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Parents Corner

This is from a booklet I put together for local parents. Summer can be long with young children if you don’t plan ahead. I am sure there are many local places and things to do in your county too. Remember to get together with other families to play and share. Other parents can be a wonderful sounding board and source of support, and your children will love it.

This may give you some ideas of where to start to look.

Places to Go and Things to See This Summer

Airfield at local Airport
Print Shop
University Animal Sciences Dept
University Dairy Farm
Local tree farms and gardens
U Pick fruit farms
Pumpkin Patch
Construction site
Dolphin Shirts
Fire Departments
Tour fast food restaurant
Post office
Lake Park- to feed the ducks
Parks and Recreation; organized events and classes
Pet Stores
Police Departments
Radio and T.V. Stations

Playdough and Goop Recipes

Rainbow Stew

1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
4 cups water

Place mixture in a large saucepan and cook until thick. Divide mixture into 3 parts and put a primary color in a zip lock bag. Your child can mix and change the colors, with In the bag until done.

Cooked Playdough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups water
Several drops of food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture is like a thick lump. Turn out of the pan onto the counter or cutting board and kneed smooth.

Squeeze Bottle Glitter

1/3 cup flour
1/3cup salt
1/3cup water
food coloring or dry tempera paint

Mix flour, salt, and water in a mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add color as desired. Spoon into a squeeze bottle such as a mustard or ketchup bottle. Squeeze the mixture onto heavy paper. The picture will sparkle when dry.

Weird Stuff

3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
food coloring

Mix the ingredients on a cookie sheet or tray. It should appear solid when in the tray or being held and can be formed into a ball but melts away when loose. If the mixture is too thick add water, if to thin add cornstarch . To save allow the mixture to dry in the tray and crumble into a baggie. Add water for reuse.

Finger Paint

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
food coloring

Combine all Ingredients until smooth. Paint on a smooth surface such a freezer paper, plastic, or a smooth easy to clean table.

Clean and Simple Finger Paints

Spray shaving cream on a smooth surface

Mix Ivory Snow and water with an electric mixer

Pour liquid starch, liquid laundry soap and color onto the painting surface.

Put colored finger paint in a zip lock bag and tape the top with duct tape. Your child can move the paint and make designs but there is no mess. If you put 2 or more colors in a bag you can experiment with mixing colors.

Colored Bubbles

1 cup granulated soap or soap powder
1 qt. warm water
food color
plastic straws
paper cups

Dissolve soap in warm water and stir in the food color. Give your child a cup 1/3rd. full of the bubble mixture and a straw to blow through

The Shakaroo

1. Staple about 20 strips, of different colored tissue paper, one inch wide and about 12 inches long to the tube of cardboard found in the inside of waxed paper containers

2. Using a stapler, staple ends of paper to the end of the tube.

3. The result: a colorful, rustling PomPom with a quiet sound!

Music makers

Put a few beans or marbles in an aluminum pie pan. Then place another upside-down over the first pie pan and staple along the edges. Make one for each child. If made out of paper plates the children can decorate them.

Yarn Decorations

Place glue-soaked yarn around a blown up balloon in a decorative pattern. When yarn is thoroughly dry, pop the balloon and paint the "cage" with spray paint.

Other fun ideas

Let a child help make his own card game by selecting pictures from a magazine to be glued onto poster paper pieces or index cards.. Then the children can play matching games, finding similar items such as trucks, trees, animals or just dots.


Mud Balls

peanut butter
chocolate powdered milk
crushed graham crackers
frozen orange juice concentrate
leftovers such as dry cereal
wheat germ or oatmeal

Mix ingredients together and form into small balls. Roll the balls in carob powder or chocolate milk powder.

Travelers' Snack

Equal parts: raisins, nuts, and dry cereal

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and divide into plastic bags to save for later snacks.

No-cook chocolate fudge

3 oz. softened cream cheese
tsp. vanilla
cup nuts
dash of salt
cup cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix well and press into greased pan. Chill. Cut and eat

Fruit Dip

7 oz. Marshmallow cream
8 oz. cream cheese

Cream together until smooth. Serve with strawberries, melon balls, grapes and other fruit

Finger Jell-O

1 envelope unflavored Jell-O
6 oz. box flavored Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Stir together the dry ingredients. Prepare as directed for flavored gelatin. Cut into blocks. as These can be eaten with fingers as they do not melt as fast as regular jello.

Peanut Butter Playdough

2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 cups honey
3 cups powdered milk

Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Give the child a piece the size of a ping pong ball on a piece of wax paper. The child can roll It around and make shapes or just eat it.

Trail Mix

2 cups fish crackers
1 cup dry cereal
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 1/2 cups pretzels
1/4 cup margarine
3 cups pop corn

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together melted margarine and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over cracker mixture. Stir to coat and add pop corn. Spread evenly in a large baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, cool and store in an airtight container.

Large Muscle Activities

Balance Board

Find a long board 2-8 inches wide and 4-8 feet long. Have your child walk, run, walk backwards, take tiny stops, take big steps, walk sideways, or any other challenges you can think of. You may have to demonstrate if your child has not done it before.

