Summer is a time for adventure. Children especially enjoy doing new and creative things during the summer. My goal for this page is to provide activities that will bring enjoyment to your family’s summer.
Our family recently went to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The children had a great time learning about the trees that had turned to stone thousands of years ago. We purchased each child his/her own National Park Passport. Each time we visit a National Park, National Historic Site, or National Monument they will get to have their passports stamped with the date and name of the location. They were very excited to get their’s stamped.
We also bought an Annual National Park Pass which we felt was a great investment. We then went to the Grand Canyon. The children had their passports stamped when we arrived at the Visitor’s Center. We had a picnic and went to look out over the Grand Canyon. They were in awe of the vastness of it. We plan to go back many more times.
Many of the National Parks such as the grand canyon have “Junior Ranger” programs for children. When your family visits a park be sure to ask about it. Your child completes a few activites to help the environment and can then be presented with a certificate and patch.
To learn more about how you can use the National Parks as an educational tool visit the Parks as Classrooms website.
So, I hope that you will have “Fun in the Sun” this summer and create memories to last a lifetime!
Summer Fun Activities
National Parks to Visit:
These are parks that we have either visited or plan to visit this summer. The National Park Service does a tremdous job maintaining these sites for our enjoyment. Remember to help preserve these parks by not trampling and not taking pieces of our history. For instance, much of the petrified wood at the Petrified Forest in Arizona has been stolen over the last century. Leave it the way you found it so the next person can enjoy it too!
- Summer Scrapbook – Help your child create a Travel Journal or Summer Scrapbook. Include trips to state parks, national parks, vacations, trips to visit relatives, etc. Encourage your child to record special moments with words as well as pictures. Your child may even want to draw a picture about something your family did over the summer. If he or she went to summer camp include letters he/she received, names and addresses of friends he/she met, activities they did, pictures, favorite meal, favorite activity, least favorite food, funniest moment, etc.
Our son is going to camp later this summer and he has a small journal to take with him so he can record these things while he is there. Summer camp is a great experience for most kids. He had a blast last summer!
If you would like to take a look at the camp he is going to click here: Pine Springs Ranch
- Build a Volcano – Make a paper mache volcano out of an old bottle, masking tape, and newspaper. Paint green and brown after it dries. To make the volcano explode pour 1 cup of vinegar into the bottle and add red food coloring. When ready for the “explosion” add 4 Tbl. of baking soda. Stand back and watch!
- Play Dough – Mix 1 cup salt, 1 1/4 cup water, and 3 cups of flour. Store in fridge when not using. You can add paste food coloring to make rich colors or create a scupture and paint after alowing to dry. To speed drying, place the dough art in a warm oven. Be sure to not let it scorch!
- Slime – Mix 1 part white glue and 1 part liquid starch. Let stand for a few minutes. Knead mixture until it becomes amazingly goopey.
- Paper Mache Recipe – Mix 1 part flour with 2 parts water until thick like glue. Add a little salt to retard mold.
- Wave Maker – Fill old plastic soda bottle half way with water. Add blue food coloring. Fill til almost full with vegetable oil. Glue cap in place to ensure no leaks. Gently move bottle to make waves. If you shake it, the oil may become cloudy.
- Summer Picnics
Our family loves to take picnics. In fact, rather than eating out while vacationing, we usually purchase salads and fruits and sandwich stuffs at the grocery store.
- Fun Science – Why doesn’t the acid in your stomach burn through? Find out why at this website: Mucus
Another idea for fun during anytime of the year is visiting Old Ghost Towns. We have many ghost towns in our area and have visited several. We are planning a day trip to Calico, CA. Oatman, AZ is just down the road from us and you can watch bank robbers shoot out in the streets. The history is fascinating!
For some great craft ideas check out: