Bottle Roll Bullseye

This open-ended game can be played indoors or out and encourages players to make up their own rules and scoring system.

You will need: An old sheet or an inexpensive white tablecloth (any shape), acrylic paint and a paint brush, recycled water bottles, water, and food coloring or paint
Optional: Chalk or sidewalk paint, paint markers, paper, pencil and a clipboard

Set-Up: Fill recycled water bottles halfway with water and food dye and decorate the outside with paint markers if you like.
Turn the old sheet or white tablecloth into a unique target by painting on it with acrylic paint and allow it to dry. The sheet can be cut into a circle, square or another shape.
Alternately, a target can be drawn on the sidewalk with chalk or sidewalk paint.

Make up a point system.

How to Play: Roll bottles onto the target, one at a time, and keep track of your points on paper.

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Hula Hoop Stop & Go

Here’s a fun family game you can play with a hula hoop and music. There are two ways to play:

Version #1: Multiple Hoops – Give every player a hoop. Put on some music and ask everyone to use the hoop in some fun and safe way while the music is playing. As soon as it stops, players must hold their hoops and freeze in motion. The person still hooping or moving after the music stops is out for the rest of that round.

Version #2: One or Two Hoops – If you only have one or two hoops, players can toss them back and forth to each other while the music is playing. The person holding the hoop when the music stops has to do something fun with it: A little dance, twist it around a body part, jump with it, etc.. The game ends when the players are ready.

Feel free to make up your own rules!

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Ramp ‘N’ Roll

This is a fun game inside or out. Here’s what you’ll need….

Outside Version: A flat plank of wood, a rock or two or a log, a playground ball and a target, such a box or a bucket.

Inside Version: A strong piece of cardboard, books, a ball that can be used indoors (an inflatable ball will work), and a target, such as a laundry basket.

No matter your supplies, make a ramp with the plank of wood or cardboard and use it to get the ball into the target.

Tips and Suggestions

Create a point system for players.

When the game gets too easy, make some changes to keep it interesting:

Change the length of the ramp.

Change the size of the target.

Related Posts:

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Scented Bubbles

Bubbles are great to play with any time of the year, add a scent to them to make them even more fun!

You can make scented bubbles in a variety of ways:

Bubble Base: Make your own bubbles or use commercial.

To make your own, experiment with good dish soap, water, and glycerine or sugar to make bubbles that work well. I have an experimental version here. If you want a recipe, check the resources section at the bottom of that post.

Tip: Water makes a difference. If you have hard water, use purified or distilled water instead.

Scents: Use unsweetened flavored drink mix, food extract, or essential oils.

#1. Use unsweetened flavored drink mixes by adding 1/8 tsp at time until you like the scent. 

#2. Add your favorite extract 1 teaspoon at a time as you mix.

#3. Stir in 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to your bubble solution.

Wands: Use old wands, make your own shapes out of chenille stems, use different sized straws, make paper cones, use your hands, etc.. Make giant bubbles with a length of string and 2 sticks.

Here’s a video showing how to make a giant bubble wand.

I hope you enjoy making and playing with scented bubbles!

Related Posts:

Summertime Fun July, Volume 1

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Hoop Challenge

Today, I’m offering you a challenge that includes any size hoop or ring! 

The object of this challenge is for you to do something creative with one or more hoops or rings. 

Here are the rules for the challenge…

The hoop/ring can be any size.

The hoop/ring can be made from any material: Rope, plastic, tubing, wood, etc.

Play inside or out.

Play so no one gets hurt.

Nothing should get broken that shouldn’t.

Need a little inspiration?

Make up some kind of dance that includes a hoop or many hoops.

Come up with a one of a kind game that includes or feature hoops.

Design an obstacle course that includes a hoop, or several hoops.

Make up an activity for the pool that includes a hoop/ring.

Use a hoop as a goal or target.

Use a hoop as a game piece.

Make up some tricks.

If you would like to learn more about the history of hula hoops and get some ideas for things that can be done with them, check out this post on Funschooling & Recreational Learning.

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Spray Art

Here’s a fun and messy project that’s best done outdoors.

