The Summer Bucket of FUN!

Say goodbye to the "I'm bored" or "There's nothing to do!" sayings once and for all this summer. Spend half an hour or so gathering supplies for your summer bucket of FUN, and you'll be ready to go with at least 23 activities at a moment's notice.

I’ll be honest in saying that I’m sort of dreading this summer. My oldest daughter will be finished her two days a week preschool and swimming lessons so she will be home a lot more. As with most five year olds, she has a lot of energy and likes to keep busy. Normally this is okay, but the littlest is still napping quite a bit so during this time, we’re stuck at home. (and boredom usually strikes…)

With that in mind, I had to figure something out. Especially since I wanted to figure out some easy activities I could do with my oldest to make her feel like mommy isn’t just around for the baby’s needs.

Enter… The Summer Bucket of FUN!

I’m so so excited about it! This summer bucket of fun is loaded with supplies, mostly from the dollar store, that can be used to create an almost endless supply of activities. I think it’s going to be a hit!

The idea is that when Sienna is looking for something to do, she’ll pull something out of the bucket and we’ll get to work doing something fun. Some of the activities she can do on her own as well. I hope that this bucket will create some fun memories for her and remind her that life isn’t all about her little sister. 😉

Here’s what’s included in the bucket:

  • Bubbles
  • Chalk
  • Plastic Shower curtain
  • Dry erase markers
  • Popcorn
  • Birdseed
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Fly swatter
  • Spray bottles
  • Paints
  • Rocks
  • Toothpicks
  • Skewers
  • Nature scavenger hunt printable (search Pinterest or use the one in my ebook)
  • Book
  • Little plastic farm animals
  • Fishing rod with fish
  • Magazine
  • Glass jar
  • Ice cream image
  • Bouncy ball
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons

In order to complete some of the activities, I’ll have to gather some supplies that I most likely have on hand already. Mostly pantry staples that don’t really have to go in the bucket! In total, I spent about $25 at the dollar store to fill the bucket, so I think each activity will end up being quite frugal too! (Especially since the list below is only a small list of possibilities!)

Here are some of the possible activities that we can do with the supplies from the bucket:

  1. My Summer Adventures book
  2. Spray Chalk painting
  3. Hand print Octopus
  4. Flip Flop Footprint picture
  5. Bird Feeders
  6. Shower curtain drawing
  7. Rock candy experiment
  8. Ice cream in a Bag
  9. Marshmallow and toothpick building
  10. Nature scavenger hunt
  11. Make a bouncy ball
  12. Go to the library
  13. Paint rocks
  14. Movie night/day
  15. Ice block treasure hunt
  16. Fishing game
  17. Blow bubbles
  18. Chalk drawing
  19. Magazine art
  20. Melted crayon art
  21. Fly swatter art
  22. Decoupage vase
  23. Popsicle stick basket

Now, you can purchase The Summer Bucket of FUN ebook that includes a list of all the activities, a supply list and instructions for all activities in one convenient downloadable book! I’ve made it really affordable at only $4.97.

BUY THE SUMMER BUCKET OF FUN EBOOK HERE.

Scented Candy Cane Play Dough

candy-cane-play-dough

This is such a simple gift idea that is inexpensive and a great way for kids to use their imaginations rather than grabbing for the electronics.  Today I would love to share my Play Dough Gift idea…Candy Cane Play Dough!

You can make the Candy Cane Play Dough and give that as a gift… or you can fill a jar with the dry ingredients and let your recipients make the play dough themselves at home. Either way, I think it’s a fun and unique gift idea for kids.

Here’s how to make Candy Cane Play Dough:

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
5-6 drops of peppermint essential oil (or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold water
Red washable paint/watercolor
White glitter

DIRECTIONS
1.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

flour-salt
2.  Add the extract, oil and water and mix until well incorporated.

flour-water

3.  Remove dough from bowl and place on a flat, lightly floured surface. Knead until a soft play dough forms (this takes about 3-4 minutes).

