American Flag Suncatcher – 4th of July Craft

american flag suncatcher 4th of julyI keep getting reminders about my town’s 4th of July Fun Run so today I decided it was time to dust of the red, white, and blue craft supplies and get busy. I have too many craft supplies in my house and this giant 4th of July American Flag Suncatcher did a great job of using up odds and ends and turning them into something amazing!  I think this flag is amazing. My kids are 5 ( today!) and 8 and they loved this but even toddlers will love this 4th of July craft.

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, some washi tape or painter’s tape, some markers, and a BUNCH of fun red white and blue collage materials. We have sparkly foam, popsicle sticks, pom poms, foam hearts, paper circles, and more. 4th of july craft for kids

Peel the backing off the contact paper and tape it to the wall / window sticky side out.  Draw an outline of the flag on the sticky side of the  if needed. Pop the tray full of collage materials next to the contact paper. 4th of july sticky window art project

Start creating! Untitlesticky window 4th of july activity

It started slowly but then bam it really started looking amazing! 4th of july sticky wall 4th of july giant suncatcher

I even got the big guy in on the fun! 4th of july sun catcher craft

All done! american flag sun catcher craft for 4th of july

99 TV Free Summer Activities For Kids

99 TV FREE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS My kids watch too much TV. Technically it’s Netflix on the iPad but it’s the same problem. Working from home during the summer is a tricky place for many parents, myself included, we need to get stuff done, but we can only use screens so much each day, and hopefully none at all some days. I needed a cheat sheet for SIMPLE activities I can set up or gather the materials for in a pinch. I need things that I can have my kids do while I take a quick business call, things we can squeak in after a trip to the beach, or after dinner when it’s still light out. I don’t ban screens at all, but I don’t want school being out to be used as an excuse for MORE TV. These 99 TV Free Summer Activities are a huge mix of outdoor, indoor, quiet and boisterous play ideas. I hope you find something your kids LOVE.

playdough bug fossils

 

Add Fun Things To Regular Play Doh
Alphabet Slime
Backyard Safari
Backyard Target Practice
Bake Cookies
Become A Code Breaker
Become A Paleontologist

color science for kids
Become Color Scientists
Birdwatch
Blow ( and catch) Some Bubbles
Build with Loose Parts
Catch Fireflies

Shell Sorting
Collect and Sort Shells
Connect The Dots
Cook In The Sink
Dance Party
Decorate Your Driveway with Sidewalk Chalk
Do A Little Kitchen Science
Do A Word Search
Draw with the help of some catalogs
Driveway Graffiti

sand with water in water table
Explore with A Water Table
Find Your Way Around A Maze
Flag Hunt
Go For A Bike Ride
Go On A Book Hunt
Go On A Sound Safari

art for kids
Go To An Art Museum ( click for tips)
Go To The Library
Go To The Playground
Go To The Pool
Go To The Zoo
Have An Art Show
Have a Toy Car Wash

five senses taste test activity
Have An Ice Cream Taste Test
Hex Bug Races
Hose Down Letters & Numbers
Hunt For Bugs
Hunt For Colors Outside
Lego Challenge
Make A Bird Bath
Make A Marshmallow Shooter

summer reading ideas
Make an Outdoor Book Nook
Make Cloud Dough
Make Flower Place Mats
Make Mud Soup

ocean themed crafts
Make Paperbag Jelly Fish
Make Some Bracelets
Make Some Muck
Make Some Princess Slime
Make Superhero Cuffs
Make Uncle Sam
Make Your Own Obstacle Course

sun melted recycled crayons 1
Melt Some Crayons In The Sun
Mix Colors With Play Clay
Nerf Gun Math
Outdoor Sight Word Hunt

jackson pollock style painting for toddlers
Paint Like Jackson Pollack
Paint Like Monet
Paint with Broccoli
Paint with Bugs

simple super crafts painting with nature
Paint with Flowers and Rocks
Paint with Fly Swatters
Paint With Trains
Paint with Water
Paper Plate Butterflies
Play Angry Birds – in real life!
Play Cards
Play Catch
Play Candyland

spelling game with connect four
Play Connect Four
Play Dominoes
Play Hide & Seek
Play I Spy
Play In The Arctic
Play Rhyming Tag
Play “Usual” Tag

rhyming board game FREE printable
Play This Game ( Print it out for free! )
Play With Lego
Play with Paper Dolls
Play with Play-Doh

outside learning
Play with Water Balloons
Pretend Play Camping
Print Out Our Summer Reading Bucket List and Read!
Read A Banned Book
Read & Draw Picnic
Read In A Blanket Fort
Run Through A Sprinkler
Shaving Cream Fireworks!

