One of the many great things about summer is being able to play outside in the fresh air and warm sunshine. And in turn, a great thing about playing outside is being able to get dirty!
Take advantage of the outdoors by doing crafts and activities that are messy and hands on. Here are some ideas for you and your children to enjoy outside:
Painting is always fun, but outside it can be done on a much larger scale. Lay out a large piece of paper on the sidewalk or grass — a leftover roll of inexpensive Christmas wrap works well — and let your children paint a mural. Experiment with different brushes and sponges, or let them use their hands and feet to create a masterpiece.
Give your children a large piece of cardboard and a bottle of glue, and then help them gather leaves, pinecones, sand or gravel to make a collage. Let them squeeze the glue onto the cardboard and attach their nature objects in any way they choose.
Take a full roll of toilet paper, tear it into small pieces and put it in a large plastic container. Grate two bars of Ivory Soap into the container as well. Add a small amount of warm water and mix it with your hands. Continue adding water, just a bit at a time, until you get a nice smooth consistency. The more you use it, the smoother it gets, until it starts to resemble Cool Whip. Squish it, shape it, play with it, then rinse it clean.
Put about a cup and a half of cornstarch in a shallow container such as a cake pan. Slowly add half a cup of cold water and mix together with your hands. The mixture alternates from a liquid to a solid when you pick it up, hold it, and let it go again.
Combine two cups of water, one-half a cup of liquid dish soap, and a quarter cup of light corn syrup. Stir it all together until it is well blended. This makes great bubbles, and it will keep for a long time. If you don’t have any bubble wands on hand, try using a slotted spoon, cookie cutters, or a clean plastic fly swatter.
No matter what you do with your children this summer, the important part is the fun you will have together and the memories you will make. Summer flies by quick, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Shawna Munro works at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a facility of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba that offers parenting information and support.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 19, 2012