Summer Kid Activities to Enjoy Your Deck
School’s out for summer and you’re looking at those long lazy days ahead of you. Summers require a little forethought to be successful. The aim, though, is to enjoy your summer at home — if you work, to enjoy the weekends at home. And with fewer people in Toronto having the luxury of a back yard – and some by choice – there’s still plenty of kid activities you can do on your deck.
Ever heard of water blobs? They’re big sheets of plastic filled with water that kids can slip and slide around on. But on the deck, you’ll be pleased about these mini water blobs – each child can enjoy their own, and you don’t need a yard for it either.
You take 4 ml thick plastic sheeting, duct tape, blue food colouring, measuring tape, iron and board, parchment paper. Unroll the plastic and cut whatever size you need – two feet wide and long enough for the child to lie on — and allow about three inches for thickness. Iron a seam of parchment paper on the plastic edges so they meld together (iron must not touch the plastic). Leave a hole at one end to place the hose and fill with water. Use duct tape to close the hole. Any leaks can be easily fixed with duct tape.
Shaving Cream Filled Balloons:
This one takes a little larger deck space. Take multi-coloured water balloons and inject shaving cream right into the opening, applying enough pressure to fill it. Tie off the balloon, place in a bowl, and fill another. Once enough balloons are done, let the kids go wild. Cleaning up is easy – hose down the areas covered in shaving cream!
Stuff in ice blocks:
have your kids write a list of things they could collect and then freeze into blocks of ice. DO a bit of a scavenger hunt around the house or the block to find the items. Freeze them in ice blocks (use containers that will easily release the ice), place them all into a big bin or the tub and slowly pour water over them. The kids love watching the items emerge from the ice.
What’s a summer day without giant bubbles? But these are better than just soap on a bubble blower – this recipe makes giant bubbles. Mix six cups of water, half cup Dawn dish detergent, half cup corn starch, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp glycerine. First dissolve the corn starch in the water, stirring well, then add the remaining ingredients. Let the mix sit for about an hour. Use a large bubble wand and walk backwards to get the full effect.
Make your own ice cream:
half cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, and 2.5 tsp sugar combined into a sandwich bag, pressing the air out of the bag as it is sealed. Place this inside another sandwich bag. Fill a large resealable freezer bag halfway with ice cubes and mix in several tbls of coarse salt. Put the sealed cream bag inside and seal the larger one. Shake the bag for five or ten minutes – ideal is to play tag running around and tossing the bag to each other. After ten minutes it should be done.
Make your own sand slime:
mix 1 cup liquid starch, two bottles of white glue and play sand in a plastic sand bucket. Initially the mixture is sticky, but in a few minutes, it becomes great slime. Clean up is pretty easy – keep a hose nearby, or the kitchen sink, and the slime can be stored in a resealable plastic bag.
Make your Deck into a Giant Gameboard:
Using masking tape or chalk, draw a gameboard, and write in each square various kid activities, like singing a song, making a silly face, stand on your hands, walk to the porch rail with a spoon and egg in your mouth, etc.. Each time your children roll the giant dice (which you can make yourself or pick up at the dollar store), they land on a different square and must do the action required. The “game board” has a finish and start, and whoever finishes first wins.
Your deck is a perfect place to set up a tent – it’s close to the kitchen while still being under the stars. Pick a tent that nearly fills the space to make it feel extra special. Set it up with flashlights (or battery-operated camp lights), lots of sleeping bags, snacks. Teach the kids how to care for camping gear. Have a campfire! – either use a fire pit or a small portable grill and gather the chairs around. (It’s a good opportunity to teach them about fire safety as well.) Gather up branches from scavenger hunt earlier in the day, and roast marshmallows and hot dogs around the fire; you can show them how to make smores (graham crackers, melted chocolate and marshmallows). When it gets really dark, tell ghost stories or sing silly campfire songs; you can also drape a sheet over a tree branch or the porch railing, get a projector and watch movies outside.
These toddler-approved iced lollies are super easy and a great low-sugar natural snack. Mix almond coconut milk, maple syrup, blueberries and raspberries in the blender. Pour into popsicle trays or dixie cups with a stick in the middle.
An alternative is to mix plain yogurt, and cut up fruits (raspberries, strawberries, etc.), add in chocolate shavings. Put spoonfuls on wax paper with a popsicle stick in the middle and freeze.
You can also make healthy frozen snacks that are more substantial. Layer strawberry yogurt, granola and strawberries pieces in dixie cups. Add popsicle sticks and freeze.