4.   Separate the play dough in half. Set aside one half and place the other in a medium mixing bowl.

dough-balls

5.  Add the red paint/watercolor to the play dough in the bowl and mix until your desired color is achieved. I added about 2 Tablespoons of paint to get a rich red color.

red-dough

6.  Lay both colors of play dough out on your play surface and sprinkle with glitter. Enjoy making candy canes, peppermint “candies”, etc!

glitter-dough

There you have it! A fun and frugal gift idea that kids are sure to enjoy! I’m excited to give it to my daughter, maybe we’ll get to enjoy drinking hot coffee on Christmas morning!

A Homemade Christmas Gift: No Sew Snowman T-Shirt

no-sew-snowman-t-shirt

I have got the cutest DIY project for you today. It’s festive, ridiculously easy to put together and the kids are sure to love it. A No sew snowman t-shirt! Like, look how awesome it is:

How fun would they be to pull out of the Christmas boxes every year? I’ve got the big t-shirt for my oldest, now I’ve got to make a onesie for my youngest!

Here’s how you can put together the No Sew Snowman T-Shirt:

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • White t-shirt (try looking for one at your dollar store!)
  • Crafting felt in black and orange
  • Fabric glue
  • Iron (optional)
  • Scissors

snowman-tshirt-supplies

DIRECTIONS:

1. Begin by ironing out your shirt as well as the felt sheets. This step is optional, but it may help you apply your snowman face. If you choose to iron, just use a low heat and no steam.

2. Cut out the shapes you will need to create the snowman face. I cut out a large triangle for a nose using the orange felt. Then, I cut out a few large circles from the black fabric to use as the eyes and buttons. For the mouth, I cut out smaller but uniform black circles.

3. Add a small dab of fabric glue (it will help the felt adhere better than hot glue, plus it will keep the pieces together in the washing machine) to the back of the felt pieces. Assemble the face of your snowman. Press the two large circles for eyes first, then the carrot nose, then the coal mouth. Finish by adding a few large buttons under the mouth.

4. Hold the felt pieces in place until secure. Try hanging your shirt on a hanger so it has plenty of space to dry and not be bothered.

5. Once dry, your shirt can be worn and enjoyed! Wash on a gentle cycle and never machine dry. Turn inside out before washing and your shirt should last for seasons to come!

Handprint Octopus Craft

This Handprint Octopus Craft is a great activity for documenting hand size. It's always fun to look back to see how big we've grown!

I’m finally back after a seemingly long hiatus from the Summer Bucket of FUN! It’s been a bit chaotic around these parts since we’ve been having fun with visiting family and daily swimming lessons now that they’ve gone back home!

Today’s Handprint Octopus Craft is a great activity for documenting hand size. It’s always fun to look back to see how big we’ve grown!

Here’s how to make the Handprint Octopus Craft:

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • Construction paper
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Googly Eyes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take a sheet of blue construction paper, set aside
  2. Grab a sheet of white (or light colored) construction paper
  3. Put paint all over kids’ hands
  4. Press down on the paper with painted hands making hand prints. (You may want to make quite a few and pick the best looking ones)
  5. Cut out the hand prints
  6. Glue hand prints on the blue construction paper with fingers pointing down to resemble octopuses
  7. Decorate with googly eyes
  8. Optional: cut out squiggly pieces of paper to create seaweed, glue to bottom of blue paper

Handprint Octopus Craft 2

Free Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable

Looking for a fun outdoor activity that will get the kids excited? You’ve got to print out this Nature Scavenger Hunt then! It will get the kids running all over the place discovering exciting things that can be found in nature.

Looking for a fun outdoor activity that will get the kids excited? You've got to print out this Nature Scavenger Hunt then! It will get the kids running all over the place discovering exciting things that can be found in nature.

Click here to get your free Nature Scavenger Hunt printable or click on the image above. It’s also available in the Summer Bucket of FUN.

