Friday, June 29, 2012

Water Pinata... cool off

Frugal Friday

It is hot here... I mean HOT HOT... thank goodness for the AC in our camper. It's currently set on 55 right now, but with 105 degree temps, it's nowhere near that cool! So, to cool off, here's an idea: Make a water piƱata... made with cheapy trash bags at a cost of about 2 cents a pop.... that's my kind of fun!

1.     Using a water hose, fill a medium-sized plastic trash bag with a few gallons of water. Knot the top of the bag.
2.     Tie one end of a rope tightly beneath the knot. Toss the other end of the rope over a tree branch and either tie it securely or have an adult stand by to raise and lower the “pinata”

3.       Blindfold your kiddos, spin ‘em around three or four times, and let them whack the bag with a stick or broom. The winner gets soaked!

We have learned, the cheap, clear, thin bags work much better than a black garbage bag.

CCheck out  for more Frugal Friday ideas! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

27 More fun activities to do outside

  1. Go on a nature walk. Look for things that start with each letter of the alphabet. You can jot them in a notebook, or take a picture of each one.
  2. Catch lightning bugs.
  3. Draw a “road”, or path on the road with chalk. Make it winding, curvy, and challenging. Make it just wide enough to ride a bike through. Let the kiddos try to ride their bikes through the path without going out of the lines.
  4. Play I Spy
  5. Make some campsite rocks or stepping stones. Find some cool, flat, large rocks. If it’s hot enough, just let them sit out in the sun for an hour or so. If it’s not that hot, stick them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Take them out, careful to mind the heat. Use crayons to draw on the hot rocks… makes a very cool effect.  You can make a name rock for your campsite, or just draw cool designs.
  6. Paint on rocks
  7. Play kickball
  8. Have a dancing competition
  9. Make up an obstacle course
  10. Play freeze tag
  11. Play squirt bottle tag- Just like regular tag but “it” has a squirt bottle
  12. Play badminton
  13. Have a picnic
  14. Make paper airplanes
  15. Play horseshoes
  16. Catch frogs and lizards
  17. Find cool rocks
  18. Play football
  19. Skip rocks
  20. Have a carwash for your hot wheels
  21. Play Frisbee
  22. Hot wheels races
  23. Hide a “treasure” and make a treasure map for someone else to find it
  24. Make mud pies or frog houses
  25. Wash the camper
  26. Paint
  27. Watch the sunset

More Rainy Day Boredom Busters… Camper Version

  1. Draw on windows with dry erase markers. (or mirrors)
  2. Build a fort. Before you ask me if I’m crazy, hear me out. If you have a fold out jackknife sofa, there is about a foot that overhangs when it turns into a bed. Toss a blanket on top, hanging down, and VOILA! Instant fort. Or, if you have a table that turns into a bed, hang a blanket over it, and PRESTO! Larger instant fort. If you’re like me, you have to clean out the space under the table first… but maybe that’s just me! Kids can lay under both of these, read a book, play ipad, play with flashlights, giggle…
  3. Build stuff with cardboard boxes. See tipjunkie for some seriously cool ideas.
  4. Watch Camping movies 
  5. Make friendship bracelets
  6. Make a fortuneteller
  7. Play charades
  8. How many words can you make out of the letters in SUMMERTIME ROCKS?
  9. Invent your own cereal… a really cool, yummy flavor. Turn a cereal box inside out and tape it back together. Make a box for your new cereal.
  10. Invent new ice cream flavors
  11. Draw a picture while blindfolded
  12. Make puppets

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clothes hanger chip clips

Clothes hanger chip clips

We eat lots of chips, especially when camping... but we all 4 have different favorites, so it’s not uncommon to have 6-8 open bags of chips at a time. I can never seem to find a chip clip, which means we’re throwing away half a bag of stale chips… grrr! We keep “junky” clothes hangers in the camper, like the ones that come with clothes when you buy them. I read this tip on Pinterest that was just awesome for us- break the clip off of pants hangers (they bend off really easily) to use as a chip clip. Genius!!

