August is family fun month and it’s the perfect opportunity to try new activities that are fun for the whole family! Here are five suggestions from Rebecca Green, author of Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids that You'll Actually Enjoy. With a little imagination, the possibilities for family fun are endless!
"We are obsessed with squish painting in our home, and it's absolutely one of the most requested art projects from our kids," says Green. Similar to printmaking and spin art, the kids love the element of surprise in making each painting. You can try to plan out a design, but you never really know until after it's been squished what the finished art will look like. In my opinion, the fun process also happens to make some of the most gift-worthy, sophisticated art pieces (especially if you use metallic paint a la Andy Warhol's Rorschach prints.) Whenever we break out this project, our entire living room floor is soon covered in a quilt of squish paintings left out to dry. Once the kids get going, they don't want to stop!"
Sidewalk Chalk Paint
"The kids and I loved doing this art activity when they were very young," says Green. "Perhaps it's because it instantly brings me back to the wonderfulness of summer, but I also think it's because they were so completely engrossed in getting messy with their art projects. It was really something to watch! I'd seen several different recipes for cornstarch sidewalk paint, and I decided to make it a thick consistency and see what the kids would do with it. I made several colors and gave both children small plastic cups of each to avoid competition and complaints of hogging."
Family Obstacle Course
"In the past several years, I've grown to love distance running. I'm not at all built for it, and running long distances usually causes my body to protest," say Green. "But it's often my one chance to be alone, pushing myself, and getting fresh air. So I was hesitant to include the rest of the family. However, we had so much fun doing a family obstacle course together that I had to include it as a recommended outdoor activity. It was really great to see the kids work together and push themselves to try something new that wasn't easy." Here are some activities that might work for you:
- Set up a backyard course using simple outdoor play items, such as hula hoops, skipping ropes, toy bins, and more.
- Introduce water play into the course by adding an inflatable kiddie pool. (You can include a slide too!)
- Head to an outdoor workout circuit at a local park and race each other around the trail, using the circuit stops in the race.
"This project definitely falls under the cool category, because you can sneak some science in without the kids noticing much," says Green. "If they are more advanced in science at this point, you can adapt the experiment up to their knowledge level. This is essentially an experiment about molecular polarity and density using water and oil. Water molecules like to stick together. Oil molecules like to stick together as well. But the two kinds of molecules don’t like to stick to each other."
Visit a Green Space
"Whether you live in the middle of a big city, further out in a suburb, or on a giant rural farm, making time to spend in green space is a must," says Green. "Frankly, with so many different types of green spaces to explore, you have no excuse not to. A park, arboretum, botanical gardens, nature preserve, or simply an open field can all provide a great space for kids."