Ghirlanda d’Estate

28 Jun

The other day I was contemplating what I was going to do to keep my three children happy and busy for their two month summer vacation this year.  It’s always a time of lazing around, reading books, going to the lake, playing with friends and traveling.  But every now and then there’s a lull in the activity and the “Mom, I’m bored” starts.  I’m a strong believer in letting kids get bored because I find it’s really when they come up with the most creative things to do and make but sometimes you can just hear that they are too tired/hot/fed up to come up with something on their own.

So after reading Jen’s (from Classic Play) post on Stay-at-Home Summer Camp I got inspired to come up with some summer activities for those emergency times when the kids are in need of “entertainment”.  I organised six activities and sewed them into little cloth bags and then sewed those all into a garland.  When it’s time to pick an activity it’s really a surprise for them when they cut it open (we’ll cut them on the bottom so we can then save the bunting for another occasion or a similar activity next summer).   I’ve hung it up and it’s ready for when they are in the swing of summer vacation (still a week and half of school to go!).

All activities are for the kids to do together and each one is at least 1-2 hours worth of fun (I hope).  The activities are:

Photography Challenge: I’ve written a card with 10 random words and the kids have to go around and take photos that transmit the words into an image.  I’ve noted that they shouldn’t think too literally about these words and they should “think out of the box”.  I’m sure that will spark a great conversation with the three of them.  I then asked them to print out their 10 photos and make them into a book.  I’m excited to see the result!

Origami Challenge: In this little bag I included a package of miniature origami papers and a list of items they have to fold.  They are all seasoned origami experts but I think it will be a challenge to use the tiny paper and I’ve included at least 2 new shapes that they will have to learn how to do.  In the end they’ll have to present close to 50 origami pieces.

Water Balloons: In this one I tucked in about 45 balloons and told them they have to fill all of them with water, divide them into three piles and then bomb away at each other.  I know this one is going to be a hit.

Wooden Stick Architecture Challenge: For this challenge the kids have to use over 100 long wooden skewers and construct some sort of building (or anything) using the grass as their base.  Since the skewers are pointy on one end this makes it quite easy to stick them in the ground and I think they could end up making something quite spectacular.  I mentioned that they can incorporate ribbons, fabric or any other material into their project.  After it’s done I suggested they write a story about who lives there.

Cooking Challenge: In this one I included two very simple recipes that they have to prepare for the family.  I also included a 5euro note so that they can walk to the local grocery store to buy the ingredients needed.  The recipes are Tomoto Garlic Soup and Homemade Croutons.  They are both things the kids love to eat and easy enough for them to do alone.  They are also asked to set a nice fancy table for when they serve their meal.

Neighbourhood Clean-Up:  I had to include this one.  The streets around here are sometimes littered with trash and I always tell the kids how important it is to keep our environment clean (which is why I can often be seen walking around with pockets full of my kid’s trash).  I included three large white garbage bags and 3 pairs of latex gloves and told them to head out and beautify our street.  This one will definitely confuse the neighbours!

So there you have it.  I’ll keep you posted this summer on the different activities and whether they were a hit or miss.  What are your plans to keep your kids happy and busy this summer?


11 Responses to “Ghirlanda d’Estate”

  1. grammao June 28, 2012 at 17:15 #

    You missed your calling as an excellent elementary teacher.

  2. cilia1 June 28, 2012 at 17:22 #

    ben heel benieuwd naar de resultaten van al die leuke dingen die ze mogen doen

  3. greta eskridge June 28, 2012 at 17:31 #

    Love this! The wooden stick architecture is perfect for my kiddos (a bit younger than yours) and we had our first water balloon fight on our first day of summer. It was a hit!
    They learned how to tie the balloons and then we set up forts to hide behind and had a big war.
    Great fun!
    Thanks for your great ideas.
    Love from,

    • jc July 3, 2012 at 15:25 #

      Yes…one of my goals of the balloon challenge is that the kids learn to tie the balloons themselves. I think they’ll be motivated to learn it just with the promise of being able to bomabard each other with them afterwards.

  4. Jeni Johnson June 28, 2012 at 19:21 #

    I am so envious of your talents… What a great way to teach your children the wonderful ideas that can be shared with their friends and their future children..

  5. Tara June 28, 2012 at 19:51 #

    You are such a great mama!

  6. Morgan June 29, 2012 at 01:16 #

    Thanks for the ideas. My kids are having a hard time adjusting. Its been 10 days already that they have been on vacation, and they don’t know what to do with them selves most of the time, even though I am a firm believer in limiting their screen time, to mostly just the weekends! I do love creative ways to enrich their time, plus reading:)

    • Jillian in Italy July 3, 2012 at 15:28 #

      Yes…I’m a great believer in getting a stack of books for the kids and letting them read the summer away. But as you know there are moments (maybe lots?) that a book just doesn’t cut it. Hopefully these activities will help out a little for those moments!


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