bubble bin sensory play
Stir Up Some Bubbles!
Trim Your Grass with Scissors
Twizzler Necklaces
Use a squirt gun for some science!
Use Kitchen Whisks To Make Bubbles
Use Sidewalk Chalk To Play With Letters
Walk Your Dog ( or your neighbor’s dog )

washi tape craft for kids
Washi Tape Lego!
Watch a movie and make a matching craft
Water Fight!

tv free activities for kids

Shoot & Splash – Outside Activity For Kids

summer outside activity I was that mom who had NO plans to allow my children to ever play with toy guns. I’d been a teacher and it was easy to say ” No guns at school.” It’s harder to say it at home, not because I don’t have resolve, but it was clear that when I said ” No guns are bad.” he was hearing ” No, and you should be ashamed for asking.”  Pretend play isn’t real. I Lay down ground rules and stick to them. For my family, that means only shooting outside.

One of the things I like to do with my kids and their Nerf blasters is target practice, it is a great outside activity. Not so they are more accurate when we have battles in the backyard but because it’s a wonderful exercise in concentration.

I provided my son with the materials and he set up the activity. Here is what he did, and how you can do it too.

Gather your materials. You will need some lightweight plastic containers, some pylons ( little traffic cones), some water, and a loaded Nerf type blaster.nerf gun target practice

Pour the water into the plastic containers.nerf target practice summer activity

Balance them on the cones. This took concentration too! target practice in the backyard

Step back and take aim! I loved how carefully he was aiming and the adjustments he made when he missed.nerf gun water activity for kids

Shoot the water off and watch it splash!water activities for kids

After all the targets are hit, refill and take aim.

BOOV Passwords – FREE Secret Code Printable

FREE printable secret code activity inspired by the movie HOME! Perfect for a birthday party of family movie night!Have your seen the movie HOME ? My kids LOVED it when we watched it over spring break. Like all resourceful parents, I decided to use that love to get my son to do something he’s not totally in love with – handwriting. Every little bit of practice helps and it’s even better when it doesn’t feel like practice at all! In the movie saving the world depends on the BOOV ( the aliens) hacking into one of their citizen’s email accounts. I decided to go with the hacking theme because it fit so well with the movie and it appeals to an 8 year old who does not want to be doing “Baby activities for the blog, only cool stuff OK mom?” <— not a direct quote but you get the idea.

I plan on printing this activity out again after the movie is released on DVD ( this summer) and we watch it for family movie night!

This FREE secret code printable was a hit, but it was challenging too! This would be perfect for a HOME themed birthday party too!

To print out click on the image below, save to your computer, and then print.

hack the passwords

Gather your materials. You will need the printable ( see above) and a pencil with a great eraser.

 

Print out and invite your future hacker to the table. HOME inspired secret code FREE printable

It wasn’t SUPER easy, but even little little ones can do it with help.

writing passwords

All done!

password HOME inspired free printable

Finding simple little ways to work literacy into play time with your school age kids is a great way to brush up on skills without adding pressure to their already busy lives. This is a great rainy day, sick day, or family movie night activity, and according to my son it passed the cool test!

 

Find more ideas for school age kids here –>   FUN FOR SCHOOL AGE KIDS on PINTEREST oh and here –>  LEARNING AFTER SCHOOL

 

Summer Reading Calendars – FREE PRINTABLES

summer reading calendar

Summer reading is vital. Children can lose many of the literacy gains they have made over the year at school when they aren’t reading daily. Just because reading is something they MUST do doesn’t have to mean it has to be boring or feel like a chore. These free printable summer reading calendars keep summer reading fresh and fun from June 1st- August 31st!

Each day has a reading prompt, some are themes to read about, some are locations to sit and read, and some are other related activities. All are fun!

summer reading calendar

Summer reading isn’t just for “big” kids. Summer reading should be for all kids including picture book readers. These summer reading calendars are geared towards children reading picture books but could easily be used for any child at any level.  For very young children choose picture books and follow the calendar day by day. For older children reading longer books that might have too many pages to read in one day pick and choose 15 – 20 days to follow each month. Print these calendars out and use stickers to mark each day complete!

Print the calendars out here. Click on the link under the image.

june calendar image

 

June

july calendar image

July

august calendar image

August

 

If you want to have even MORE fun this summer with reading check out our popular Summer Reading Bucket List  <— click on the link for a plain text list of what’s on this super rad reading bucket list!

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