With kids home for summer break, this is a great time to build some precious memories with fun do-it-yourself projects that the kids will enjoy now, as well as have memories to enjoy forever.
Project #1: Summer Fun Headquarters
Whether in a backyard, patio or bedroom, tents are easy to make and loads of fun. If you have at least six feet of cord, a sheet, and a few heavy objects, you have the makings for a tent.
Tie each end of the cord across a six to eight foot span. It can be stretched between trees or patio supports or, if building indoors, open up a closet, tie one end around the closet rod and stretch the cord to tie off to another sturdy support, such as a bed post.
Once the cord is stretched and tied, throw over the sheet, centering it over the cord. Pull the edges of the sheet out until the tent takes shape, securing edges with heavy objects such as rocks, potted plants, or, if indoors, books.
Project #2: Personal Water Park
With your kids having their own personal water park, they’ll soon be the most popular kids on the block. Supplies for this project can be found in any hardware department. What you’ll need:
- Garden hoses, at least two that are ten feet or longer, but, the more hoses, the more fun
- 2 garden hose end caps
- Water faucet adapter allowing multiple garden hoses to be installed
- Rectangular tarps with a minimal width of three feet. You will need enough tarps to connect and construct a water slide of at least fifteen feet
- Duct tape
- Nylon cord, at least twenty feet in length
- Sharp tool to puncture garden hoses
- Tent stakes
Lay out the tarps, overlapping ends, until you have configured what will be the waterslide. Secure overlapped ends to one another with duct tape. Consider the direction the kids will be sliding so that they slide over the lips of the edges rather than against them. Flip the slide over, duct tape side down. Secure side of slide by hammering tent stakes through tarp grommet rings.
Install multiple hose adapter to water faucet. Attach garden hoses and stretch out along both sides of the water slide. Along the length of hoses edging the slide, puncture tops of garden hoses about every ten to twelve inches. Place end caps on garden hoses. Using cord, secure garden hoses to several tent stakes. Turn on the water and let the fun begin!
The garden hoses can also be staked alongside a sidewalk. Kids can ride their bikes through the water feature. If you have trees with low hanging limbs, you can use leftover cord for another water park feature. Cut remaining cord into three feet sections and tie loops on each end. Toss looped cords over tree limbs, thread one loop through the other and pull to secure. You can thread the garden hoses through the loops and have a carwash type water feature.
Project #3: Critter Bottle
Bugs and other small creatures, like frogs and lizards, fascinate children. Such things are plentiful in the summertime making it the perfect time to build a habitat for kids to temporarily observe their captures. What you will need:
- Empty two liter soda bottle or empty gallon milk jug
- Scissors or knife
- 2 elastic bands or 2 cords long enough to stretch around 2 liter bottle. If using cords, you will need enough length to tie a bow after stretched around bottle or jug
- Duct tape or packing tape
- Fine mesh or window screen, at least 12” x 12”
- Soil, sand, moss, stones of assorted sizes
Using the scissors or knife, cut a 3”x6” window in the center of the soda bottle or the center of the milk jug directly across from the handle.
Create a habitat with the soil, sand, moss, and stones.
Place wire mesh over window and secure one side with tape to create a simple and secure “hinge”.
Elastic bands will be used to stretch around bottle or jug to secure two open sides of mesh window to enclose the captive creatures. Cord can also be used but will need to be tied with a snug bow. You’re now ready to collect and observe.