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Monday, July 06, 2009
Maximizing Summer Fun - Games & Craft Ideas for Kids

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By Grace Chen

Almost everyone dreams of summer when braving winter winds. It’s a season of sunshine, filled with outdoor activities and good food. From water games to warm weather crafts, there are several ways to make the most of summertime.

We All Scream for Ice Cream

On a sizzling day, nothing tastes better than homemade ice cream straight from the churn. A delightful blend of milk, cream, and sugar, this frozen confection is the quintessential summertime treat. Although it can be quite simple for an adult to make ice cream using a motored freezer, do-it-yourself ice cream in a bag is an inexpensive, low-tech option for kids. This method requires two zip top plastic bags, ice cream ingredients, and a strong shaking arm. The end result is homemade ice cream in an individual-sized serving bag.

A Real Blow Out

Making balloon animals is a delightful way to entertain children during the summer months. Summer Fun - Making the Most of Summer for KidsBeyond requiring a certain type of balloon, making balloon animals uses no special equipment. A series of twists can produce anything from a simple dog to a more complex sea turtle. A certain amount of skill is involved, but with proper instructions, even a novice can create these whimsical beasts.

Splish Splash

Water activities are central to summertime fun. From the beach to the pool, sun seekers love the water. Swimming games are a great way for children to exercise while having fun. While traditional pool games such as Marco Polo still retain some appeal, there are several other activities for different age groups. Really young children might enjoy trying to catch and toss a beach ball while their hands are greased with sun lotion. Intermediate aged kids can participate in more physical challenges such as a ring or Frisbee toss. Older children might compete in games requiring swimming speed or strength.

Chalk It Up

Children love to draw, and sidewalk chalk allows them to combine that passion with the appeal of the outdoors. Colored chalk allows them to create artistic masterpieces on a large scale. Selecting categories such as fruits or animals to which drawings must adhere can add variety to the activity and make it more interesting for older kids. And clean up is as easy as the nearest water hose or next rainstorm.

Safety First

No matter what summertime activity is being enjoyed, safety should be of primary concern. Plastic bags and latex fragments should be kept away from very small children to minimize the risk of choking or asphyxiation. Ultra-violet rays from the sun can damage skin and lead to skin disease, and the proper level of sunscreen is crucial for all outdoor participants. Adult supervision is a must for water-based activities and other safety rules such as no running on deck, no jumping directly onto other swimmers, and no glass in or around the pool should also be enforced. Finally, if bonfires or fireworks are in use, care should be taken to prevent burns or other injuries.

Armed with a little knowledge and common safety sense, families can enjoy and savor their summer days until the first leaves of autumn drift to the ground.

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