Top Ten Camping Movies:

Top Ten Camping Movies:
  1. The Great Outdoors
  2. The Parent Trap (the REAL one J)
  3. RV
  4. Where the Red Fern Grows
  5. On Golden Pond
  6. Open Season
  7. Tremors (yes, I know it is cheesy! Why is it a camping movie? I dunno… if you don’t count that, then try Race for Your Camp, Charlie Brown J )
  8. Yogi Bear
  9. Meatballs
  10. Camp Nowhere

Water fun...BE with your kids

Who would have thought jumping off a dock could be so fun? That's what I love so much about the camping lifestyle... you get the chance to BE... I mean really BE WITH YOUR KIDS. You know what I mean? It's the small moments, that don't cost a dime, like jumping off a dock,

catching fish,

looking at rainbows,
watching squirrels,
or just relaxing together that are so priceless....

Check out for more ways to show love to your babies.

Games to play in the water

The other day, the kids were bored… again… And, for some reason, they need to be entertained. It’s just toooo much effort for them to come up with something fun to do here… I mean, other than fishing, swimming, playing ball, playing a game… you know, normal, BORING kid stuff…
So we decided to get into the lake… we started giving them challenges like swimming to the bottom of the lake and bringing up rocks or dirt as “proof”. They enjoyed the challenges, so we got a little creative. And, thus, Lake Olympics was born. Before I share these ideas, let me give this disclaimer: my kids are GREAT swimmers. They are 9 and 11, and parents were within a safe distance!
You will need 1 ring float for each kid.. you know, the cheap ones you can get for $2 anywhere. Here are the challenges:

  1. Ride ‘em cowboy… Put one leg through the float and hold it up, perpendicular to the water. Hold it on top of your shoulder. Swim like this to the finish line. If the float falls over, you have to get back on correctly before swimming again.
  2. Lay on your back and paddle backwards, racing to the finish line. (like a parent’s float)
  3. Stand on the shore, holding the float in front of you. Jump onto the float (on your stomach) and paddle forwards to the finish line.
  4. Stand on the float for 5 seconds… or see who can stand the longest. This is a LOT harder than it sounds!
  5. Start with your rear end in the hole. Jump off, get back on with your rear end in the hole 5 times. First one to finish wins.
  6. Lay on your back in the float. Without kicking or paddling, float while a parent counts to 500. See who drifts the farthest. (Obviously, this only works in a lake, pond, or river when the wind is blowing.)
  7. Get on your knees on the float, straddling the hole. Jump into the hole, climb back into it, get on your knees, and repeat 5 times. First one to complete the challenge wins.
  8. Spin around in a circle inside the float as many times as you can. (My kids amazed me with this- one did it 197 times, and the other did it 184! I mean, holy cow!)
  9. Toss the float a little ways, swim into the center, jump off, toss it again, and repeat all the way to the finish line.
  10. See who can float on their back the longest (no ring needed).
  11. Stand on shore and see who can hula hoop their float the longest.
  12. Hook your knees around the float. Lay back, and do “sit-ups”. See who can do the most in 1 minute.
  13. Hold a float still in the water. See who can toss a ball into the hole the most times in one minute.
  14. Same game as above, but hold the float up, perpendicular to the water this time.
  15. If you have an extra float per kid, try this: Put one leg into each float and race to the finish line.

We had a total blast doing this… a great use of $4, IMO. In fact, now every time we get in the water, the kids are asking for more challenges… my creativity is running dry! What ideas do YOU have for water fun? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

10 Outdoor Activities for Kids and Families

1.    Stick Names. Go on a scavenger hunt and find sticks in the shape of letters in your name. Glue the sticks together to form a name sign. Alternately, arrange them on the ground and take a picture.
2.    Pick-Up Sticks. Play Pick-Up Sticks with small, straight sticks you can find. One child holds the handful of twigs and lets them drop into a tangled pile. If the initial player can pick up a twig without disturbing the rest of the pile, that player gets the twig and the chance to go again. It’s okay to use a twig you’ve won to help pick up the next twig. Disturb another twig in the pile and the play passes to the next group member.
3.    Take a family hike with a theme: Find shapes, colors and textures, or look for objects starting with each letter of the alphabet. 
4.    Stick house building. Use twigs, and rocks and leaves, to construct miniature log cabins.
5.    Chalkboard Checkers. Draw a checkerboard on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. Use rocks for one player and small sticks for the other.
6.    Magnify your world. Use a hand lens or magnifying glass to really examine leaves, bugs, dirt, rocks, tree bark…
7.    Nature Scavenger Hunt. Come up with a list of items that can be found in nature.... send the kids out to hunt for them!

