About Kids and Summer-- And Gray Hair.

Summer time and kids. I have a true love/hate relationship with my kids summer. I get so excited at the thought of lazy mornings, no lunches to pack, no last minute homework mishaps to deal with, and no carpool. I always envision how happy I will be to spend leisurely fun days with my kids enjoying having them home with me instead of away at school all day.

Then, summer actually arrives, and reality quickly sets in. My munchkin boys (who are all too quickly passing the munchkin stage. sigh.) fight. A lot. Actually, the amount of fighting and squabbling they do would probably fit within normal ranges, but it still seems like much more than necessary to me. They get bored like 2 seconds after summer vacation starts. And unlike school mornings, where nothing short of me yanking blankets away and pulling them forcibly from their beds seems to wake them up, summer mornings they wake early. Way Too Early. I find myself making more snacks, pouring more drinks, and washing more dishes than I think is described in my mommy contract. Honestly. Have you checked the fine print on yours lately, btw?

But still, I love summer. And despite my lamenting here, I love my kiddos. And I know, just like I know those pesky gray hairs I keep plucking will  keep re-appearing randomly on my head, (another story for another day,) that I will look back one day all too soon and miss these special days of summer. (Unlike those gray hairs I have plucked from my head. But I digress.) The thought that another school year has come and gone and that my children are older, taller, and moving up to the next grade does not thrill me either. I often wonder if it should though. Am I weird?

How do you feel about summer vacation? Are you excited?? Are you scared??? Are you dreading it??? Or are you a mixed heap of emotions like me about the whole summer thing?

And, by the way, have you planned activities for your kids this summer yet? Will you? Or do you kind of take each day on its' own and do with it what you may? While we tend to be more of the foot-loose and fancy free type here, I cannot imagine surviving summer without some sort of back-up list of ideas. So in preparation of summer, I have been  perusing the web for some cheap cool things I can do with my kids. This is, so far, my list of possible summer activities for the kids:

1. Do Puppet Shows. (clearly this will not be a uniquely creative list. I never promised it would be, though, right?) My kids have asked, more than once I hate to bravely admit, to make puppets and have puppet shows. Sadly, we have not done this activity yet. While reading about some summer ideas for kids on babble.com, the puppet show was listed, and I clearly knew I should put this one first on my list, before my kids are no longer interested. Sigh. I really liked the suggestion that puppets can be as simple as paper bag puppets and a stage can be as simple as a table with a white sheet over it.

No excuses. This is first on my list. (Bug me for pictures, will some one please? I need to be held accountable for this one, and have to show proof of having done this with my kids!)

2. A Classic - Make Your Own Play Doh! I know moms everywhere know about this one, but if you have forgotten the recipe, here is one that is simple, easy and pretty much guaranteed to make the kids happy.  Well, for a little while, anyway.

Homemade Play Doh:
Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of water, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tsp cream of tartar, and a few drops of food coloring in a large pan over low heat. Stir until combined and allow to cool. Mold and enjoy!

3. Make Oobleck Slime! A fast fix for the 'I am bored' 's: Oobleck Slime. Gooey and slimey this stuff is pretty much a standard around here for amusing the munchkin boys! Oobleck is fascinating for kids because of it's solid and liquid nature. It is called a non-Newtonian fluid — it sometimes behaves like a liquid and sometimes like a solid.While this slimey concoction will usually act like a liquid or jelly, if you squeeze it in your hand, the starch particles will not move out of the way quickly, so the Oobleck will feel solid. It can be molded in a container, but when the mold is removed, the Oobleck will lose its shape.

How to make Oobleck:
In a large bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch with 1 cup water. Add in more cornstarch if you want a more 'solid' oobleck.  If the mixture seems too dry, add water, a few drops at a time, It will take about 10 minutes of mixing to get nice homogeneous oobleck. Add a few drops of food coloring if you want color slime. The Oobleck should fall in a thick ribbon when you lift the spoon.

4. Keep a Moon Journal. Again this great idea comese from Babble.com, and I really, really like this summer activity. Not only will this create some special quality time for kids and parents, it is done at night, so chances are it will inspire this time to be a quiet one as well where thoughts and questions can be shared. Plus, kids can learn more about how the moon and it's phases affect nature.
 Every night for a month, take time to watch the moon phases. Each night at the same time, step outside and look up at the moon. Have your child draw each night's moon phase. Enjoy the stars, night sounds, and just being together as a family. 

5. Make Homemade Slushies! A perfect bribe treat for hot summer days! This easy homemade slushie recipe comes from familycorner.com--

1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mix, any flavor
2 cups of water
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
4 cups ice 

In a blender, combine Kool-Aid, water and sugar. Blend. Add all the ice and blend.

6. Make a Milk Carton Bird Feeder(s) (Remember, I did mention 'cheap' summertime kid ideas!) We will make two of these bird feeders, heck, they fit our budget perfectly. If my daughter, who will be turning 14 this summer, eek, wanted to make one, I could even spring and get her her own milk carton too. Something tells me she won't though. But the boys will have fun not just making these, but putting them up in our backyard and 'bird watching' everyday and seeing how well their feeders are appreciated. Not an elaborate, fancy or new summer craft I know, but certainly will be fun and enjoyed anyway.

Milk Jug Bird Feeders (from familycorner.com)
Rinse out an empty plastic gallon milk jug with lid. Cut a window in the front of the jug, and make two small poke holes for the perches. Insert pencils for perches and fill the bottom of the jug with bird seed.

I am stopping here for today, I know it is a short list so far, but I will be adding much more as I pick and choose ideas I come across that I think kids will like doing this summer, and moms will not have to go a) broke; b) driving for long periods of time while cursing summer; and c) can actually enjoy doing with their kids almost as much as the kids. Got any suggestions? Please let me know!!

p.s.  Do you have any gray hairs stealthily invading your hair? What do you do about them? I won't tell, promise. 

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@2023 HappyHealthyFamilies.com. All Rights Reserved.