Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The home stretch

It's just a little over a week until school starts, and your kids have probably hit their boredom threshold.  They're tired of riding bikes, playing with the other kids in the neighborhood, going to the playground, even (with the glorious weather we've had lately) tired of going to the beach.  How to keep the little nippers entertained until the end of August?
Make it Wild! 101 things to make and do outdoors by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield have plenty of ideas for idle hands.  If you would still like to spend some more time at the beach, have them make elaborate pebble patterns, or rows of little stone towers (pg. 21).  Make rafts out of driftwood, feathers and leaves and hold your own regatta (pgs. 56-57).  A trip to Ward Lake can provide the opportunity to make leaf bowls (pgs 140-141), natural mobiles (pgs. 152-153) or leaf art (pgs 26-31). 
Some of the projects are a little more elaborate - smoke decorated pots, tissue paper kites, twig furniture, felt making - but most of them just require a few suggestions and directions to fire up the kids' imagination and they can get immersed in the design themselves.  I do not recommend the balloons that you set on fire, especially with the dry spell we've had lately.  (The authors think that tethering the balloon down with string so it doesn't fly off into the trees sufficient enough caution, but I can't agree with that).
If you don't have time to do these fun activities this summer, don't worry.  Some of the coolest ideas require ice and snow.  The giant snow sculptures dotted with tea lights (you really have to see the photos) are fabulous, as are the ice lanterns and ice windows.  This book is full of creative, artistic fun your kids can experience in the waning days of any school vacation.

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