8.    Go catch bugs!
9.    Introduction Game. Sit in a circle. First player says, “My name is Angela, and I’m from Alaska. I like to eat apples.” (or anything else starting with A). Second player says, My name is Bob, and I’m from Brazil. I like to eat baloney. This is Angela, from Alaska, and she likes to eat apples. The third player continues with the letter c, introducing everyone before him. And so on… Click here for hundreds more circle games. 
10. Don’t forget the classics… Tag, Hide and Seek… what else do you remember playing as a kid? Click here for a list of tag games. 

A Giant Hole...

I am so adding this to our Sandbucket list of places we'd like to visit. Never even heard of it before, but how cool!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Roadschooling questions...

This whole homeschooling/ roadschooling thing is new to us. We want our kids’ education to be meaningful, realistic, teaching life skills and gearing towards their interests. Purchasing a pre-planned curriculum does not fit in well in our ideals of what we see roadschooling as. I’m sure the premade curriculums are great…. Totally not knocking that choice for anyone… but it’s just not what we want…now, at least. We may change our minds and long for the simplicity of a workbook and a planned curriculum instead of having to be totally creative.
We’ve been brainstorming what’s important for the kids to do, and how we want them to do it… Here’s a very rough list of ideas thus far. I would LOVE some feedback, ideas, or resources if you want to share. J
Every day we want the kids to:
  • Read independently, self-selected books
  • We all read a chapter of a novel together and discuss (Starting our first one tomorrow… Swiss Family Robinson- YAY!)
  • Math… what to do? Can tie realistically into life, like gas mileage, recipes, etc… but think you also have to teach some skills in isolation.
  • USA studies (see Learning on the Road for a plan)
  • Physical Education (That goes kinda without saying. We walk every day, or swim, snorkel, bike, etc.)
  • Arts/crafts/ something creative (Not so much from a “This is how Picasso painted” perspective, but just doing something creative with your hands every day. Again, kinda goes without saying...)
  • Science… would prefer for this to lead naturally out of their interests, like finding a cool rock, or how the Grand Canyon was formed, or identifying nature..                                                                    Like this is a Tufted Titmouse, aka our friendly campsite pet…

  • History/ government… tie this into US studies, perhaps?

I know schools are adopting Common Core Standards. Is this worth a look, or is that tooooo much to consider?                         

What subjects am I forgetting? I know what I want roadschooling to be, but I’m not sure if I’m being realistic, an overachiever, an underachiever, or what…
How do YOU homeschool or roadschool?

Under the Awning

As a parent on the road, continuously camping, sometimes things are out of your control. Such as rain for two days straight. This is when you must get inventive to keep the masses under control inside the camper. Yesterday wasn't so bad. It’s been a while since we've had a rainy day. Most of the day we all had a snuggle day in our room. Turned the a/c down to 55, our windows in the bedroom are blacked out, we put a dark container over the sunroof, and piled up and watched movies all day. It was glorious… we loved it! We ate ice cream and vegged out all day. It was reminiscent of when they were babies and I had Fridays off. We would get up with Lisa, eat breakfast and see her off to work, then we would make a pallet in the living room floor. We watched Rollie Pollie Ollie, Bear in the Big Blue House, Stanley, and then get up and have a great Friday. I always looked forward to Fridays as a great day to spend with my babies. Well, yesterday was exactly like that- a kid on both shoulders, piled up together. Then today I woke to pouring rain… again. Today would not be so easy. After watching movies all day yesterday, who would want to do that again? The kids woke up restless today. I knew then we were in for a crazy day. Lisa slept in for a little bit, so I laid back down with her for a little while. Shortly thereafter, the camper started to shake, rattle, and bounce like it was going to flip over. I jumped up and ran into the living room, where the kids had turned the floor into a wrestling ring. They were jumping from the couch into the air, landing on every blanket or pillow they could find to cushion their fall. That’s when Lisa and I decided to get on the ball of entertaining the kids before our camper crumbled to the ground! So we all went outside and talked “under the awning” for a little while. That didn’t last long, so we went for a walk in the rain.  That didn’t last too long either. We decided to go to the pavilion with the laptops and try out some of our ideas for homeschooling  on the road.  See our project ideas here. I haven’t seen these kiddos ever so excited to do school work, so, once again, I feel like everything we’re doing is heading in the right direction. So thank God for our Jayco 31 by 8…

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