And so it begins – here’s the first post in our Summer Series.  Each post will support a certain theme or time during the summer months.  I hope you enjoy these and that they are helpful.  Thanks for passing this along to your friends and spreading the word about the Smart Moms community 😮  Remember – to get these posts automatically sent to you, just subscribe on our home page! 😮


Sandpaper Play

What you’ll need: square of coarse sandpaper, yarn in various colors & thickness, cut into different lengths, gallon baggies

How it works: place a square of sandpaper and yarn into a baggie, when needed children can place the yarn in different shapes and patterns – the yarn sticks to the sandpaper and creates a colorful, clean and quite masterpiece.

Aluminum Foil Fun

What you’ll need: squares of aluminum foil, a pair of hands and a big imagination

How it works: whether you choose an item for the child to recreate or allow them to make their own this is a chance for them to squish, tear and draw on the foil while they are sitting in their car seat.  Think of this as play-doh without the doh. They can combine pieces of foil together, squish it into a ball, roll it into a snake, or try to recreate a passing truck or car.

What Would You Be?

What you’ll need: your imagination and a child above the age of 2

How it works: begin by asking your child, “If you could be any kind of  __________ what would you be?  You can fill in the blank with the word “animal”, “plane”, “plant”, “car” or anything else you can think of. Be ready to ask a follow-up question for more details – whether you ask about the color, size, shape or purpose behind their choice this can be a fun reversal of roles where YOU ask the questions and THEY come up with the answers.

Estimate This

What You’ll Need:  Paper, pen, children old enough to solve basic math problems and understand the concept of distance, quantity and time.

How It Works:  Thinking about your trip, choose some items that can be estimated by the people in your car and can be precisely measured by an instrument in the car or on your person…Some examples might include: before you fill up the car with gas for the first time, have everyone estimate how much they think it will cost – write down everyone’s answers – the winner gets something small like a treat from the gas station.  When looking at road signs for how many miles are left  to the rest stop or upcoming city, guess how long it will take to cover that amount of miles.  You might have to help younger kids think through the speed limit to mile ratio, but this is just fun – not strict math problems. Another estimation might include how many times the members in your car will sneeze, cough, ask “are we there yet” or how many hours will be spent sleeping…

The secret is to keep things fun and not get too confusing or complicated.  Older children can keep track of their own findings to compare with their estimation, but sometimes the simple push of the odometer button can keep everyone from being hyper-focused on “catching” others or counting things so they can be proven correct or prove others wrong 😮

My Father/Mother Has A Store

What You Need: Your imagination and listening ears

How It Works: There are two ways to play this game.

1. One person tells about the store their mother or father own.  They choose something within that store and give a clue, everyone else tries to guess what is in the store.  Example: “My Mother has a grocery store and in it she sells something that starts with an N” OR “My Father has a pet store and in it he has an animal with a long tail.”  Sometimes more clues are needed, keep giving them until others guess what food, pet or item you are talking about.

2. One person starts a list of groceries, items or pets (stay within a theme).  The list is “passed” to the next person who must repeat what they’ve heard and add their own item.  A person is “out” if they cannot repeat all the items in the correct order or come up with a new item to add to the list.  Example: “My Sister owns a grocery store and in it she sells apples.” (next person) “My Sister owns a grocery store and in it she sells apples and oranges.”  Etc…

Edible Jewelry

What You Need: rope licorice (the kind that can be pulled off in single strips) and cereal (like fruit loops or Cheerios) in a baggie

How It Works: you might need to supervise younger children as they create by giving them one or two cereal pieces at a time.  An adult ties the end of the licorice to a cereal piece to create a knot. The child then strings the licorice through the middle of a cereal piece to create a bracelet or necklace. They can wear and eat their creation when finished! Depending on their fine motor skills this can take quite a while (which is sometimes a blessing) – for older kids, let them braid the strands of licorice or create their own ways of stringing and tying things together.

Bag of Goodies

Visit your local dollar store or value mart and pick up cheap, small toys and trinkets.  Fill up a paper bag with the toys and crafts or activities you want to bring.  Show the bags to the kids.  These are not bribes – these are celebrations!  maybe you celebrate no one having an accident while driving a long distance, perhaps we celebrate getting to our 1/2 way point or even as simple as seeing cows on the side of the road…you can tell your kids about what will denote a celebration or keep it to yourself – just have fun!

Have fun touring the country and seeing all the fantastic sites!  I hope these ideas are helpful – if you have time, pass this along to your friends and leave a comment telling us what you used and how it worked!


2 Responses to “1…2…3…Go!”

  1. 1 Rebekah Eekhoff June 16, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Yay for this post! We are leaving for a long road trip soon. LOVE the sandpaper idea and the edible jewelry! Thanks for the great ideas!

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