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YUCK-free! Favorite Summer Activities

I received my first favorite Summer gift of the season today. It was the well-loved “close your eyes and open your hand, Mommy” request from two adorably mischievous little (well, one is medium-sized) boys running in from the backyard. They fooled me this time. I believed I could dream of opening my eyes and finding a pretty yellow daisy, perhaps a fluffy little dandelion or even a lucky four-leaf clover. Nope. No such luck. I felt the dirt and slimy wiggly tickle as soon as I offered up my hand in such show of faith and naiveté. Giggles and laughter erupted as they watched me squeal, gag and wave my (free) hand in the air begging them to get it OFF me! My first “let’s-gross-Mommy-out” worm trick of the season. They are both so proud! Note to self: Next time look at whatever they are bringing me through double pane glass, give them thumbs up and look ecstatic. Their track record predicts that this will be followed by a few frogs, strange bugs from trees and even an aquatic creature or twelve they will successfully drag out of the pond. Ew. Yuck. Did I mention I like creature-free nature? I mean, I love our family hikes, days at the lake, trips to the beach, and all other outdoor activities but I really don’t do critters, reptiles or bears (condensed list version). Some moms do. I just don’t. Right away I knew I had to come up with some tried-and-true Yuck- free Summer Activity plans to keep my creeped-out self out of harm’s way. You bet I did. Of course, nothing’s guaranteed because after all, these kids are perfectly capable of adding slimy nature to any one of those listed activities below. And they will. No offense, critter/bugs/aquatic creature/bear lovers. Here we go, some of the faves: 1. Outdoor movie night: This can be a fun night in your backyard that requires a white sheet and movie projector. I was so surprised to see that you can now get a nice quality one for under $100, which is an awesome investment! The rest is up to your liking: popcorn, cushions, movie snacks! TIP: when the kids were younger I used a trick to get them to hang out with us even though their short attention span had kicked in and they couldn’t sit through an entire movie: popcorn necklaces! I’d give them a small bowl of popcorn, yarn and a plastic needle and let them create (with supervision). Try it with fresh fruit necklaces and snacks with holes in them. 2. Backyard target practice: We’ve set up all kinds of water bottle contraptions, cups, hanging cans, balloons, and anything that the kids can shoot with nerf guns, Boomco guns (the kids’ favorite), and even water guns. Don’t forget protective goggles, you can get inexpensive ones at hardware stores, for safety and cool factor, of course. 3. Kids car wash: We’ve made a couple of these over the years and they’ve been a blast! We, of course, have to add a slip-n-slide because without it there’s no danger-thrill factor. That’s my crazy sliding boys here, please note my oldest took his kid-wash/slip-n-sliding very seriously here in his competition swimsuit. We’re a dedicated family. Find all the technical instructions to build your own {here} from my awesome blogger friend Sara @ Mom Endeavors. 4. Ice cream tasting party: This is perfect on those really hot days. It’s such a great 5 senses learning activity, too. Set up multiple flavors of ice cream in numbered cups and have kids take turns guessing the flavors while blind folded! You can make a quick chart and have the kids write their guesses based on smell and taste for each of the mystery flavors then reveal the answers! You can even award prizes, like in the national hot-dog eating competition but not as gross. 5. Outdoor Olympics: We’ve done this at a very ambitious birthday party I threw years ago for our firstborn (sorry second child, when you’re all grown up and reading this please know you matter too.) Yep, ambitious over-the-top hundred invitees children’s party and I? We’re done. But guess who’s still in the game? Martha! I won’t even hang my head in shame as I tell you that you can click {here} for all of her Olympic martha-ness. Go ahead, delight yourself. I did. 6. Science experiment day: You know those times when your kids spend ALL week saying can-we-please blow something up/make something melt/scalpel something open? This day honors all of those requests! Make sure you go all out and add lab coats and goggles for the full Nobel prize in Science experience. See some ideas {here}. 7. Scavenger hunt: Ok, so let me bring you back to the start of this post. Remember? No critters, reptiles or bears for me personally? Go scavenger hunt outdoors at your own risk. I’ve been dragged through a couple of these by my hubby and they were fun as long as I was safe. Just sayin’. 