Summer camp is cancelled. The library’s summer program is online this year. The pool is closed. What are we going to do with these kids this summer?
I wish so much that I could change the state of the world and forge ahead with a fun, traditional summer. But I can’t. And more than anything else that’s been a bummer through the course of this pandemic, the summer that can’t be is the disappointment that’s hitting me the hardest.
The Summer of Strewing
… What is strewing?
I’m flipping my disappointment around and turning this into the Summer of Strewing. Strewing is an idea floating through the homeschool community that I’ve been meaning to try with intention for a long time now. Strewing means leaving “invitations” to play and create out and about in the way of children – maybe on the coffee table or the kitchen island or the living room floor. Rather than a direction to do something, strewing is a gentle, enticing invitation that leaves the ultimate choices of do or not do and for how long and with how much diligence up to the child.
I’m following a weekly routine to help give me a focus as I come up with an idea each day. Whether we’re talking about strewing ideas, meal planning (Taco Tuesday!), or writing, isn’t it funny how narrowing things down helps open ideas up?
Make Something Monday
Magnetic poetry – Set out a magnetic poetry set like this one and a magnetic cookie sheet. Watch as your kids create lovely, sophisticated poetry. Just kidding. It will probably be about farts, but they’ll be happy.
Kiwi Crate box – My kids made this arcade catapult for our first Making Monday. It’s so nice to have every single part included in the box, and probably the best part is that after the age-appropriate built, the kids have played with their creation all week. They’re also getting in some math practice with the included scoreboard, but I’ll never point that out to them.
Click on this link to get 30% off your first Kiwi Crate box! (This is an affiliate link and I may earn a small commission from your purchase.)
Chalk pastels with a tutorial video at the ready – I like using these non-toxic pastels with my kids. Pro tip: chalk pastels on dark construction paper looks really cool. Here’s a video that demonstrates chalk pastel techniques for beginners in real time to create some apple art.
Watercolor pencils or crayons – These are so cool! Color in your art as you normally would with these colored pencils or crayons and then paint over them with a wet brush. Voila! The art instantly becomes a watercolor. It’s like magic. (P.S. Yes, there are cheaper versions of these out there. I bought some of them. But the cheap ones were garbage that didn’t work.)
Sew a felt stuffie – If your kids are new to sewing, you might start them out with a kit like this. If this isn’t their first sewing rodeo, skip the kit and set out several colors of craft felt, stuffing, embroidery floss, and needles. Add interest with fun add-ons like buttons, rick rack, pom poms, rhinestones and glue, and fabric scraps.
Embroidery floss, tape, and a YouTube video about making friendship bracelets – You know what this generation of kids is missing out on? Friendship bracelets. Set them up with lots of pretty colors of embroidery floss to choose from and a YouTube video (in case you’ve forgotten this skill from your own friendship bracelet days).
Fun paper and a video about making a cootie catcher – Give kids some paper and let them learn this classic kid activity (also called fortune tellers) with your expert help or a YouTube video.
Take a Trip Tuesday
Go for a hike
Visit a creek or pond and see what critters you can spot – In summers past, one of our favorite summer traditions was meeting one of our local park’s rangers at a creek to do an assessment of the creek’s health by collecting and counting crawdads, minnows, and water skimmers.
Go to a drive in
Pick up ice cream or snow cones and eat them outside
Wet sponge fight kit – Sponges are all the fun of water balloons without the fuss of filling or tiny bits of balloon hanging around everywhere in your grass afterward. Fill buckets with water and place them around your yard. Drop sponges like these in the buckets and let the kids have at it.
Car wash kit – Fill a couple of buckets with car wash soap and give everyone a sponge.
Sprinkler and water gun fight kit – The sprinkler never seems to hold my older kids’ interest for very long anymore, so extend the fun with buckets of water around your yard and a water gun for everyone.
Slip and Slide
Find the germiest place in your house with a bacteria growing kit
Grow a crystal star in a jar –
Read about the science of growing borax crystals here.
Then create thispretty project with crystal stars.
Experiment to find out why we use fluoride for our teeth
You’ll need 2 eggs, 3 clear glasses, some white vinegar, and some dental fluoride rinse (like ACT).
- Place one egg in a glass and cover with fluoride rinse. Let the egg soak for 10 minutes. (Do nothing with the second egg in this step.)
- After the egg has soaked in the fluoride rinse for 10 minutes, fill the other two glasses with vinegar (this represents the acid in our food and the bacteria in our mouths).
- Remove the fluoride-soaked egg from the fluoride glass and place it into one of the vinegar glasses. Place the second egg in the other vinegar-filled glass.
- Observe what happens to each egg. This experiment does a great job of demonstrating how fluoride protects the enamel of our teeth.
Watch a documentary – My kids laughed and laughed at Netflix’s Absurd Planet recently.
Learn how to dust for fingerprints with an all-in-one kit
Clay Circuits – I like this kit for helping kids take their understanding of electricity and circuits off the grid, so to speak. This kit contains everything (except batteries) that you need to create the kit’s projects, but then when kids have the principles down, they can bring their own ideas to life.
Ingredients and recipe for chocolate chip cookies
Ingredients for pancakes
Make popsicles – It really helps to have a quality popsicle mold to reduce frustration with this project. We use and love this brand. With a quick run under warm water from the sink, popsicles release easily from the mold.
Ingredients and recipe for oatmeal cookies
Make homemade ice cream
Ice cream sundae bar
Treat at the End of a scavenger hunt