You will need: Water guns or a few small inexpensive spray bottles, *food dye or diluted tempera paint, vinegar, water, cardstock paper or a shirt, clips, strong string, and a sunny day

What to do: Run a string between two trees or objects, clip paper or a shirt to the line, fill bottles or guns with paint or dye and a tablespoon or two of vinegar, and spray the paper or shirts any way you like. Dry them in the sun to allow the color to set.

Cardstock paper can be made into a puzzle, frame or be used to make Eric Carle inspired art.

The shirt can be worn as soon as it dries. The vinegar and sun will help set the colors. Hand wash in salty water and a little detergent.

*Colored drink mixes can be used as well.

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Celebrate Summer!

Summer items by Fran W.

The warm weather is here! It’s a great time to plan a summer celebration! 

Who will you invite?

Whether you’re inviting everyone you know, or keeping it a family-only event, invitations help to set the stage for fun and give everyone something to look forward to!

Make a list of all the people you want to invite, then make and give/send out theme-related invitations.
Remember to write the date, time, and place of the celebration on your invitation, and ask people to RSVP (to let you know if they are planning to attend) by giving them your contact information, which can take the form of an email address and/or a phone number. 
Invite people to the beach, park, your house, or some other place.
Tip: Think about making invitations that are shaped like your favorite summer icon!
Symbols of summer…
What are some of things you think about when you think of summer?
I think about:
The beach, sand, shovel and pail, sand castle, beach balls, sunshine, sunglasses, bathing suits, flip-flops, suntan lotion, a cool drink, ice cream, the ocean, sailboats, watermelon, flowers, butterflies, fireflies, mountains, lakes, camping, cookouts, bonfires, swimming, sports, and so many other things! 

What are some of the things you think of when you think of summer? 
Write or draw a list of your own and use these symbols to help make your invitations, decorate your home, plan activities, and anything else you can think of!
Plan your celebration….
What will you eat and do during your celebration?
Here are some food suggestions:
If you are going to have a cookout, hamburgers and hot dogs are very easy to make, but you may enjoy having ribs, chicken, veggie burgers, or something else.

A beverage such as lemonade, and easy to eat food such as chips, dip, veggies, salads, watermelon, marshmallows and ice cream are also great to have!

You may want to give a fish fry or a clam bake a try!

Think about hosting a Jello eating contest!
Let people know what they can bring along with them when they RSVP!
Here are some activity suggestions:
Swim, have a water balloon toss, play outdoor charades, volley ball, Frisbee, balloon badminton, do a bottle toss or make and blow bubbles!

Tip: Use your, “Symbols of Summer” word list to make a game of outdoor charades!

Your guests may also enjoy having a relay race, a scavenger hunt, or a contest such as hula hooping, or bubble gum blowing.

If it gets dark while your guests are still enjoying themselves, play a game of, “Ghost in the Graveyard“, or catch fireflies!
Have a wonderful summer celebration!


Wikipedia: Offers information about the Knot and a List of Knots.

Focus: How Many Different Types of Knot are there? – Short article.

NetKnots: Rope Knots – Site features easy to follow knot tying illustrations and animated knots for tying over 140 of the best knots.

Outdoor Life: Essential Knots: How to Tie the 20 Knots You Need to Know – Scroll through the selections by clicking on “Next” and “Previous”. Instructions are below the main picture.

Wikipedia: Knot (knot tying), Knot (mathematics), Knot TheoryTopology – A branch of mathematics that deals with the mathematics of knots and the properties of space.


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Knots by Fran W.

The Sounds Around

Do you ever wonder what some of the animal sounds you hear during the day or at night are? Listening to the sounds before hand can help you identify them when you hear them as well. 
Here are some sites to help you out. 
All About Birds: Songs & Calls
eNatureBird Audio
Bug Bytes: Sound Library
Songs of Insects: Beginner’s Guide
Frogs & Toads
All About Frogs: Songs of the Frog
Bats About Town: Bat Sounds
Avisoft Bioacoustics: Bats
Misc. Animal Sounds
Nature Songs: Other Animal Sounds
Avisoft Bioacoustics: Various Animal Sound Recordings
Click on arrow next to ‘Playlist’ to see the title names. 
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When Nature Calls

Nature is calling, can you hear it?

