Rainy Day Fun: Puddle Painting


We have had lots of rain here these past couple weeks.  Many of the storms have been thunderstorms, keeping us indoors, but on the days we could get out, we’ve had lots of fun puddle painting!


Rainy Day Fun: Puddle Painting


Want to try it for yourself?

First you need some puddles, either provided by rain or by the garden hose.

Then, with a bit of sidewalk chalk and creativity… you have all you need for some beautiful puddle painting!

puddle painting -- fun rainy day activity


We have used wet sidewalk chalk to decorate the driveway before, but when you have a layer of water sitting there, the chalk swirls and blends in a beautiful display of color.

The pictures really don’t do it justice.


puddle painting


This simple activity had us busy for over an hour of much needed time outdoors this week.


Do you have a favorite rainy day activity?

I’d love to hear about it!


Like this post?

Check out our other sidewalk chalk ideas!

Nature Study: Going on a Bug Hunt!


Do your kids like bugs as much as mine do?

For this week’s summer nature study, we’re going on a bug hunt!

Nature Study:  Going on a Bug Hunt!


What’s great about this is that you don’t have to go far to go on a bug hunt.  A simple trip around the backyard will provide you with a variety of creepy crawlies to check out and explore, as long as you slow down and really look.

My daughter was thrilled to find these “rainbow beetles” shortly after we started our nature walk.  A quick peek in one of our bug books verified that they are really Japanese Beetles.

My little scientist enjoyed watching these colorful bugs for quite a while.


bug hunt nature study


Our next find was actually right on our back porch.

I loved watching my 6 year-old turn to the picture index in the back of his beetle identification book to locate its name.  I have to say it was a new one to me, but he remembered seeing its picture there before.  Kids have amazing memories!


identifying bugs in bug study


When going on a bug hunt, don’t forget to keep an eye out for evidence that bugs are around!  You might find chewed up leaves on a plant, a mound of dirt from an ant hill, or even an exoskeleton!


cicada found in bug hunt


This cicada exoskeleton led to a whole discussion of how many insects molt and change over time as they grow.  We even had to stop exploring for just a bit to find some pictures online of a cicada molting. That’s the great part of a nature study — there are always more questions that come up and you get to discover those answers together.  Sometimes those questions lead to a mini unit for us in homeschool.


Finally, we found several of these brown beetles during our bug hunt; they are my son’s favorites.

beetle in bug study


After using our magnifying glasses to get a closer look, counting their legs (6) and reviewing their body parts, he decided he had to keep a couple overnight as “pets.”

My kids are always keeping bugs as pets for short periods of time.  They used to get my good storage containers out to do so, which always made me so happy.  (Note the sarcasm in that statement.)  I have finally come up with a solution:  I poked holes in lids of several old, clear, plastic Ziplock containers.  I wrote “bugs” on the sides with permanent marker and stuck them in the lower kitchen drawer next to the good containers.  Now they grab these to use for bug homes instead.

Looking for a different alternative?  Amazon has tons of bug houses for your nature explorer to use, some even come with their own magnifying glasses.


Other items that you may want to take on your bug hunt:


Liked this post?

Check out our previous  Nature Study posts!



Shark Party Games


This past May we had a shark-themed birthday party for my son.  These shark party games would be perfect at a birthday party or for family fun during Shark Week. 


shark party games:  perfect for Shark Week or a shark birthday party


The first game we played was “Feed the Shark.”

I created this simple ball toss game with a large piece of cardboard.  (Want to see more detailed directions on how to make your own cardboard ball toss?  Check out our Feed the Monster game.)

To feed our shark I taped tissue paper tails to some pretend snowballs we have to make fish.  (I like to go with the idea that simple is best!)  You could also use plastic ball pit balls if you have some on hand, or just borrow a few rolled up pairs of socks.

simple shark ball toss game


The kids had fun tossing fish into the shark’s mouth.


"Feed the Shark" party game


And afterwards it made a fun picture opportunity!  (Perfect to print out and hand to party guests as a fun souvenir.)

kids shark party idea


Another very simple party game we played was “keep the shark away.”

I used a permanent marker to draw shark faces on blue balloons.  The kids had fun keeping the balloons in the air, not letting them touch their bodies, using pool noodles I had cut into pieces.

"Keep the shark away" party game


Next, a board we had out in the barn became a fun plank for our “Walk the Plank” game.

To give it a shark twist, I cut a piece off our blue plastic tablecloth and put it under the plank as water.  Then I made some shark fins.

shark party game:  walk the plank


Finally, we had fun saving the sharks and other sea animals in the Save the Sea Animals game I posted about earlier.

Save the sharks!  kids shark party game



There you have it, simple and fun shark-themed party games, just in time for Shark Week!

20 Ways for Kids to Stay Cool with Ice


Looking for ways to beat the heat this summer?

Here are 20 fun ways for kids to stay cool while playing with ice!


20 Ways for Kids to Stay Cool with Ice

(Clicking on the blue words below will take you to directions for that activity.)

Fun Ice Activities:

Have a dinosaur fan?  Set up this simple icy dino dig!

With a few plastic sea animals you can set up this fun frozen ocean animals rescue.

This ice excavation combines learning with a tasty treat!

Grab your penguins and have fun with this ice sensory play that is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

These rainbow ice balls make a colorful sensory bin, or toss a few in the kiddie pool for some added fun!

Toddlers will love playing with water and colored ice.

Make your own ice boats and have a race!

Get messy while staying cool with this goop and ice sensory activity.


Colorful Ice Art:

Decorate the driveway with beautiful ice chalk!

Try this colored ice painting activity and watch what happens as colors swirl and blend together.

For even brighter colors, paint with frozen poster paints!

Make and paint your own frozen rocks; these were done in the winter, but you could also make them in the freezer.


Icy Science Activities:

Mix a little science into your fun and go fishing for ice!

How about a little fizz action?  These ice volcanoes are a fun twist to an old favorite.

Impress the kids and turn water into ice with the touch of a finger!

Or, try freezing different liquids and seeing how they differ as ice.


And, for all those Frozen fans out there…

Frozen-Inspired Ice Activities:

Have fun with this “Melt a Frozen Heart” activity!

This Frozen-inspired sensory play adds a touch of glitter to the frozen fun.

Create your very own Olaf sensory bin.

And this Frozen fractals ice sculpture activity looks like fun for kids of all ages.


Bonus:  Don’t forget your furry family members!  These peanut butter pupsicles will help cool Fido off this summer.

20 ways for kids to play with ice



How are you staying cool this summer?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


And, if you are looking for more ways to stay cool with the kids this summer, check out our 15 Ways to Play with Water!

staying cool during summer



Looking for fun ice molds for some of these play ideas?