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Around The Blogosphere – Holiday Activities

I came across a great little site that will be full of oodles of activities to get you in the holiday spirit.  Heather created this site for the holiday season based on our 50 Days of Summer Fun.  How fantastic is that?  Check out what Heather is coming up with this week, and check back each week for a new batch of activities!  She’s quite crafty, too, so be ready to have some creative fun!

And The Winner Is…

Earlier this summer, we ran a contest to promote our “50 Days of Summer Fun” series through the WonderBrains weblog.  Thank you to everyone who participated!  Today, we used the Random Number Generator at randomizer.org and our winner is:

Research Randomizer Results

1 Set of 15 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 15Unsorted

Job Status:
     
Set #1: 8, 10, 6, 9, 1, 7, 12, 13, 2, 4, 15, 5, 14, 3, 11

Commenter #8 is our winner – congratulations CHRISTI!  You will receive an email and may contact us directly for information regarding your $50 gift certificate!

Thank you to everyone for playing!

FIFTY DAYS OF SUMMER FUN: WEEK 10 – FINAL INSTALLMENT!

We’ve survived (and thrived) through 10 weeks of summer.  One of the few things that got me through this season was finding a small activity or purpose for each day.  I hope you found a few gems yourself and will continue to search for new ideas to share with the kids in your life, even when summer is over.  Here are a few ideas this week as we say goodbye to lazy days and look forward to school in a couple of weeks…

MONDAY:  Adopt a pet!  No, I’m not clinically insane, although a trip to the animal shelter would be a great activity (they can always use donations of pet supplies and appreciate a helping hand to visit with the animals!).  We’re adopting the ultimate pet today – a Pet Rock.  I’m going to let the boys paint their rock, then we are making “beds” out of shoe boxes and fabric remnants.  I’m sure we’ll have to create a birth certificate online for our newfound friend (thanks to Webkinz and Build-a-Bear).  Regardless, it will be a great time for all of us, and the best part is that it is FREE.

TUESDAY:  Fly a plane!  No, not a REAL plane…good gracious, who can afford the gas for that?  Make some paper airplanes and fly away.  Have contests for the plane that goes the farthest, the best decorated plane and the craziest flying plane.  Need ideas or tips on folding?  Check out this paper airplane website for some great ideas and patterns!

WEDNESDAY:  Make sure you finish any reading programs you started for the summer.  Now is the time to look for those missing books and movies, too.  While we’re looking, let’s clean out the summer-mobile.  Break out the suds and sponges for a good, old-fashioned car wash, then be sure to clean out the inside as well.   You’ll be glad you did when all those backpacks hit the floorboards in the next several weeks!

THURSDAY:  This can be as involved or low-key as you want it to be; today we’re creating a TIME CAPSULE!  I’m letting my boys decorate old shoe boxes for this; empty cereal boxes or even empty paper towel rolls will work as well, depending on the items your child wants to include.  This is an easy way for me to clean up all that summer “art” we have hanging on the fridge (and taped to the back of the closet door and hanging off of the bed frames…) as well as saving a few things the boys have loved this summer without having to actually make room for them.  I’m covering their boxes with old Christmas wrapping paper that I’ve turned to the wrong side.  Then, they are decorating them with markers and foam pieces.  Once the boxes are decorated, their summer “treasures” will go inside.  We are “burying” our time capsule on the top shelf of their closet (a sure place to store something in our house that you won’t need for a long time!).  Then, come next summer, we’ll open it up and remember all the fun we had!

FRIDAY:  END OF SUMMER PARTY!  This is really an anything-goes kind of celebration.  Want to have a pajama party?  Go for it!  Want to make your own pizzas to send summer on its way?  That’s a great idea!  My older son is having a sleepover tonight, so we will be making pizza, brownies and watching movies until late with the hopes of sleeping in tomorrow morning.  For my younger son, we’re spending the afternoon in the sprinkler, taking advantage of the heat and the lack of routine before school starts again.  What will you do to usher summer on its merry way?

FIFTY DAYS OF SUMMER FUN: WEEK 9

We only have two more weeks of great activities to share…we’re saving some of our best ideas for last!  Take a look at what’s on tap for this week:

MONDAY: We’re going fishing today!  Now, before you start complaining because you don’t live near a pond/river/lake/ocean, let me explain.  We’re MAKING our “fish tank”!  Each child is getting a water bottle (or any type of clear plastic bottle with a lid) and we’re filling it with water.  We’ll add a few drops of blue food coloring to turn our “pond” a lovely shade of blue, then we’re adding a bit of glitter as well (to make the water “sparkle”).  From here, the sky’s pretty much the limit!  We can either decorate the outside of our “pond” with shapes cut from foam or construction paper (seaweed, fish, rocks), or we can add things to our “pond” to make it more realistic.  Small pebbles work well, maybe a stray weed or stick from the yard, and throw in a gummy fish!  My boys have tons of small plastic animals, so those will probably be our new pond residents by the end of the project.  This is great for kids of any age!  (Note: either tape or hot glue the lid shut when you are done to prevent food coloring leaks where you least want them.)

