By Jill “MamaBug” Frier
Are you at your wit’s end trying to come up with ideas to entertain your kids at home while you try to get work done? After spending two months in quarantine, the thought of trying to plan even more fun activities for summer break can seem daunting. We brainstormed some ideas that may help fill in a few gaps when you run out of ideas and boredom reaches its boiling point.
As always, the Valley of the Sun is hot. What better way to keep your kids occupied than fun with water? A swimming pool is ideal, and a trip to the local water park or nearby lake is always a great time. If you don’t have a pool and the larger public water venues are closed, crowded or too expensive, consider a few wet and wild alternatives:
• Water balloons
• Water hose attachments
• Kiddie pools
• Super Soakers and water guns
• Sprinklers and hoses on the trampoline
• Slip and slides
Crafts and Kits
Some of the most tried and true activities to keep your kids busy are crafts. Whether your youngster likes to paint, glue, build, glitter, or sew, there are homemade ideas and store-bought craft kits for every taste and budget. If you are crafty, look for great ideas on Pinterest or other websites.
Need a little more help? Many craft stores and onsite crafting shops are now packaging materials and instructions from their regular craft classes so you can pick them up and bring them home. Several pottery painting stores are also letting you “take and bake” your own pottery – pick it up from their store, paint it, then bring it back to be fired.
An informal poll of a random group of fourth graders in Ms. H’s class (at a school that will not be named) clearly indicated an overwhelming love of slime by the majority of 10-year-olds. They love the messy, sticky, squishy stuff and have a great time creating it.You can buy pre-made slime kits at the store, but if you really want to have fun and save money, here is a recipe for the homemade kind.
Recipe Per Batch
• 2/3 cup of white glue (Elmer’s brand is best for this recipe, but feel free to try others)
• 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
• 1/4 cup of water
• 2-3 cups of shaving cream (not gel)
• Food coloring
• 1 1/2 tablespoons of contact lens solution (Renu or Equate brands are recommended, but whatever you use, the solution must include boric acid and sodium borate.)
Put the glue in a bowl. Add water and baking soda, then stir. Add shaving cream and mix it all together. Next add food coloring to get the color of slime you want. Last, slowly add about a tablespoon of the contact solution to start the slime process. Knead all of the ingredients together. It will be very sticky at first (this is normal). After about five minutes of kneading, add the rest of the contact solution little by little to reduce the overall stickiness of the slime.
Remember, creating slime is essentially conducting a science experiment, mixing chemicals and colors to get a fun reaction. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the slime, protect your work surfaces, and know that too much handling can cause some irritation to your skin because of the chemicals in the contact solution. And don’t eat it (we don’t recommend this as an activity for kids under 4)!
More Ideas to Research!
There are a ton of ideas for fun, inexpensive and educational activities that can give your kids hours of fun and spark their imagination – here are a few to check out when you are running on empty:
• Pillow and box forts
• Puppet shows
• Family book club
• Planting and gardening
• Baking and cooking
• Sidewalk chalk
• Bug catching
• Camping at home (inside or outside)
• Puzzles and board games
• LEGO and building toys
There are many fun activities to entertain your kids while they are on summer break, and quite a few to keep them busy for long periods if you are trying to work from home at the same time. Do a little research and get creative – you can have fun and save money at the same time. And be sure to check out www.LadybugsBlog.com for links to online resources for many of these ideas, as well as more articles and recommendations for fun, educational and interesting things to do with kids everywhere in Arizona!