8. Backyard campout: We love this! It doesn’t take as much effort as going “real camping”, so it can be done very easily and quickly and the kids LOVE everything about it. Add a constellation book for star gazing (yes, I know there are apps but this is SUCH a great way to get the kids unglued from screens that I just have to recommend a book, sorry) and all of the same real camping elements like campfire in the fire pit, smore’s, campfire pies and it’s a blast! The kids like to make their very own solar ovens and cook hot dogs in it, it is the best! This is my team getting things started for the fun. Look closely, the one kid is wearing his yellow camping headlamp in broad daylight (spoiler alert: by the time night falls his batteries are dead) and the tiny one is already declaring victory over the tent stakes – and his diaper: 9. Ice cream truck party: You guys, this is life-changing! We are going to be bestest BFFs after I tell you this. Because you already know my life dream to own a Taco Truck, it will come as no surprise to you that this is pretty monumental to me. Did you know that you can call up your friendly local ice cream truck peeps and set up a time for them to COME TO YOUR STREET????? I know, I haven’t felt the need to use a long strand of caps anywhere else throughout this post, so you can imagine my excitement! Seriously, imagining the possibility of an ice cream truck and a taco truck together makes me forget all about the other creepy slimy things. In fact, I’d be willing to scavenger hunt with my hands full of worms through the woods with bears if I knew the ice cream and taco trucks were waiting for me at the end. Well, almost. 10. Water balloon baseball: Fill up those water balloons with a handy-dandy filling/tying helper (we have 2 of these, they’re great) or get some of the fun bunch-o-balloons that fill up all at once with the hose then grab a bat and some bases. Really, nothing is funnier than seeing those explode and soak up the fam! The water gun fights immediately follow, of course! 11. Outdoor art station: This can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish to make it. Hang a white sheet you can part with, or even a painters canvas drop cloth outside and set up a supply table with brushes, sponges, paints, stencils, squirt bottles and whatever other art supplies the kids would like to try. We’ve had hours of fun doing this and once it had dried overnight (make sure you plan for the lawn sprinklers! yeah, long story short) the kids went back the next day and added more paint to their designs! 12. Giant soap bubbles: Kids (and many adults) have such a fascination with bubbles. The large ones can be mesmerizing! To make the super easy bubble “wand”: take two plastic drinking straws and thread that’s about 5-6 times the length of one straw, pull through the straws and tie. I used a super simple recipe to make the bubble solution: 6 c water, 1/2 c blue dawn dish detergent, 1/2 c corn starch, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp glycerin. Dissolve cornstarch in water, stirring well. Carefully add in other ingredients. Stir occasionally as you let it sit for 1 hour. At first, I thought we were not gonna be able to get ANY bubbles, but the more you work with the mixture, the better it gets, don’t give up! 13. Outdoor word game: I just can’t believe we haven’t played this every day of my life with kids! Honestly, do you know what spelling bee champion family we could’ve been if I’d thought of it??? Instructions {here}. Just remember who gave you the idea when your kids are picking up their spelling trophies. Me and Better Homes & Gardens, that’s who. You’re welcome. 14. Glow-in-the-dark bowling night: Two words: glow sticks. This is so easy to make the kids don’t even need us! Grab 10 plastic water bottles and 10 glow sticks. Remove bottle labels, activate the sticks, grab some balls. Turn off the lights and pretend like it’s the heydays of bowling in the late 1970’s and you’re the dancing Kingpins (add a rotating LED color strobe light for the full effect. Par-tay time!) For the record, I am too young to have been bowling in that era, but you can add a side History lesson and show the kids some fun historical pictures of bowling {here}. Because I know you want to. And I just ruined my party girl image with that Bowling History lesson suggestion. It happens a lot. 15. DIY tarp game: This is an easy-to-make ball toss game. I’ve seen several of these made with a Dollar Store blue tarp and they turn out great! Cut out some squares and diamond shapes, tape the edges of the shapes with colorful tape and use sharpies to designate points for each hole. Hang tarp, grab balls and play! (Image source: Pinterest) That’s my best shot. And I’ve had pretty reasonable success with the yuck-free part! I will add that It’s good and beneficial for kids to have the yuck sensory experiences, it’s true. So encourage them and play along like I do with the worms and all other gross-lings I’m handed. Frankly, making them laugh as hard as I do is the best part of it all. My grossed-out self is right there with them, providing entertainment. I think that’s the MOM they will treasure and remember. Enjoy an amazing Summer and please let us know if you do these with your family and what other great ideas you add of your own! This post contains affiliate links. See our Disclosure Policy fro more info. #Summer #Activities #giantbubbles #outdoors #camping #backyardgames #kiddiecarwash #waterballoons

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