Tuesday, July 31, 2018

20 Fun Ways to Keep Cool with the Kids in the Hot Summer Sun

My boys and I are always looking for fun ways to keep cool in the summer and today we thought we'd round up some of our favorite games, activities, and ideas for keeping cool in the hot summer sun.

1. Play water balloon baseball-- inflate a batch of water balloons and take turns pitching and hitting.  Whether you hit the balls or not you will get wet!

2.  Freeze some favorite characters or toys in ice and have the kids use tools to excavate them out.  You can read all about our superhero rescue here.

3.  Break out the sprinkler!  Around here we can find a sprinkler at Lowe's for under $5!

4.  Invest in a slip and slide-- my kids enjoy using shaving cream with ours. 

5.  Get messy with some water balloon painting-- you can read about how we did that here.

6.  Make some sponge balls and play catch-- Using three sponges for each ball, cut each sponge lengthwise into three long strips so you now have nine.  Gather the strips together and using an elastic band (we used hair ties) cinch them tight in the middle.  You have to "fluff' the sponge strips just a bit and you end up with a wonderful ball. Then dunk them in water and begin playing catch.

7.  Play a game of effervescent antacid tag-- I know it sounds weird but if you tape Alka Seltzer tablets (a.k.a. effervescent antacid tablets) to each child and  arm them with water guns they can have a blast chasing each other around; the last one with any tablet left undissolved is the winner.

8.  Experiment with making homemade ice cream.  You don't need special supplies either; we've made ice cream in a plastic bag (here is our recipe and instructions).

9.  Paint with frozen watercolor ice cubes; we poured liquid watercolors (mixed with just a bit of water) into an ice cube tray and froze them.  I've also seen a similar activity using tempera paints and plain ice cubes.

10.  Make ice tunnels -- It's so easy to do too using water, balloons, salt, and food coloring.

11.  Paint using water guns, water, and water soluble paintThe water and paint do ricochet a bit but my boys didn't seem to mind at all.

12.  Host a water gun race!  We've tried this a few different ways; one time the boys used squirt guns to try and push a car across the driveway and another time we poked a hole in the bottom of a few cups, tied dental floss through each one and set them up in a line across the patio. The boys had to spray the cup to get it to move down the line of dental floss to the end.

13.  If you have enough kids try an empty/full cup relay-- We did this one year with our homeschool group at our field day and it was a huge hit!  Have the Kids stand in two lines; the first person had a full cup of water and everyone behind them had an empty cup.  Slowly, they carefully held the cup over their heads and tried to empty all of their water into the cup of the person behind them. The team with the most water still in the cup at the end of the race won.  This required a lot of communication and teamwork!  

14.  Have a frozen pie eating contest!-- My boys had a great time at another field day with another homeschool group one year and their favorite event was the pie eating contest!  We used slightly thawed frozen custard pies and it worked great! 

15.  Use water balloons or squirt guns in the driveway to practice sight words, math facts, or colors, etc. to keep skills learned during the year fresh while getting cooled off.

16.  Go swimming at the lake, pool, or beach

17.  Have a "car" wash-- My kids often lined up their bikes, play cars, etc. and had a ball cleaning them with soap and water.  You can also have the kids wash play dishes or dolls.  Just fill a large tote with soap, water, and a sponge and let them go to town.

18.  Challenge your kids to make their own pool float-- this was such a fun STEM project and trying the floats out in the end kept them all nice and cool.

19. Have an old fashioned water balloon fight or challenge your kids to a water balloon toss. 

20.  Make your own Popsicles or slushies!  We've just started making Popsicles in our new molds and it's such a delicious way to keep cool.

What's your favorite way to keep cool?

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Monday, July 30, 2018

100 Days of Science #33-- Raising Tadpoles

My boys and I have had so much fun raising a batch of tadpoles this past month.  We brought a baggie full of tadpoles home from one of our hiking trips and set them up in their own little home.  We read up on how to care and feed them and set them up with their own little home.  

We fed them bits of spinach and studied them; how they moved, what color their skin was, how their tails looked, etc.

We kept them in a small see through show bin outside on our patio table so they had lots of fresh air, plenty of shade, and other food sources (like the bug larvae that would get laid in the water).

After just a few sort days we saw a few of the tadpoles sprout back legs.

It took some time but they eventually sprouted front legs too and we could see their bodies getting longer and thinner.  Evan told me he was so glad we did this because he never knew that they went through so many changes or how it would have happened.  

Once we had a few with four legs we decided to graduate them to a bigger habitat with rocks for them to climb up out of the water on too.

We were thrilled to find our first frog!  We could still see tiny bits of tail and we just could not believe how small and tiny these frogs were.

Once they began climbing up the sides of our container we knew it was time to let them go.  We still weren't sure what type of frog they were so we released them at the very edge of the water figuring that way the frogs could decide where they wanted to go. 

See, aren't they tiny?!

Released into the wild 

Honestly, they have been so easy to take care of and it has been so fun watching them that I'm pretty sure we'll be repeating this experiment again next year.  

Have you ever tried growing tadpoles? 

Others in this series:

2.  Field Trip to the Ecotarium 
3.  Learning About Air Molecules

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Classic Macaroni and Tuna Salad Recipe

My all time favorite macaroni salad is one that I grew up with it.  I just assumed everyone made macaroni salad the same way so I was really surprised when my husband informed me that he had never heard of adding tuna to a macaroni salad until he met me.

I just cannot imagine eating my macaroni salad any other way!  I love the crunch of the veggies, the creamy mayonnaise and the summary taste and scent of fish.


1 box macaroni
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise; divided
1 can tuna (I prefer solid white in water but any can will do)
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
salt & pepper to taste

While the pasta is cooking according to package directions on the stove I mix together the mayonnaise, tuna, carrots and celery.

Once the pasta has drained and cooled I add that it and give everything a good stir until the pasta is evenly coated.  I then sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and set it in the refrigerator until it's time to serve.  You can serve it right away but I think it tastes better after all the flavors have had a few hours to meld together.

The pasta does tend to soak up some of mayonnaise so I make sure to check it before serving and add a bit more mayonnaise if I need to.  Usually just one dollop from a spoon is enough and it's ready to serve. 

So is my husband right?  Have any of you ever had macaroni salad with tuna?

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