TUESDAY:  We’re making it RAIN today!  Now, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that happens to get rain today, break out those umbrellas and get out in the rain and play!  For us in Texas, chances are we are NOT getting rain, but we can make our own with the help of the sprinkler.  Running barefoot and playing with umbrellas is always a lot of fun for kids, and the grass gets a good soak as well.

WEDNESDAY:  Its BACKWARDS DAY today!  Make sure you dress backwards, walk backwards, and if you can swing it, talk backwards!  The kids will have fun with this, no matter what age, even if it is just laughing at you and your backwardsness.  See how many things you can do backwards today.  And, don’t forget to head to the library today (but PLEASE don’t drive backwards!).

THURSDAY:  One issue I have that seems magnified in the summer is keeping my kids occupied while I’m preparing dinner (or lunch or breakfast…).  So, my boys are making PLACEMATS today!  I am giving them each a piece of manilla paper, but you could also use colored construction paper, posterboard, or even cardboard…whatever you have on hand.  I am pulling out all my “crafty scraps”: fabric swatches, old sticker sheets, markers, glue, old buttons, yarn; I am basically emptying my craft drawer for them!  Since I’m making a pasta dish tonight, they’ll get a bit of that and some dried beans to use as well if they choose.  While I prepare dinner, they are going to make one-of-a-kind placemats for the family.  We may only use them for one meal, but it will keep them busy while I’m in the kitchen without using the television as a babysitter (there’s only so much I can take of Nick Jr!).  If you choose to use flat items, you can always “seal” the placemat with contact paper (applied to both sides) or take it to your local office supply store and have it laminated!  If you’re in the mood for the “full effect” of homemade table accessories, take a paper towel roll (empty of course!) and cut it into small segments for your child or children to decorate.  In a short time, you’ll have some unique napkin rings to compliment your placemats!

FRIDAY:  One of my most favorite things to do when I was a little girl was to create what is now called “scratch art”.  Older kids will be able to do this on their own; younger ones will need adult assistance but can still have loads of fun!  Take a plain piece of paper (I actually use manilla or white construction paper cut in half or fourths) and cover it with heavy crayon.  Press firmly and color the entire page using any color other than black.  The more you vary the color, the better; just make sure you have full coverage.  Once the page is full, cover the crayon with heavy BLACK crayon so none of the color can be seen.  Using scissors or another edged object, scratch designs in the black crayon, letting the color underneath show through.  My older son is actually quite good at this; he plans his artwork ahead of time, making sure to get the colors in the appropriate places for a tree, a car, a house or even a rainbow.  Then, when he scratches his picture into the black, he (usually) has green leaves and (usually) a brown trunk!

That’s it for this week!

FIFTY DAYS OF SUMMER FUN: WEEK 8

Are we having fun yet?  Get ready for some easy and entertaining ideas for this week!

MONDAY:  Cool off today with a milkshake, courtesy of your own kitchen!  Here are our favorite recipes for milkshakes around here…choose your favorite, or revise it to make your own fave!  CHOCOLATE SHAKE:  Place 1 cup of chocolate ice cream, 1/2 cup milk, and a squirt of chocolate syrup in a blender.  Blend for about a minute or until smooth.  Drink!  (This is enough for one shake.)  STRAWBERRY SHAKE:  Place 2 cups of strawberry ice cream, 1 cup of milk and a 10 oz package of frozen strawberries in the blender and blend for about 2 minutes.  Enjoy!  (This is enough for two good-sized shakes.)  Try making your own combinations: vanilla ice cream and bananas, chocolate ice cream and caramel topping…what is your favorite flavor?

TUESDAY:  Let’s make our own postcards today!  You can use unlined (or lined, depending on your child’s preference) index cards – 4 x 6 variety – to create your own.  Let your child draw a picture on one side, then address the other side and slip on a postcard stamp.  Or, run by your local post office and purchase postage-paid cards to write and/or decorate!  Send them off to family and friends.  What relative doesn’t enjoy a handmade letter from a child? 

WEDNESDAY:  What child doesn’t love to make a bit of cash?  So, let’s set up a lemonade stand!  Have the kids make signs, set up a table outside and call the neighbors.  We actually enjoy serving a variety of drinks, from grape Kool-Aid to some iced tea for adults.  Don’t worry about profit; the biggest gain is the amount of fun the kids will have setting it up!  Or, take the proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause, such as the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels or Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  And, don’t forget to stop by your local library today!

THURSDAY:  This recipe may seem a bit involved but it is TOTALLY worth it.  After all, think of all the cool stuff you can do with SLIME!  Take 1 tablespoon of BORAX (found in your laundry detergent aisle) and dissolve it in a cup of water.  Then, in another container, combine 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of white glue.  Now, add 1/2 cup of of the borax mixture to the glue mixture in a Ziploc baggie.  Add food coloring if you want a specific color, and knead the bag until it is completely mixed.  Tada!  You have slime!  Take care to keep it off of furniture and carpet, and, like many products, slime doesn’t last forever.  It will eventually morph into MOLD, so be sure and throw it out after a few days.

FRIDAY:  Time for a playdate!  Whether you host one or go to one, connect with a friend today, even if only for a short while.  The kids will enjoy the interaction with their pals, and make sure get some “adult talk” for yourself.  Everyone will be happier in the end!

That’s it for this week!

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