For Summer 2014, I'll have a nine year old, a six year old, and a pair of one year olds running around this place. I created this guide for myself more than anything else, so I've included activities and recipes that reflect our sorta crunchy family principles: simple, low-cost activities that place a high premium on encouraging kids to live creatively, and recipes that are whole-foods based and actively promote good health!
This guide is all about fun OUTDOORS! Need something to fill a rainy or too-hot day? Check out the INDOOR EDITION!
photo by D. Sharon Pruitt
1. While the sun is shining, go outside and make an outdoor lantern to light up the summer night! (Inhabitots)
2. Making bubbles is a classic summer thing to do outdoors. Here's a recipe for a non-toxic solution from Food Your Body Will Thank You For.
3. Sidewalk chalk is another classic outdoor favorite. Make your own with these instructions for DIY sidewalk chalk at Playful Learning!
4. Or go extreme and make frozen popsicle chalk like Reading Confetti.
5. All you need is an empty pop bottle, a corn-cob holder, some duct tape, and a hose to DIY a backyard sprinkler! Rebekah shows you how in this video from Simply Rebekah.
6. And don't miss this Water Play Busy Bag and Pool Fun idea from her as well!
7. My sister-in-law sent this link to me, and I am both curious and terrified: How to Make a Giant Outdoor Water Bed (My Frugal Adventures)
8. Turning kids loose with water balloons in a play pool is more our speed. (Learn~Play~Imagine)
9. Older kids might like to learn how to make Origami Water Bombs (Eden Project).
photo by Austin Kirk
10. Sensory bins are always fun to do outside, and no better time than summer to do a Garden Sensory Bin! (Mess for Less)
11. Also from Mess for Less: Squirt Bottle Painting!
12. Shaving Cream + Ice Paint = sensory fun at Growing a Jeweled Rose.
13. This is a year-round favorite for my girls: Nature Art (Preschool Powol Packets)
14. Summer might be a great time to take up a new hobby as a family. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama's 10 Hobbies for Families with Young Children.
15. We use our zoo membership so often that we've gotten more than our money's worth with it! Andrea of The Greenbacks Gal has a fun Zoo Scavenger Hunt for kids.
17. Adapt the scavenger hunt for your littlest ones by making a Find-A-Fish hunt in your backyard (Everyday Family).
18. At some point in the summer, if you are truly brave, you'll want to throw A Messy Party! Kitchen Stewardship has everything you could ever need to know for this one!
19. If you are lucky enough to hit the beach, don't forget Nate and Rachel's 35 Free Things to do at the beach with toddlers and young kids.
20. But honestly, sometimes you just need the simple path, and for that, don't mis 10 Creative Ways to Get Outside at Abundant Mama.
Are you following my creative family living board on Pinterest? I pin new ideas there every day to inspire your family toward creative living!
photo by D Sharon Pruitt
It's never a bad idea to have snacks close at hand throughout the summer. With some planning and just a little time in the kitchen, you can whip up some healthy snacks filled with nutrients to keep your crew going strong!
1. Easy Strawberry Fruit Snacks, Raia's Recipes
2. Kids LOVE to eat what they've helped grow! Ideas abound at BrownThumbMama with Vegetables and Fruits Kids Love to Eat (and grow)
3. A sneaky secret ingredient makes these popsicles filled with healthy fats a great, guilt-free treat for the family: Homemade Fudgesicles (Recipes to Nourish)
4. And coconut milk makes the perfect base for these homemade popsicle recipes at Hybrid Rasta Mama
5. Finally, Kitchen Stewardship's Healthy Snacks to Go e-book is FILLED (!) with snack ideas that are perfect for packing along to the lake, to summer camp, to the playground, or wherever the summer days take you!
7. Use your favorite whole foods pizza crust and go to town with a Grilled Veggie Pizza (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)
8. Save Money and Stay Cool with 7 Meals for Leftover Grilled Chicken :: Simply Rebekah
9. BBQ Ribs with Blackberry Sauce :: Living Locurto
10. Cajun Turkey Burgers :: Love Well
11. Clams and corn on the grill :: Learning and Yearning
12. Rosemary Buttermilk Ranch Chicken Skewers :: Mom on Timeout
Even though we usually think of using our slow cookers for hot, hearty meals in the midst of cold weather, it can also be a lifesaver in the summer when plans take you away from the house all day, or you just want to play in the backyard with your kids and not fuss with meal preparation! Here are some ways so you can do just that:
13. 3 Simple Crockpot Recipes :: Simply Rebekah
14. Slow cooker pulled pork :: Economics of Kale
16. 45 Summer Slow Cooker Recipes :: The Thriftiness Miss (I haven't checked each recipe for whole-food compatibility, but that collection would be a great starting point on crock-pot ideas that you could always adjust for your family's preference!)
Sometimes, you just need to pop in the kitchen and pop back out with the fastest, healthiest dinner you can throw together for your hungry crowd. Here are some quick eating ideas:
17. Citrus Kaleslaw :: Economies of Kale
18. Simple, Italian-Inspired Summer Salad :: FriedOkra
19. 50 Healthy Summer Salads :: taste love & nourish
20. What to Eat When You Are Too Busy to Think :: Kitchen Stewardship
21. 84 Quick and Healthy Meals in Minutes :: SparkPeople
22. And sometimes outdoor fun means a trip away from home. Check out Fast & Easy Vacation Meal Planning from Simply Rebekah to be inspired to meal plan your vacation meals!
Finally, days spent outdoors call for lots and lots of liquid hydration! We drink water almost exclusively in our house, but I'm sure we'll indulge in quite a few of these sweet summer drinks:
23. Don't think I won't start more than a few mornings with Fresh Mint Iced Coffee (How Sweet Eats)
24. It's incredibly important to keep the family hydrated in the heat. Hybrid Rasta Mama can fill you in on two easy, natural dehydration aids.
25. Must try this Never Bitter Homemade Sun Tea recipe from The Greenbacks Gal!
26. Stacy of A Delightful Home adds a fresh twist to tea with this recipe for Sun Tea with Fresh Herbs at Frugal Granola
27. For a raw-vegan spin on summer drinks, check out jar o' honey's blueberry sweet tea.
28. For a twist on lemonade that's good for your whole body, check out Bubbly Probiotic Lemonade from Learning and Yearning
29. Or go a little simpler with Homemade Honey Sweetened Lemonade from Red and Honey
30. And when dusk rolls around, light up your outdoor lanterns and pass around the summer sangria from Recipes to Nourish (non-alcoholic substitution included).
Check out these resources to fuel even more ideas for outdoor summer fun!
17 Free or Frugal Summer Activities for Kids, The Humbled Homemaker
2014 Summer Activities Calendar, The Benson Street
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