Listen as the birds sing their sweet songs, breath in the wonderful fragrance of the flowers as they bloom bright and beautiful, and watch how full of life the trees are! When we hear nature calling us, we grab our things and go so that we can be part of it all.

What do we do?

We spend the day taking a closer look at what is going on around us by exploring and discovering what nature has to offer! We may take a trip to the ocean, visit a park, preserve or playground, or run right out into our own yard to do this. We never know what is going to inspire us, so we take along our nature backpack, filled with the items we like to use to explore and record our day.

The ‘Natural Curriculum’ Connection

Every activity that we do has educational value built right in to it, naturally. A short list of what some of those educational qualities are is offered for record keeping purposes. Since learning is such a personal thing for each person, please keep in mind that you can never know what is being learned at any given time by an individual.

Here are a few of the things we like to do when we go out:

– Walk and enjoy the day.(P.E./observation/health)

– Listen to and identify the sounds around us. (Auditory/observational skills)

– Find new areas to explore. (Geography/earth science)

– Observe nature by watching insects, birds, dolphins, and other creatures and by looking at flowers, plants, and trees. (Sci – botany, entomology, biology zoology/observation/identification)

– *Collect and examine items like leaves, shells, nuts, seeds, flowers and plants, sticks, rocks, etc.. (Sci – zoology, botany, biology, geology/observation/ Math – comparing, sorting)

– Draw or take pictures of the things we find interesting. (Science/Visual art/Observation)

– Catch butterflies in a net and release them when we are finished viewing them, or just watch them in action. (Sci – zoology, entomology, biology/Observation)

– Check out a bug with a magnifying glass. (Sci – zoology, entomology, biology/Observation)

– Look for animal tracks. (Sci – biology/Observation)

– Learn about what we see by checking our guide books. (LS – reading/research)

– Write about, draw, or video record the things we experience. (LS – writing, documentation, visual media)

– Go fishing. (We take a copy of our state’s regulations with us too.) (Sci – marine biology, physics, earth science/ Math – measurements – length and distance/SS – citizenship [obeying regulations])

– Observe and study the clouds. ( Sci – meteorology –nephology/Observation)

– Observe and talk about the weather. (Sci – meteorology, LS – Communication skills)

Blow bubbles. (Sci – meteorology – air current, physics, chemistry/ Math – geometry)

– Wonder (Critical thinking skills)

*If you are in a preserve, observe only! Do not pick anything up, move or take anything with you other than pictures.

When you walk around outside, it is a good idea to wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and long pants. A hat is good to have too!

Be careful of snakes while you are walking. Learn what to do if you encounter a snake.

Make sure you take water with you when you go out, and drink often.

The Handbook of Nature Study has some helpful hits for doing outdoor studies. 

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If you are looking for something fun and educational to do during Springtime, try a few of the following activities…

Celebrate The Season of Spring: Learn about the Spring equinox and find some fun activities to do.

Bubble Solution – Experiment to find out what ingredients make the biggest and best bubbles.

Bird Eggs – Links to science projects with eggs, make egg salad with a twist, and learn about the anatomy of bird eggs.

Bird Watching Activities – Bring the birds to you by making a bird feeder and bird food and learning how to identify them by shape, sound and color.

Spring/Easter Egg Craft – Make a hinged egg with a surprise inside. Full instructions and printable pattern available for this activity. This creative project is a great storytelling activity for any age.

An Eggcellent Game – Use a recycled egg carton and some plastic eggs to play this fun game.

Nature Backpack – Before your next outing, pack up a few items that will help make exploring nature a little more fun and informative. 

Chocolate – Learn about the history of chocolate, make an old fashioned chocolate egg cream, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bath soap, and chocolate lip balm.

Strawberry Craze – This mini strawberry research project is filled with questions to explore, experiments such as extracting DNA from a strawberry, a recipe for a strawberry breakfast sundae, plus links and videos.

