Summer Fun No. 34, Pencil vs. Ziploc Bag

What would happen if you poked freshly sharpened pencils into a Ziploc bag filled with water?   My little scientists thought we would have water everywhere, but I knew better thanks to seeing this experiment featured on Sally's gorgeous blog (click over for gorgeous photos & the science behind the fun).

This was a quickie project, but a huge crowd pleaser!  They had a lot of fun letting the water out the pencil by pencil too.

Summer Fun No. 33, Shape Hunt

I have learned that the only way we make it to 6pm swim lessons is if we have a 5pm picnic at the park (where the pool is located).  For some reason my kids (mostly EJ) eat much faster doing it this way.  In fact, so much so that we usually have extra time between dinner and lessons...perfect for a hunt!  This week the kids worked as a team to find shapes in objects around the park.  When they found one, they added a sticker to the chart.

They found pretty obvious shapes (bicycle tire = circle)...

And some not-so-obvious shapes (smooshed pinecone = oval).

They searched everywhere (and it was hot outside)!

The chart was almost filled by swim lesson time (I was surprised they found so many shapes)!  Clearly they had fun too.  Two more weeks...I've got a couple hunts to create.

Summer Fun No. 32, Bubble Pipes

Steps to Bubble Pipe Fun:
1. Take a paper cup and make a hole near the bottom using a pencil.
2. Cut a straw (1/2 to 2/3 it's original length) and push it through the hole.
3. Put a small amount of dish soap (a half dollar-sized circle) in the cup.  Add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
4. Add water to the cup until the liquid covers the straw opening.
5. You are ready to go.  Blow out through the straw and bubbles will form at the top of the pipe!

Tips for better success than we had with the above formula:
1. Make sure that you make the hole in the cup from the top down.  That way the straw will angle up and you will have less spillage on your kitchen counter.
2. If possible, do the entire process outside.  Do not create the pipes inside and then head out to use them (see tip #1).
3. Do not use food coloring.  It doesn't make that much of a difference except for really messy hands.
4. Do not allow the two-year-old to try one out.  Because no matter how many times you explain to blow out through the straw, she will attempt to drink through it.
5. Have a cup of water on hand (see tip #4).

Luckily for Olivia, her big sister was more than willing to help her enjoy the bubble fun by letting her blow away her creations!

In all honesty, these were kind of pain due to the hiccups we had, but if you made the adjustments I've suggested, I think it would go easily.  I think the best part of the project is that they are made from things you already have on-hand, so low-cost and easy to do anytime.  The kids really enjoyed blowing bubbles and were super mad at me when I wrapped things up (immediately asking when we could make them again). 

Summer Fun No. 31, National Ice Cream Day

Did you know that July 17th is National Ice Cream Day?  I didn't until last year when my friend Jackie had us over for a yummy treat.  Lucky for us, she did it again this year too!

A ton of yummy toppings to choose from...

And the option to load up a bowl with all those mouth-watering options (which of course both Livie & I took full advantage of)...

National Ice Cream Day has been one of the hottest days of summer the last two years, but this year the kids enjoyed cooling off with the ice cream AND with water therapy.
I may have waded in there a time or two myself...after calling a cease fire of course!

Summer Fun No. 30, Horse Ride

These lucky kids got to spend the afternoon riding a horse a few weeks ago.  Talk about a thrill for my little city mice!  Grandma's friend introduced them to her lovely horse Cheyenne and helped them get the hang of riding.

Thank you to Jill, Grandma, and Daddy for spending your afternoons with Jack and EJ.  I think EJ's face says it all...they had a blast!

Fav Foto Friday, Smiles

Smiles were all around this week as we had some pretty significant "big deal" things go on around this house!

The first is that Jack got a new big kid bed (which was originally my grandparents' bed).  His room is freshly painted and awaiting being decorated (getting his stuff back in it), but he was able to start sleeping in it again midweek (and was so happy to no longer be stuffed into his sisters' room).

The reason that Jack got a new bed is that Olivia needed his old one!  We're still working out the kinks of the big girl bed (like that fact that you need to stay in it & sleep, not climb over to EJ's bed to chat), but she was certainly happy to see it for the first time!

And my little girl who didn't get anything new out of this deal?  Still smiling...because she has spent the last two weeks at Safety Town each morning and has loved every stinking second!  And because of this experience, we now know that she at least KNOWS the rules of safety even if she is not apt to follow them.

Link up and/or see more smiles at Fav Foto Friday.

