Nothing says summer like ice cream (just ask the girl who runs the ice cream shop in our 'hood - she knows my face well). So this week, our activity is to make some homemade ice cream...and I mean having the kids make it. Here's the scoop:
2 x Ziploc bags (1 small 1 big)
1 cup of half & half cream
2 tbsp of white sugar
Splash of vanilla
1/2 cup of salt (kosher, rock salt or regular ol' table salt)
Yield: 2 scoops
Fill the large Ziploc bag with ice cubes half-way then add salt.
In the smaller Ziploc bag, combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Seal smaller Ziploc. Put smaller Ziploc inside of larger - ice cube & salt filled - Ziploc. Seal the bigger one.
Here's the fun. For the next 5-8 minutes have the kids take turns shaking the bag. (It will be cold so maybe use oven mitts or a towel for younger kids). Turn it into a game of toss if you want (gently though - the ice will be heavy-ish so it could become a projectile).
When time's up (and the ice cream is the desired consistency) feel free to add sprinkles, gummies, cookie pieces, chocolate candy or whatever other "topping" might be in your pantry.
Ice cream puts the "yummy" in "mummy" :-)
With summer time crunch, traffic on the highways and cost of vacations soaring - a staycation is sometimes the perfect option for a busy family. This week we decided to be a tourist in our own city; exploring, discovering and having a bit of fun. This week The Summer Fun Project is all about staycations.
Now, we live in Toronto (the centre of the universe) yet we have never, ever, taken the kids to the CN Tower (we see it almost every day in the skyline and it has always been a "yah - we'll go there...one day". Well, the day finally came (on a Saturday no less - perhaps don't be a tourist in your own city on a Saturday...all the other real tourists are visiting...and tourist spots are le crazy!)
TIP: if you are planning a staycation - talk to friends or family or twitter about going because advice can be a good thing!
A friend told me that if you make a reservation at the 360 restaurant at the tower you get complimentary admission. It's $15 + tax admission for kids and the kids menu at the restaurant starts at $17...so the restaurant option was a good deal for us.
What I didn't know (and what I'll share with you dear readers) is that those with restaurant reservations by-pass the elevator line-up. Which was apparently 2-hours long on Saturday. Wowza!
The kids had a blast visiting a place they had seen from the distance so often. We looked, we ate, we discovered. And no luggage, road trip or airport required.
This week, I suggest you be a tourist in your town. Go discover something in your 'hood. Staycations are a good thing."
How do you keep your kids math and literacy skills sharp over summer? Sneak in long division? Make them write out vocabulary sheets? Yes, you could do that...OR...you could incorporate school skills in some fun activities. This is week 2 of the Summer Fun Project.
The trick is to not let the kids know they are working on maintaining (or upgrading) their school skills. Last year, I let my 10 year old have her own e-mail account (and yes, I check it). She can e-mail her classmates, me and even her teacher. Since typing is more fun than writing (to her) it's a treat to get e-mail time (yet, it's a treat for me to watch her write sentences, phrases and even check spelling on her own...how sneaky I am!)
And since everyone loves getting snail mail (well, I do) while you're on vacation - buy a post card and let your child write the note and address the card.
You could also do word finds or create your own word find HERE. I created one when we went to the Dominican Republic last year and themed it to our trip: AIRPLANE, ISLAND, SPANISH, WATER...etc...
It's also fun to create your own crossword puzzle for the kids. I make them family personal like...HINT: Mommy's favourite thing to do. WORD: sleep
Now for math (ugh...I don't like math myself). I've downloaded some math game apps from iTunes for on-the-go-math. But there are more interesting ways to incorporate math into summer.
Like having a paper airplane contest to see which one will go the farthest. Make the airplanes. Guestimate which went the furthest. Then, get out the tape measure and measure it (centimetres, inches...whichever scale you wish).
And a simple trip to the farmer's market is great for both math & literacy because you can have the kids write a grocery list - give them the money - and have them do the shopping! They can check prices, count money and ensure they get the correct change.
And finally, those friggin' gift shops at every "family friendly destination" you visit during the summer. Give each kid a $5 bill and say that's all they get. Find something (and not a stuffed animal - I veto anymore stuffed animals in the house!) that is under $5. No mommy won't buy you a $9.99 mug or a $15 t-shirt. You've got $5 now get those math and decision-making skills going!
And finally (part 2), the classic "Lemonade Stand" is a great way to keep those school skills current. Writing the sign, making change, counting up if you have enough to go get an ice cream afterwards...these are perfect literacy and math opportunities.
Now, I'm inspired...off to defrost some lemonade for the kids.