Carsten and Kellan have fun in the kitchen making their very own slime.
Carsten and Kellan have fun in the kitchen making their very own slime.
June 23, 2014



Summer has arrived, and that means kids need things to do. My boys are thoroughly enjoying summertime, and so am I. I don't miss the hurried schedule of the school year and my hectic commute. Instead we are able to relax and make our own schedule each day.

Kellan, 6½, and Carsten, 3½, are busy boys. I try to keep them active and on the go. I really work on limiting their "screen time" which means finding things for them to do at home besides TV and video games. We love picnics at the park and playing in the water at various swimming pools and splash pads around town.

For me summer is all about letting go of the stress of the school year and having fun with my boys. One of the main reasons I became a teacher is summer. I knew I wanted to be a mom, and I knew I would want to spend as much as time as possible with my children.

Avoid boredom this summer by keeping kids engaged. Kids especially love to come up with their own ideas and help in the kitchen. Below are a few ideas for kids and parents to do together.



Glitter Gak

Kellan saw a YouTube video on how to make slime and wanted to try it. We ended up making two different versions. It's a perfect indoor activity for a rainy day.

Gak is a bit more firm than slime. It's jiggly but still moldable. I used Washable Glitter Glue that came in different colors. Kellan and Carsten love playing with their colorful and glittery gak.

1 small bowl

1 large bowl

½ teaspoon measuring spoon

½ cup measuring cup

2 spoons

1 bottle of clear school glue or Washable Glitter Glue (I found glitter glue at pharmacy in the school supply section)

Borax (found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store)

food coloring

glitter (optional)

Pour out all of the glue into the large bowl. Fill the glue bottle with water and add to the glue. If adding food coloring, add 7 drops of food coloring and stir to combine with a spoon. If adding glitter, add now and stir (I saw an online link for "Frozen slime" made with blue food coloring and silver glitter).

Fill the measuring cup with hot water and pour into the small bowl. Add a ½ teaspoon of Borax. Stir with a different spoon until Borax is dissolved. Pour hot water and Borax into large bowl. Stir well, scraping down the sides. It may take quite a little bit of time for Gak to come together. Once it is ready, remove Gak from the bowl and play with it on a table. Store Gak in a plastic bag.



Slippery Slime

This slime is stretchy and slippery. I added seven drops of food coloring, but if you prefer a darker shade, use more.

1 small bowl

1 large bowl

½ teaspoon measuring spoon

½ cup measuring cup

1 bottle of white school glue

Borax

food coloring

glitter (optional)

Pour out all of the glue into the large bowl. Fill the glue bottle with water and add to the glue. If adding food coloring, add 7 drops of food coloring and stir to combine with a spoon. If adding glitter, add now and stir.

Fill the measuring cup with hot water and pour into the small bowl. Add a slightly rounded ½ teaspoon of Borax. Stir with a different spoon until Borax is dissolved. Pour hot water and Borax into large bowl. Stir well, scraping down the sides. The slime will come together quite quickly. Once it is ready, remove slime from the bowl and play with it on a table. Store slime in a plastic bag.



Mini Pizzas

Both of my boys love pizza, but they like different toppings. Mini pizzas are an ideal way to make pizza to please everyone's tastes, and kids love to eat the food they make themselves.

English muffins

pizza sauce

shredded mozzarella cheese

toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, veggies (optional)

Italian seasoning (found near the herbs and spices)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split English muffins and arrange on baking sheet with sides (to avoid pizzas falling overboard). Let kids use a spoon to spread pizza sauce onto English muffins. Give each pizza maker a small bowl of shredded cheese and let them sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on top of sauce. Add toppings and sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cheese is fully melted.



Fruity Kabobs

In order to give kids energy this summer, fill them up with fresh fruit. Kids enjoy making their own kabobs, and they love eating them too. For the younger ones practice the skill of making patterns with their fruit.

any fruit cut into bite-sized pieces (apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, etc.)

berries such as blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

miniature or large marshmallows (optional)

wooden shish kabob sticks

Let children select fruit and marshmallows and spear onto sticks.



Microwave Chocolate Crisp Bars

Keep the kitchen cool this summer with a "no bake" bar recipe. Linda Larsen's chocolate crisp bars are not only indulgent, but easy for kids to make in only 15 minutes. The peanut butter can easily be omitted for those with a peanut allergy.

1 (12 oz) pkg semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1 (10 oz) pkg large marshmallows

1/4 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan

5 cups cocoa-flavored crisp rice cereal

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/3 cup peanut butter

Grease a 13x9 pan with butter and set aside. In large microwave-safe bowl, place a 1/2 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips and microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute. Remove bowl from microwave and add large marshmallows and butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue microwaving for 1-minute intervals, stirring between each interval, until the mixture is melted and smooth.

Stir in the rice cereal until well blended. Then stir in the mini marshmallows and milk chocolate chips just until blended. Using greased fingers spread and press into prepared pan.

In small microwave-safe bowl, combine remaining 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips with the peanut butter. Microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute; remove and stir until smooth, microwaving for 30-second intervals if necessary. Pour melted chocolate over cereal mixture and spread to cover. Let stand until cool then cut into bars.

Makes 48 bars



Summer Bucket List

Summer is too short not to make the most of it. Let kids decide what they want to do this summer. Keep it simple, no need to travel out of town or spend lots of money. Let each child make a list of what they have in mind. Their ideas may surprise you. Family members can then vote on their favorite ideas or select a few from each list. Post your family's summer bucket list where everyone can see it. Kids can make a poster-sized list and check off each activity as it's completed or each activity can be written on a clothespin and pinned around the top of a tin bucket. When an activity is completed drop the pin into the bucket.



Kid-friendly Ideas:

On a clear night spread a blanket in the backyard and stargaze

Set up a lemonade stand

Stay up late and tell stories

Go on an early-morning walk

Organize an indoor or outdoor scavenger or treasure hunt

Gather for a rousing game night

Pack a picnic and head to the park

Let the kids cook dinner one night and make it a routine

Go on a family bike ride

Go fishing at the nearest river or lake

Encourage kids to climb trees

Light a fire and make S'mores