Bottle Bowling

Gather 10 large empty bottles such as detergent or soda bottles and a ball about six inches in diameter. Pour sand in the bottoms of the bottles and place them like bowling pins on the grass or a sidewalk. Have your child roll the ball toward the bottles trying to knock them over.


For a game of toss, roll several pair of socks into a ball and fasten them with a rubber band. Line up several pair of shoes and throw the balls into them.

Cardboard Box Play

Provide a large empty cardboard carton for a playhouse. Let the children decorate it with crayons, gluing on old scraps of material or pictures cut out of magazines.

Stepping "Stones"

Put colored paper stepping stones on the floor in a crooked line, some close and some far apart. Let a child walk on them. For greater challenge he can do it while trying to balance an object on his head.

Balloon basketball

Bend the loop of a wire hanger into a circle. Hang it on a doorknob, bending the circle straight out from the door. Stand four feet away and throw a balloon into the loop.

Throw and Catch

Using balls of a variety of sizes have your child throw to you, throw at a wall; catching the balls as they come back to them or s you throw them.

Small Muscle Activities

Search and Cut

Give a child a magazine and suggest several things they might look for to cut out.

Piggy Bank

Help a child make their own piggy bank. Make It from a salt box, using the spout for a snout, spools for legs, and a colorful pipe cleaner for a tall. Make the eyes and mouth with magic marker.

Magazine Stories

For an older sick child at home from school, have them cut words from a magazine and make sentences and stories from them.


For a funny game, color eyes, nose, and mouth on a paper plate. Place two flat buttons on the plate and jiggle It. If the button lands on each eye, score ten points; If on one eye score three points. The score of twenty wins the game. (For older children).


This can allow peaceful coexistence while you entertain

Let the youngsters take sleeping bags and a packed dinner to a camp-in site - the playroom or a bedroom, where they have privacy. They will be content and the parents can entertain their guests in peace. It will remain a special treat for them if the number of times they are allowed to do this is limited.


Create a variety of necklaces by stringing macaroni, colored paper squares, circles, and stars, and pieces of plastic drinking straws. String a variety of buttons (large for safety) on a string for necklace

Finger Paint

Grease a large cake pan and sprinkle with flour. It Is ready for finger painting.


Make a jigsaw puzzle by gluing a large picture on a piece of cardboard. Cut the picture into interesting shapes to make a puzzle. This is especially fun if a real photograph is used.

Refrigerator Drawing

When busy in the kitchen, tape a large piece of butcher paper to the refrigerator door and give your child some felt-tipped pens or magic markers to draw with. This will keep the child busy and creative.


Water play is very entertaining and a summer treat. Let a child stand on a sturdy chair at the sink. Set a pan of water in the sink and give them a funnel, small plastic pitcher, measuring cups and spoons, or bathtub toys to play with. For soap bubbles, give them a plastic drinking straw and a cup filled with a mixture of soap flakes and water. Add a bit of cooking oil and the bubbles will float in the air without breaking. Be sure the child is old enough to blow, not suck,

Carpet Drawing

When stormy weather keeps the children indoors, they can "draw" on the carpet or floor with pieced leftover yarn, and they love it. They can make houses, animals, people, or room length missiles. The best reward is the ease in cleaning up.

Feel Box 1

Using cardboard, mount various different textured objects.

different kinds of materials cut in pieces
furs and feathers
all kinds of paper
all kinds of plastic pieces
different sizes and textures of buttons
Christmas decorations
rubber bands

Feel Box 2

Cover a cardboard box. Cut a hand size hole in one end and have child feel and identify various objects. Fill box with objects that the child can identify or let him match textures from the list above.

Smell Bottles

Collect various uniform bottles. Put cotton in each one with a drop of scent on each. Use extracts, perfume, juice and spices.

Lotto Games

Cut out magazine pictures of uniform size. Mount on boards in 4 columns. The first column will have the object to be matched. The next three columns will have one picture that matches the picture in the first column and two other pictures. The object is for the child to match the two similar pictures.

Rocket Ships:

Make rockets out of a toilet paper roll, with a single egg carton section for a top, and a square of construction paper as a base to which the rocket may be glued. The children can paint these.


Make a Walkie-Talkie out of two juice cans, or similar cans, with a hole in the bottom and about five feet of wire or nylon string held taut. If one child talks and another listens, this really works.

Sound Games

Play guessing games with containers, all the same size, with an object inside. Have the child identify the- object by its sound. Use marbles, bells, seeds, salt, cotton, pebbles, liquids and string.

Simple Puppets

Start with small paper bags folded flat so that the square bottom of the bag overlaps one side. Color the puppet's face using the overlapped area as the puppet's mouth. Anns, ears, and other features can be added to make the puppets more Interesting.

Tissue Paper Designs

On colored construction paper, draw the outline of a simple shape. Cut large sheets of tissue Into small squares and roll into wads. Dip wads Into glue, then press side by side to fill in the outline.

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Last modified: January 26, 2013