Wednesday, May 22, 2013

8 Out-of-the-Box Summer Activities You've Got to Try

I admit it: I'm a little sad to start putting away the curriculum from this school year. But the days are stretching longer, the sun is beaming and summer is peeking from around the corner.

We've made our bucket list and put the usual summertime activities on it, but why not do something extra silly? If summer is our time to let loose, why not do some out-of-the-box activities that will create wonderfully personal memories? Below are 8 ways to do just that:

1. Host a glow-in-the-dark bowling game.

2. Have a Ice Excavation Day.

We tried this during the year (wish I took pictures!), but it consumed the whole day, was a ton of fun, and brought up so many questions about animals who really fossilized in ice and how to break/melt ice (hint: try salt...).

3. Throw an informal party and invite a clown to your house!


We're pretty lucky to know this clown personally. She's amazing at everything she does, and she's super fun and bubbly. She works in the central valley of California and you can visit her page HERE!

Search your area for clowns and invite one over to wow your guests.

4. Take a hike.

Everyone has some natural beauty around them that has yet to be explored. It's always some state park, river, creek, forest that you've heard about but have actually never been to. Go explore it!

One of our most fun activities last summer was trekking up Mount Diablo. We didn't even go with the intention of learning anything, but we found a quiet little path near the peak with these simple brochures about the trail.

We followed the trail and read the brochure aloud. There were 14 stop points and a little blurb about a specific geologic feature or the flora along the trail. We learned to identify chert, greenstone, and graywacke. We also spied a few reptiles darting under the chapparal.

Not only that, but we had fun, built confidence in climbing huge rocks, and gained a new perspective looking out on the mountaintop.

What natural wonders are waiting for you to explore?

5. Feast on a medieval dinner.

Brush up on your medieval etiquette and ban the silverware! Serve a hearty meal any peasant would love.
While you're chomping on delectables, talk about medieval happenings!

We had a TON of fun when we did this last summer! We got messy, we got full, and we laughed, all while learning a little bit about medieval times.

6. Travel back in time and enjoy a 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s Saturday morning.

This took a fair amount of planning, but our 80s Saturday morning was the BEST morning we had all summer.

Here's how:

1. Find out what was playing on a typical Saturday morning of your chosen decade. Here's a wiki article showing the TV grid for Saturday mornings all the way to 1960. The 50s technically did not have a Saturday morning cartoon lineup, but you can still pull some 50s shows together to watch.

2. Make a playlist on YouTube and add episodes of your chosen shows. Look for 3-part episodes and insert commercials from that decade. If you have an XBOX or another system that allows you to watch YouTube on your TV, you're set. If you don't, play movies from your chosen decade.

3. Pack away any toy that screams modern day. Take out any toys you might still have from that decade (we pulled out all the old Star Wars figures). Visit flea markets and thrift stores to find toys from your decade. 

4. Explicitly choose your breakfast. For 80s Saturday morning, we chose the then-popular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Visit the breakfast timeline to see which cereals were most popular.

5. If you want, purchase other foods from your decade. This food timeline could help you out.

6. Plan an activity after watching cartoons and playing with toys. For our 70s Saturday morning, we went roller skating and played table tennis (with an actual set made from the 70s that we found at the flea market).

7. Talk about your decade, play music from your decade (you can search any decade on Pandora), and have fun!

7. Have a marshmallow fight.

Or a balloon fight. Whatever.

8. Bring a book to life with FOOD!

There are so many wacky cookbooks at the library. Scan the selections and pick something you and your kids would love. Here's a booklist to get you started:

1. The Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook

2. The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook

3. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

4. The Little House Cookbook
5. Roald Dahl's Even More Revolting Recipes
6. Disney's The Magic Kitchen Cookbook

I would love to hear more ideas about having a unique summer! If you have any ideas, please share!

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