You could turn this into a fun learning activity by discussing each item on the list. I bet the kids will be fascinated to learn unique details about each object. In case you need some help, I’ve listed a few interesting facts about each item below:

Butterflies:

  • Butterflies can’t hear, but they can feel vibrations.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • Butterflies breath through openings on their abdomen called ‘spiracles’.

Clouds:

  • Every planet with an atmosphere has clouds. That includes the moon.
  • Clouds are white because they reflect light from the sun. Gray clouds become so filled with water that they don’t reflect light.

Ladybugs:

  • Ladybugs bleed from their knees when threatened.
  • A ladybug’s bright colors warn predators to stay away.
  • Ladybug larvae resemble tiny alligators, with elongated bodies and bumpy skin.

Caterpillars:

  • Caterpillars are nicknamed “eating machines” since all they do is eat, eat and eat
  • The life span of a caterpillar is approximately from two to four weeks
  • Caterpillars breathe through little holes on the sides of their bodies called spiracles, not through its mouth. The mouth and strong jaws, called mandibles are just for chewing their food.

Flowers:

  • Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and almonds.
  • Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in Holland in the 1600s.
  • The largest flower in the world is the titan arums, which produce flowers 10 feet high and 3 feet wide.

Mushrooms:

  • Mushrooms are made up of around 90% water.
  • There are over 30 species of mushroom that actually glow in the dark. The chemical reaction called bioluminescence produces a glowing light known as foxfire. People have been known to use these fungi to light their way through the woods.
  • You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth.

Bees:

  • There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.
  • The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. …
  • Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.

Spiders:

  • Spiders are found on every continent of the world except Antarctica.
  • Spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined.
  • When a spider travels, it always has four legs touching the ground and four legs off the ground at any given moment

Birds:

  • Birds have hollow bones which help them fly.
  • Some bird species are intelligent enough to create and use tools.
  • The chicken is the most common species of bird found in the world.

Sun:

  • Over one million Earth’s could fit inside the Sun
  • The Sun is almost a perfect sphere
  • The Sun is travelling at 220 km per second

Spider Webs:

  • Spider webs are actually made of Spider silk.
  • Spider silk is stronger than steel
  • Tarantulas do not spin spider webs

Trees:

  • Some trees produce a bitter chemical to ward off predators
  • Stress makes trees stronger
  • In one day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air

Acorns:

  • Each acorn is unique to the type of oak tree that it comes from, it’s like a fingerprint for the tree.
  • The animals that most like to eat acorns are squirrels, mice, pigeons, ducks, deer and pigs.
  • Acorns are nuts that form on mature oak trees. The older the tree, the more acorns produced, and trees that are 70 or 80 years old can potentially produce thousands of these tree nuts.

Leaves:

  • Fallen leaves are an essential part of a forest’s ecosystem, providing protection for tree seeds to germinate over the course of winter.
  • Leaves need carbon dioxide that humans and animals breathe out, and they return oxygen, which we need to breathe in.

Homemade Bird Feeders

You will have so much fun putting these simple Homemade Bird Feeders together!

As part of the Summer Bucket of FUN that I put together for my daughter, one of the activities was to make homemade bird feeders. We had so much fun making these!

My daughter (age 4) was able to do most of the steps on her own while I stood beside her (taking pictures!). Now that they’re done, she’s having a lot of fun watching the birds eat the seeds.

Here’s how we made Homemade Bird Feeders:

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 cup of Bird seed (+ a bit more as needed)
  • 1 pack of Gelatin
  • 1 cup Hot water
  • Mixing bowl with spoon
  • Cookie cutters
  • Tray with foil
  • Ribbon
  • Straw

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pour hot water into a bowl and sprinkle 1 pack of gelatin into the hot water.
  2. Stir until all the gelatin has dissolved.
  3. Slowly pour the bird seed into the liquid (adding a little bit at a time) and give it a stir to make sure all the seeds are coated.
  4. Put some cookie cutters on a tray covered in foil and fill the cookie cutters with the bird seed mixture. (Don’t make them too thick, they will take a long time to solidify.)
  5. Use the back of a spoon to make sure the mixture is packed into the cookie cutter tightly.
  6. Push a cut up straw through the mixture to make a hole ready for hanging your bird feeder.
  7. Put the bird feeders in the fridge for a few hours and then leave them to dry overnight.
  8. Carefully and slowly push the bird feeders out of the cutters.
  9. Remove the straws and thread the ribbon through the hole to hang.

