By Jennifer Halter
It’s June and that means the summer season officially kicks off this month! Longer, warmer days offer the
opportunity to spend more time outdoors, whether it’s exploring or simply relaxing. Here are five ideas to
create a fun space in your own backyard!
Tin Can Bowling
This is a great activity to tap into the spirit of recycling! You will need 10 cans that have been washed and
have had the labels removed. For safety, be sure to supervise this activity due to the sharp edges of the
cans. To protect curious fingers from getting cut, you can cover the edges of the can with a strong tape, such as duct tape. Once the cans have been cleaned, get the family involved with painting and decorating them! Get creative with paint colors and embellishments. When everyone has completed their masterpieces, simply stack the cans in a pyramid formation, grab a ball and let the good times roll!
Pool Noodle Ring Toss
For this activity, you will need two standard pool noodles. (You can grab these from the dollar store.) Cut
them each in half. Use two of the halves to create the rings and the other two will be your pegs. To create the rings, bend the noodle into a circle and use duct tape to connect the ends. For the pegs, you will need two pencils pushed at least one inch into the ground and approximately one foot apart from each other. Put the remaining pool noodle halves on the pencils through the hole, one on each pencil. Have players stand a distance apart from the pegs and take turns tossing the rings onto the pegs.
This is another inexpensive activity where all supplies can be purchased from a dollar store, and it will make for a fun time on a summer’s night. You will need standard size bottles of bubbles, glowsticks (approximately five to six per bottle of bubbles), scissors and protective gloves. To begin, open your bottle of bubbles. Select five to six glowsticks of the same color. If you want a brighter, more vibrant color, use more glow sticks. While wearing protective gloves, snip the end of each stick and squeeze the liquid into the bottle of bubbles. Please note that since the glowsticks do contain chemicals, only adults should be handling them once they have been snipped open. Replace the lid on the bubble bottle and shake gently to combine the liquids.
Blow bubbles just as you normally would and watch them glow! The bubbles will glow for approximately 10
to 15 minutes, so you may want to have several extra glowsticks on hand to extend the fun. You can also add a small amount of glow-in-the-dark paint to the bubbles for an added effect.
Stargazing in Style
On a clear night, there’s nothing more beautiful than staring up at the starry sky. You can always do this by
laying on a blanket, but to make things a bit comfier, try an inflatable pool (without water of course). Using an inflated two-ring kiddie pool, place soft blankets, pillows and stuffed animals inside to create a cozy outdoor bed.
Have each member of the family talk about what they see. You can even use this as a time to share your favorite stories to make the transition to bedtime a bit easier.
You don’t have to go far to have a night of camping fun! If you have a tent, set it up in your backyard. No
tent? No problem! You can always partake in the fun activities, but plan to sleep inside. If you have the space to safely build a campfire or if you have a firepit, use it to cook hotdogs or make s’mores. If you don’t have the ability to cook outside, you can always have a backyard dinner picnic instead. Use this fun family time to tell stories, sing songs and play games (including those listed above). Use flashlights to explore the yard at night or even play flashlight tag.
Depending on the time of day, be sure to wear sunscreen or bug spray to stay protected. Sunburn
and mosquitoes can quickly put a damper on your fun! Most importantly, enjoy the beginning of sweet
Jennifer Halter is publisher of Macaroni Kid Woodbridge and Macaroni Kid Gainesville/Manassas