Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer activities

Last week, the kids and I sat down to brainstorm ideas for summer activities. With no school work to keep our mornings busy, we have been having about three hours of extra free time each day. Without a plan, however, it is so easy to fritter that time away. One huge drain on our days is making unnecessary messes out of sheer boredom, and then having to clean them up again. 

 Making candles out of sheets of beeswax

So, my goal has been one activity per day on days that we don't have other outings going on (such as a trip to the library, major shopping trips, dental appointments, etc.).

 From "Arizona Rick" at the library - a perennial favorite of the kids

Our ideas were all the typical, more modest ones, like: have a water balloon fight, costume day, paint with watercolors and have an art contest, make pretzels, have a Lego or Playmobil day, etc. Just stuff that we do not usually take time for during the year, but really nothing new or unique.

Then someone recommended Pinterest to me for finding cool ideas. I had heard of it before, but quickly x-ed out of the screen again because I could feel myself rapidly being sucked into a huge black hole of billions of things I would love to make and do - if only I had the time to.

This time, I just surrendered. And am I ever glad I did! Not only have I found tons of cool ideas, but by already having activities planned in the back of my mind, it is so much easier to pull them off spur of the moment when there is a little window of time. While my fear was that I would either become frustrated at all the things we can't do, or that I would spend too much time on them, it has only made us more efficient. And stopped the kids from tearing the whole house apart, every day.

As I am typing this, the boys are working on a bean mosaic. This is a perfect quiet activity for them while the girls are napping. Typically, Sunday afternoons are the only time they are allowed computer time, but with them going "screen free" for the summer, this was a perfect alternative.

Last week, my husband took the four oldest (all the boys, plus Miriam) camping. Me and the two youngest girls stayed home - I don't like camping when I am not pregnant, much less so when I am about to give birth. 

It was a wonderful opportunity for some one-on-one time with the little girls. Becky is in a phase where she has LOTS of questions about anything and everything. It was funny talking to her all day long. Anna, who does not say much, walks around the house humming tunes much of the day, and she is good enough at it to where it is possible to tell what song she is humming. 

With just the two little ones in the house, Becky and I had time to make a tutu hairbow holder...

.... whip up some cool peppermint playdough....

... try out a new hairdo (of the millions out there) ....

.... bake nutella cupcakes, set off tea bag rockets, make a panda bear mask, and a few other things I don't remember now. As I like to say, if I don't take a picture of it, it's like it never even happened.  

True, these instructions are already all on the web. But by seeing what other friends are "pinning" on Pinterest, I don't have to go searching the entire internet for ideas I didn't even know existed. So cool! It's almost as good as having internet in the first place - what did moms ever do without it???

You can find me here on Pinterest. If you are not on there yet, you really should give it a try.


  1. I like that tutu hair bow holder. I think I'll try to copy it and make one for my granddaughters.

    The braiding looks very cute. Once in awhile my daughter will braid her 8 y.o.'s hair. Her 18 month old doesn't have enough hair even foe a hair bow yet!

  2. When my children were growing up I always enjoyed taking a one-on-one day with one of them to make something or to go somewhere special. I can only imagine the fun you and your girls must have had together, just as the older children were having fun with dad.
    You have a good family.

    --Mrs. Mari

  3. I'll definitely try to find you before the baby makes his appearance (rabbit trail, whilst looking for a guess for your baby's name, I found out an astounding number of people are naming their daughters Bathsheba...)

    I know that you don't let your children watch television, but if there were a particularly interesting event of learning value during the London Olympics, would you let them watch it on your computer or no?

    I'll look for you on pinning! And I must copy that bow holder! What a good gift that would be for some little girls I know!

    Expect a postcard from us any day!

    God bless Dad, the six, and most especially you and the seventh during this time,


  4. I have been "humming and hawing" about Pinterest for MONTHS!! I am afraid that it would be a time sucker for me. I do like to make gifts for my family and I'm sure there would be some great ideas on there...perhaps I'll check it out!

    Lovely hairbow holder! :)

  5. I am now addicted to pinterest after reading this post, just so you know lol. Looks like you guys are havinga fun summer so far. Your kids are very lucky to have a mom who takes so much time to keep them busy and entertained and having FUN!
    -Karen E

  6. Making crafts with children is so much fun! Pinterest is great for that. There are also good blogs with tutorials. Here's someone who has focused on making a lot of crafts by recycled materials: Also check her kid's crafts out: (A few of her crafts are Jewish.) She has something called "Craft schooling Sundays" where crafters from around the world list their craft ideas on her blog:


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