You will have so much fun putting these simple Homemade Bird Feeders together!

10 Ways Kids Can Make Money This Summer

If your child is not yet old enough for a typical part time job but mature and responsible enough for making money there are plenty of ways they can get started this summer to supplement their allowance, tuck money into savings, and build up their comic book collection.  Some ideas I have gathered are traditional money makers and others are new needs in this modern busy world we live in. Your little entrepreneur is sure to find something here in this list of 10 ideas they can do this summer to make money! These are fantastic ways to teach responsibility, money management, and many other life skills in a real life setting.

Your little entrepreneur is sure to find something here in this list of 10 ideas they can do this summer to make money! These are fantastic ways to teach responsibility, money management, and many other life skills in a real life setting.

10 Ways Kids Can Make Money This Summer:

  1. Setup a Lemonade Stand – The good old stand by money maker of yesterday can still be a great operation now to draw in kids and adults alike . A sweet and simple lemonade stand is a good way to teach your child some money making skills, a new recipe, persistence, marketing, and more. Set them up at the end of the driveway or a local park.

  1. Making Handicrafts – Kids who like to make anything like duct tape wallets, friendship bracelets, watercolor paintings, doll clothes, pot holders, necklaces, etc.. can turn it into a little business to build up their funds.  They can be sold to friends, family, and neighbors or even setup on an Etsy storefront, brought to craft shows or similar venues.

  1. Being a Babysitter/mother’s helper – If your child is old enough they can advertise for independant babysitting but even younger children, probably at least 8 or 9, who enjoy younger children can be a mothers helper keeping the kids occupied, making lunch, and playing with the children while mom does other tasks.

  1. By Mowing/Pulling Weeds – Children make fantastic helpers in the yard and no doubt you have a neighbor or two who can use a little help with the mowing or pulling weeds from the flower bed. Since growing season is in the summer but many people still have to work they extra hand is appreciated.

  1. Bring in Mail/Newspapers/Water Plants – Summer is prime vacation time and people are often looking for someone to bring in the mail, gather newspapers, and water the plants while they are gone and this is a great job for kids to get them started on responsibility and money making. You can accompany younger children and let older children go on their own.

  1. Pooper Scooper – Those with dogs in fenced in yards frequently need to clear it all out, and it’s a job no one likes. But turning it into a money maker is a win win for both sides. Invest in bags and a  long handled scoop (that your child can pay back in payments) and let them give a hand while filling their pockets.

  1. Having a Yard Sale – When I can make money AND clean out the clutter it is a very good day indeed. Enlist the kids help sorting out knick knacks as well as clothes and toys no longer wanted/needed and have a yard sale. Let them do the majority of the work including setup, taking money, and handling customers.

  1. Washing cars – Double duty jobs are the best! Kids can cool off and have fun while earning cash for movies, toys, and more. Car washing is a need and it seems especially during the summer when bugs, dust, and pollen are at a high! They can make signs, pass out fliers, and offer deals to get the word of mouth going around the neighborhood.

  1. Pet sitting/Walking Dogs – While everyone is vacationing without their pets a great need is someone to come several times a day to walk and play with the dogs, clean kitty litter, feed fish, and similar tasks or while they are at work instead of paying big bucks for a doggie daycare.

  1. Starting seeds – If your child has a green thumb (or wants to find theirs) you can have them start seeds or make cuttings for plants and sell them. Many people just don’t have the time and getting ahold of organic plants without pesticides can be difficult. Serve a need and make money by starting butterfly plants and veggies to sell in the neighborhood. You can also  advertise on local Facebook groups (meeting in public place of course!)