Summer Fun No. 29, Paint Chip Fans

Not their best photo, but it was hot outside, so I'll give them a break.  It was a super hot day so we made paint chip fans.  Super easy to do...take some of the taller/strip paint sample cards (we went rainbow colors) and punch a hole in the center on the bottom and top of each card.  Stack them together and secure the bottom with a paper fastener.  Then spread the top out and thread yarn through tying a knot at the first and last card and voila...a pretty way to keep cool.

I ended up making one adjustment to make it easier for the little hands of my house to open and close the fans.  I started at one end and knotted the yarn at the top and then worked my way across the fan making a knot at the top of each card.  The fan still closes flat but opens without having to adjust each blade.

So...this is basically a Mom-created project (although my kids hung out to choose the color yarn they wanted used & the order of their cards) but it is a kid-loved end result.  My kids spent all weekend fanning themselves (and others).

Summer Fun No. 28, Zoo Bingo

Six cousins are headed to the zoo for Kids Night.  They all love animals...they all are strong-willed...four of them are not contained in a stroller.  Yeah, I didn't like the odds either.  I decided to guide the evening's activities with a little game of zoo bingo (cards found here).  They loved it!

They worked together to find the animals on their cards.  Seriously, no competition, just teamwork...I loved it too!  Oh, and I put Jack in charge of handing out the stickers for found animals, so my work was very minimal on this one!

I thought this photo was funny.  I couldn't even get them to slow down for a pic...too busy comparing which animals they still needed as they rushed away.

I think it was a hit! (and also, aren't my nieces super cute?)

Summer Fun No. 27, Fingerprint Painting

Easiest (to set up), and most loved, activity of our week!  It had been awhile since we'd done an art project so everyone was extra excited to have a chance to paint outside.  We started out using fingerprints to create but soon EJ discovered she could use her finger as a brush and she started painting with both techniques (and shared her discovery of course).

Jack drew for himself and the girls...

Then they all got to the serious business of painting!

We started with this (tempera paint)...

used only these (and some marker paper)...

and ended up with these beauties.
{hot dog, soccer ball, rainbow, baseball, & 2 flowers}

Friendship Bracelet Kit

Friendship bracelets are everywhere in blog-land and if you're a child of the 80s (like I am), I bet you couldn't be happier about that!  I decided to pass on the fun to some tweens I love (who I thought might enjoy crafting a bracelet or two of their own).  Each kit contained embroidery floss, a small scissors, a few safety pins (you have to attach them to your jeans somehow right?), instructions, and candy (for a treat while you work).

The instruction sheet I made used these directions from Life In Style.  I also included the links for tutorials from Design Mom, Honestly...WTF, Squidoo, and The Creative Mama.  Lots of different options...and lots of different colors to choose from (so pretty)!

I purchased all the supplies I needed at Michael's, but you could find everything at any craft store (or possibly even a big box store with a crafts section).  I love that everything you need is contained in this small container...perfect to take on a road trip, to a sleepover or throw in your backpack.  I have a feeling this may become my go-to birthday gift for the 7-13 year old set!

Summer Fun No. 26, First Super Reader

He did it!  This sign (along with the other swag he received) represents 18 hours of summer reading.  He also got a second tattoo, hence his muscle man pose, which is again one of the coolest things he was awarded.  So proud of my naptime reading buddy!

Of course now the girls are REALLY wanting a sign of their own!

Summer Fun No. 25, Color Match Book

Jack put together these color books during naptime using paint sample cards (we chose rainbow-colored square cards), a hole punch and a few binder rings.  I didn't take a great photo of the book itself but you need to punch a hole through each card and use a binder ring to hold them together.  Then make a hole in each of the colors for easy color comparison.

We headed to the park for a picnic before swim class and thought it was the perfect location for some color matching fun.  They started with what they were wearing...

Moved on to organic objects...

The bike rack had a wealth of colors to search out....

And finally we moved into the pool area itself.


To be perfectly honest, I didn't think this activity would hold their attention very long but they really enjoyed it.  In fact, I was done way before they were (and they are still matching colors in the house when they think of it).  It was great for each of them...Olivia was able to work on finding the correct page when I mentioned a specific color, EJ spent time identifying colors "in the wild" and then matching them to her book, and Jack really concentrated on values and whether or not he had the exact shade to match an object.  They all seem to be enjoying having their own color book now too (so much so that they are each labeled with names to reduce fighting).

-Project idea via Frugal Family Fun