outing your family chooses. Make it a blast…or a tsalb!
- A night picnic. If you don’t want to get out the tent, make a fort in your backyard or a safe area. Bring candles (and bug spray) and eat after dark. Be sure to bring a story or two and make it a tradition to do a night picnic every Friday night all summer long. Don’t forget to notice the night sky while your out…
- Kindness Camp: If you want kind kids help them do nice things for other people. Set a day a week for Kindness Camp and what you will do that week to chose to be kind. For example: Buy a box of Popsicles which are only for people who are out in the heat that you notice. If you see someone hot, run get one and offer them something cool. Bake special treats each week and find someone to give them to. I know the fire station loves treats, the police station, the trash collector, the postage worker, your neighbors, etc. Keep a trash bag in your car and when you find trash at the part have your children pick it up to make their part clean. Look on the Random Acts of Kindness website for ideas for children. You can implement kindness every week and be sure to keep track what you do with a kindness chain or chart so your kids will feel proud and enjoy being KIND. Cheer for KIND!
- Play games outside; especially in the evening while you can. Teach your children your old outdoor games you played when you were a child. Make an evening when you plan to do this once a week with your whole family. Even if it just involves sitting and making mud pies together with a bucket, some dirt, and a hose. Enjoy being OUT, especially when the season calls you to come out and play.
- Crazy dinner. Instead of setting your dinner table with regular plates, cups, and utensils use a variety of other items in your kitchen to eat your food from. Give daddy a baby bottle as his beverage cup, eat from cupcake tins, a top of a lid, a pie plate, a ice cube tray. Everyone has something different. The utensils can be egg beater, a spatula, a giant spoon, etc. and laugh while you struggle eating dinner together. Even more fun, invite friends to come over and do it with them.
- The Pillow Case Journal. Instead of keeping a summer journal for your children write all the fun things you did on a pillow case. Pick a night before bed where your child can dictate or write on their own the fun things they want to remember. Those pillow cases can be used all summer long and cherished for years. Don’t forget to write the year and age of your child. (Use permanent marker and place a paper towel on the inside to protect if the ink bleeds as you write.)
Remember summer is all about fun. Do more of that!
It’s all about making memories together!
Set yourself free…
Have fun with it!
Do it like school does.
Preschool children come in to a room that has been staged. There is usually a theme. Let’s say it is about building. There will be a table with nuts and bolts to screw together. There will be a picture at another table to color or do some type of art work about building. There will be a table with play dough with some type of objects that refer to building. There will be books about the subject of building. There will be work clothes in the drama section, tractors and blocks, etc. The whole room is staged to engage your child in play and discovery.
Stage at home.
Have a designated table, a chalkboard wall, a bulletin board… close to where you are working that is a good staging area for something unexpected. As your children are engaging nicely at a random time, take a few minutes to stage an activity when they don’t notice. THIS IS THE KEY. THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE IS WHAT MAKES IT WORK SO WELL. Put it out on the table you have designated. As they start to hang on your legs, ask for food when they aren’t hungry walk them over to the brand new activity that they hadn’t noticed and let them go at it. Sometimes I would cover it with a towel.
I have done surprise staging tables even as my children have grown older. Many times the older children will enjoy doing the staging table activity playing with the younger siblings, but sometimes not. But they played and discovered.
A big no-no in my childhood philosophy is to rate a toy or activity by age.
“Oh that is too young for you!”
That is so beyond ridiculous! When my husband turned 40 I took all his “boy friends” and went slot car racing and gave each one a match box car. They LOVED it! We are all young at heart. We never are too old for toys! Look up the America’s Funniest Home Video of the grandpa caught playing with Legos and making fighting noises that boys do naturally. He won! Why do Google’s Campus’s have Lego rooms, and play equipment everywhere. Play stimulates creativity and thought. Make staging tables and sit down yourself and play.
Ideas for a few:
- Brand new freshly made homemade, play dough. Not the kind you buy. This smells great and has a better consistency for play. It is luscious warm, too. A very sensory pleasing moment. Put out strange things to do with it. Not the commercial toys. Put golf tees, plastic flowers and cups, of course butter knives, army men, Legos, etc.
- Save the last bits inside the bottom of the cereal box and put them out with a big bowl and a small pitcher of water. Allow your child to make their own food concoctions. Let them stir and mix and pour. Put a broom next to the area. Teach them to sweep and pick up. They can do it and that is part of the fun.
- Put out an old game that the kids have not played in awhile. Stage it like you are selling it. Set it up, have snacks next to it. Make it look engaging.
- A bowl of sudsy water and a bunch of little toys. Make it a car wash, an animal bath, a bubble tea party, let them play in the suds.
- Shaving cream dollop on a cookie sheet. Put a drop of food coloring on top and let them finger paint on the cookie sheet. It cleans quick in water.
- Set up toys you have put away. They become new again.
- Cardboard boxes and tubes, and lots and lots of tape, etc.
- A pile of Legos with NO Directions!
- Gelatin or Jell-O to play in, cut up, bounce toys off of..and eat with their fingers
- The list is endless. Use what your family likes to do and has around.