Hula Hoop – Activities that can be done with a hula hoop, a link to the history of hoops, and videos about how to hula hoop and some of the amazing things people can do with them.

Geodes – Learn how to make geodes from alum, sugar, salt, or Borax, and learn how they are formed in nature.

Outdoor Charades – Make being outside a little more fun with a game of outdoor charades.

Bottle Toss – Make a bottle toss game from recycled items.

Bottle Cap Stamps – Make stamps from recycled caps and lids. Suggestions for use and instructions for the game, Code-Breaker included.

Tic-Tac-Toe Game – Make a tic-tac-toe game from recycled items and learn about the history of the game.

Crafts from Recycled Items – Turn egg shells into art, plastic milk jugs into a luminaries, grocery bags into a decorative bags and a shirt into a shoulder bag.

Outside links…

Still Learning Something New puts out a monthly calendar with monthly food themes, birthdays, events, holidays and much more. Check out the April, May, and June calendars for more info.

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Leaf Identification Activities

If you’ve collected a bunch of leaves on your leaf hunt, here are some fun ways to learn how to identify them:

Identify your leaves – The University of Florida has a printable Botany Handbook filled with information about leaves and plants that you may find useful. It also offers a bunch of plant illustrations here. Check your state’s Extension Office website for great resources as well! 
This site may prove helpful when identifying leaves: 
eNature: Trees

Make leaf identification cards

You will need:
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves that have been pressed and acid-free glue

What to do:
Glue each leaf to the blank side of an index card or cardstock, and write down what tree it came from. If you want to write more info about the leaf/tree, do this on the back of the card before gluing the leaf on.

Make leaf print identification cards

You will need: 
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush and food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry the leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids

What to do:
Put a little paint or dye in a lid or a cap, paint the raised side of the leaf with a paint brush, and press it onto the index card. Rinse your leaf off in water and dry it. Write the name of the leaf on the card when the paint dries.
Tip: Markers can be used to make prints too.

Play games with your identification cards

Match Games
  • If you make two identification cards for each of your leaves, you can play a match game with them. If you can see through the card, glue a piece of construction paper behind each one.
  • Consider making one card with a leaf print and the other with the tree name.
  • This game can be played with one or more players.
  • Make 10 or more sets of cards. If you do not have that many leaves, make multiple leaf prints in different colors.

Go Fish Version
Make 15 or more pairs of leaf cards and play with them as you would the game, ‘Go Fish‘. 

Guessing Games

How well do you know your leaves? 

Make 10 or more different cards for the following games.

20 Questions

Play a game of 20 questions with your leaf cards. One player chooses a card but doesn’t tell the other players what it is. Then the players take turns asking yes or no questions to try and guess what leaf it is. After 20 questions (or an agreed on amount), the card can be shown. The player who guesses correctly collects the card, chooses another card from the pile, and the game begins again.

Guess My Leaf

A player chooses a card and describes it to the other players without saying its name. Players take turns trying to guess what leaf is being described. If a player gets it right, they collect the card, and choose a card to start another round. If players need to be shown the card, decide who gets to describe the next card.
Tip: When describing the leaf, players should be allowed to add any information they know about it, and the tree it came from: Where it can be found, the type of leaf it is (if known), how tall the tree can grow, the type of seed it disperses, the technical name for it, etc.

Try This…

When all the leaves have fallen off the tree, use your cards to identify what leaf would grow on that tree.

While the trees are budding, predict what the leaf will look like.

Note: To identify your leaves, you can use the following site to help you out, or ask someone who knows a lot about trees: A knowledgeable neighbor, friend or family member, a local nursery that s
ells trees, an arborist, a horticulturalist, your local Extension Office, etc..

Virginia Tech 
This site has an interactive map of the United States to help you identify the tree you are looking for. Click on your region/state, and put in as much information as you can. Click on any of the tree names provided, and it will take you to a picture that offers some information about that tree. 

Leaf Activities on

Fall Leaves                                          Leaf Hunting

Leaf People & Creatures                    Leaf Prints & Stencils

Colorful Leaf Rubbings

Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves