Good ol' fashioned summer fun

August 4, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

August is already here. Although it seems to be slipping by, our family has enjoyed some of the old-fashioned summer fun.

We have “hit” a few beaches for fun in the sun and water play. Building sand castles, moats and burying our legs in the sand while taking splashes in the water, didn’t get forgotten this summer either.

Games such as “red light, green light,” “hide and seek,” “spud,” “tag” and a family game of baseball have been on our docket of truly enjoyable family outdoor game play.

Bonfires, s’mores, parades, fireworks, playground hopping and waterplay in many forms have been highlights of the summer fun.

Our sand playground area was the location of large sand castles surrounded by moats and lakes big enough for our 11-year-old and his friends to splash in.

And, of course, water balloons, Slip ‘n Slide play, sprinklers and the good ol’ hose have once again captured our children’s imagination, and mine too.

We are once again taking our son to camp. This time it is a trip to Camp Omega for a guitar camp with three of his buddies.

This year it will be easier to see him go for the week since we know he will be bunking with some people he knows. Our son did meet some neat kids at camp last year, and in fact, continues to e-mail one newfound friend.

During the summer, we also like to indulge in creative and messy play.

How about some cornstarch goo?

Pour some corn starch into a big bowl or tub and mix in small amounts of water. Use your hands to work this weird mixture. The cornstarch and water mixture will harden when you squeeze it, but when you open your hands, it melts down.

Make your own silly putty

Mix two parts glue with one part liquid starch. Gradually pour starch into glue and mix. If mixture is sticky, add more starch. You can add food coloring and/or glitter for fun. Cover and refrigerate to play with later.


Speaking of water play, create your own ocean with a smaller plastic bottle, water, baby oil, blue food coloring and some glitter if you like. Fill the bottle half way with baby oil and fill the rest with water. Add some drops of blue food coloring and glitter, and you have got an ocean.

Fill a spray bottle with water and spray the sidewalk, driveway or yourself with water. Kids love this simple water play.

Line some empty plastic bottles on a porch railing or your steps, etc. and try to knock down with a squirt gun filled with water.

Summer is the perfect time for simple play and lazy days. Enjoy the season before it disappears.

Newberry Medal winners

More Newberry Medal award winners (to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children):

• 1999: “Holes,,” by Louis Sachar

• 1998: “Out of the Dust,” by Karen Hesse

•1997: “The View from Saturday,” by E.L. Konigsburg

• 1996: “The Midwife’s Apprentice,” by Karen Cushman

• 1995: “Walk Two Moons,” by Sharon Creech

• 1994: “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry

• 1993: “Missing May,” by Cynthia Rylant

• 1992: “Shiloh,” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

• 1991: “Maniac Magee,” by Jerry Spinelli

• 1990: “Number the Stars,” by Lois Lowry

Family Information Services, Minneapolis, in its handout, FIS Basic Parenting Focus Issue, Nov. 2002, offered some of these suggestions for some of the best books for toddlers. So grab a blanket, some books and enjoy the lazy days of summer that remain with your children.

• “The Jolly Postman,” Allan and Janet Ahlberg

• “Hug,” Jez Alzborough,

• “The Big Red Barn,” Margaret Wise Brown

• “Mama Do You Love Me?” Barbara Joose

• “Peter’s Chair and Whistle for Willie,” Ezra Jack Keats

• “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” Bill Martin

• “Flossie and the Fox,” Patricia McKissack

• “The Kissing Hand,” Audrey Penn

• “Down By the Bay and Baby Beluga,” Raffi

• “One Duck Stuck,” Phyllis Root

• “Big Red Fire Truck, Little Green Two Truck, and Little Red Plane,” by Ken Wilson-Max