NOTE: Tired mammas, daddys, caregivers, or grandparents can minimize clean up by going to the dollar store and buying a pile of plastic table cloths. When you stage put one under. When they are done, save it or gather the mess and toss the whole thing. Plan a stage every week and keep track. You will see how much fun it is.
Buy suckers! (lollipops if you are from the East)
Put some in
the car door holder,
in your sweater pockets,
high up in your pantry,
upstairs on your closet shelf,
in the bathroom cupboard,
stashed behind the stroller,
under your bed,…
…but never always available anytime.
These are the specials
when you “need” to pull one out and give to the kiddos
for your own moment of sanity.
Grandma C’s approved! And her husband was a dentist. She, one hundred percent carried candy stashes (lollipops if you are from the east) on hand just when she needed one or two for a “surprise…”
She was the oldest daughter of 10, the mother of 6, the grandmother of 27 and posterity of over 100 plus.
I trust her judgement!
(Dum-dums are EFFECTIVE and you can buy them in big bags)
I know. You can’t do another thing. You are barely surviving the day. A list of back-pocket ideas (last post) for your kiddos to happily play-by-your-feet-while-you-fix-dinner gives you less guilt but really, you just want to give them the I-phone, give in to the piece of candy they want, let them stay up or out all night if they chose, just, just, JUST PLEASE LEAVE YOU ALONE AND…
Then curl up and fall sleep anywhere.
(You know you have become a full fledged parent when you can fall asleep standing up!)
A long list of back pocket ideas will clog all your receptors like fog and you will shut down.
So here is the first and main one to work on for awhile…after you checked yourself in a hotel over night alone to nuzzle into a pillow and really get some shut eye…(well you can day dream about this…
or night dream as you nurse, change pee-pee sheets, readjust the vaporizer, find a new nightlight battery or wait up for the teen.
#1: FIND YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR
Parenting is a total crack up! I pretend I am being videoed by angels and they are having a jubilant time reveling in my catastrophes. I talk to them all the time, in fact. (Sometimes I even give goofy looks for the invisible camera. It’s up at the ceiling, or in the sky.)
Like one of the 6 hour Jet Blue flights traveling with five children, each summer. This one I had to kneel down in the main aisle, 6 billion miles up in the air, after my third child vomited chunks right where everyone walks to the bathroom. I scrubbed with the only thing I had, an airline blanket as the entire plane leaned in to watch me clean the carpet, plugging their noses. The stewards made me keep that vomit blanket under my seat the whole flight because they didn’t want to touch it! I waved to all the passengers and smiled but all the while I whispered sternly to my video-tographers! “I hope you are enjoying yourselves!” Not many went to the front plane bathroom that flight without jumping over “the spot”…
All the negotiating, all the crying, all the crabbing, all the comparisons, all the guilt, all the squabbles, all the body fluids you have to touch, the thousand times you have to change diapers and little clothes. All the socks you have to match, all the schedules to keep, the food and more food to prepare and put away, all the sleep you loose, all the time you sacrifice and life that drains right out of you is NOT ABOUT YOU.
When the entire package of parenting becomes too serious and you start to feel aliens have invaded your life and now they will never leave it, its time to find your funny bone.
Do NOT laugh AT your children. (danger zone) But certainly laugh at the humor of your life with children because some days YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!
Look at situations for the sheer ridiculousness of it. If your child is tantrumming and you can’t stand it…tantrum with them. CRY and pound your fists on the floor. They stop fast!
Your child does not plan out their day and make lists of how they will torture you.
They aren’t even thinking of you.
They are thinking about themselves and trying to figure out how to live in the world at being only 2 years old, or 10 years old, or 16 years old… They have no clue.
They need you to show them how.
They do not have control of their life.
They are waiting for you to help them out.
If you are taking them and life too serious and make parenting a victim role then you react in your exhaustion, when you could actually take the entire moment and make it funny, or light, or defuse tension in the air.
Most things in childhood are not worth making it a bad memory. Most problems can be solved with a light heart and humor with children.
#1: Find humor in your pocket and your days will be…funner.
Right now, you may have kiddos pulling at your pant leg begging for your attention. You may have someone in “time-out” screaming while you move to another room and take a second away. Right now you may have kids calling, “Mom…” or “DAD!…” and you are purposely doing something else just to have a break. You may be changing a diaper, driving kids to practice, waiting for someone to come, putting in a load of darks while your tween-ager fills the hamper with clothes she doesn’t want to put away, or preparing food for cranky pants who won’t be consoled. You may have left the kids laughing in bed so you could sneak a bite of that chocolate bar you hid.
Most of my blog posts have been somewhat like boot camp explaining the why’s and reasons so sweetly written like a constant lullaby in white space where you struggle to keep from nodding off as you read. But I know real life with children. It is in the trenches where real “experience” exists. Those precious calm moments are usually when they are asleep.
So here we sit in the trenches. How do we make it through? My first tid-bit of advice is ALWAYS have a secret kept in your back pocket ready for the troops, when they blind-side you unexpectedly; because they will.
The posts coming are back pocket helps for those surprise attacks…