How do your kids work to earn extra money during the summer?

A Homemade Christmas Gift: No Sew Superhero Mitts

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you’ve got to check out today’s homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no sew superhero mitts!

No Sew Superhero Mitts

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you've got to check out today's homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no-sew superhero mitts!

So, I love these mitts.  I actually want to keep a pair for myself, but fortunately for my nieces, they get to have them for Christmas! (Their Dad is going to be jealous…)  This project was so fun to do, mostly because it was so easy!  Quick and easy crafts are just my style 😉

How to make No Sew Superhero Mitts:

Supplies needed:

  • Child’s mittens in red ($1 at most retail stores)
  • Colored felt in yellow and blue
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue

Directions:

  1. Begin by laying the mittens flat. Press them as flat as possible and lay them out in the direction they are worn. This way you can be sure you are applying the design so it rests on the top of the hand.
  2. Cut two yellow circles out of felt. Make sure they are even with each other and cut to fit the size of the mitten. Apply a generous amount of fabric glue and press them to the top of the mitten.
  3. Using your blue felt, cut out the letters to spell BAM. Don’t worry about making them perfect as comic book writing is usually a little wild! For our sample, we simply free-handed the letters.
  4. Apply glue to the letters and press them directly over the yellow circle. Hold in place until dry and secure.

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you've got to check out today's homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no-sew superhero mitts!
Your no-sew hero mitts are now complete! When washing, turn them inside out and allow them to air dry. This will help protect the embellishment.

 

Frugal Fun: Inside Out Sensory Slime

Inside Out Sensory Slime: This is a fund activity for kids AND adults! The slime takes on the shape of whatever container it's in, breaks apart easily, and stretches out too!

This is such a fun activity for kids (and adults)!  We played with this Inside out Sensory Slime for a long time too. That’s always a bonus in my books. Something that keeps Sienna entertained for more than a few minutes. 🙂 I even threw a little bit into a zippered plastic bag so that I could have some in my purse for Sienna when I have appointments…etc. Just make sure to keep the bag closed tightly when the slime is not in use!

It’s easy and fun to put together too. It’s possible you have the ingredients on hand already, or else they’re easy to grab.

slime ingredients

INGREDIENTS

These ingredients are needed for each batch of slime.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In one medium bowl, mix 1 teaspoon borax with 1 cup of water.

slime mixing 1

2. In another bowl, pour one whole 4 oz bottle of Elmer’s school glue. It’s important to use Elmer’s for the recipe to turn out right. Add food coloring to the glue now, using the guide for each color. Add 1/2 c water and mix well.

Red: 80 drops red
Blue: 17 drops regular, 3 drops neon blue
Green: 15 drops regular
Yellow: 10 drops regular
Purple: 10 drops neon purple

3. Pour one mix into the other, it doesn’t matter which way you do it but it looks a little different each way. The picture of the blue slime is what it looks like when the water is poured into the glue. The green slime is what it looks like when the glue mix is poured into the borax mix. Again, it doesn’t matter, it’s just different.

slime mixing

4. Mix with your hands, and then separate the slime from the water using your hands.

5. At this point, the slime isn’t going to look right, but after you squish it around for a few minutes it takes on the right consistency.

Inside Out Sensory Slime: This is a fund activity for kids AND adults! The slime takes on the shape of whatever container it's in, breaks apart easily, and stretches out too!

The slime takes on the shape of whatever container it’s in, breaks apart easily, and stretches out too! Store in a plastic bag with as much air removed as possible, and take care to not let it sit on any surface that might stain, as well as any carpet or clothing.

Inside Out Sensory Slime: This is a fund activity for kids AND adults! The slime takes on the shape of whatever container it's in, breaks apart easily, and stretches out too!

50+ Boredom Buster with Just 8 Household Items

boredom-busters

Check this out and bookmark it!  Sara in Shanghai has a list of 50+ Boredom Busters that use only 8 household items! She’s even got a shopping list for you. 🙂