I want my kids to play outside with other neighborhood kids every day.
I want them to create their own games and rules.
I want them to play big, complex games with large groups of kids, and simpler games one-on-one with a best friend.
I want them to decide for themselves what to play, where, and with whom.
I want them to settle their own disputes with their friends.
I want them to create their own private clubs with secret rules.
I want them to make lasting physical artifacts that show the world that this is their place. I want them to laugh and run and think. Every day.
That’s what I had. It’s my standard for a good childhood. It’s my goal for my kids.
Backyard Bubbles Recommended for children of all ages
“Bubbles love high humidity. They prefer cool, shady areas, sheltered from the wind. The finest bubble days are foggy or overcast. Best of all, try right after a rain. No matter what the weather, you can usually find pools of air damp, cool, or quiet enough to make impressive bubbles.” (John Cassidy, The Unbelievable Bubble Book, 1987)
Yellow or blue Ultra Dawn or any Ivory liquid are the recommended liquid dishwashing soaps to use (John Cassidy)
Mix up the recipes the day before for best results.
Glycerin is inexpensive and can be found in most drug stores. The children think that the bubbles are so much better that it is worth keeping a small bottle on hand.
1 clean pail
1 cup yellow or blue Ultra Dawn or Ivory dish soap
3-4 tablespoons glycerin (optional)
12 cups clean, cold water (up to 50% more on dry days)
1.Measure 12 cups water into the pail. Add 1 cup dish soap.
2.Add the glycerin. In most atmospheres, it makes the bubbles more durable by reducing evaporation.
Stir, but not too much. You don’t want froth on the top because it tends to break the bubbles. If you get any, skim it off with your hand.
Steps to Creating a Lemonade Stand
Recommended for children ages 4 and up
Work with the kids to develop a plan on how the lemonade stand will work. This can be very basic. Remember that lemonade stands are a wonderful, practical, and motivating way to help children understand the concept of money.
Make signs for your lemonade stand. This can be the key to success, since most adults will buy a cup to support the neighborhood children.
Determine the cost of your lemonade. For older children, help them to calculate the costs to make the lemonade, in order to teach about profits.
Consider offering ½ price refills. This is great to talk to kids about repeat business and customer service.
Lemonade Stand—Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade Recipe Have your children help you squeeze the lemons to make this perfect recipe for a summertime lemonade stand
3 cups fresh lemon juice (about 20 lemons)
2 ¼ cups sugar
12 cups chilled water teaspoon vegetable oil
Combine juice and sugar in a one-gallon container; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in water. Serve over ice.
Yields: 16 servings (1 cup each)
Cardboard Boxes Recommended for children of all ages
Cardboard Box City/Sculptures – Tape the boxes closed. Have tape, crayons, paint, available for the kids to arrange the boxes into their neighborhood, buildings, a town, animals, a farm…
Easel – Tape paper around the sides of a large box. OR Select a sturdy box, cut off the top flaps or remove the lid. Then cut the box in half diagonally. Set on the table like a tent. Tape paper to both sides of the easel.
Teddy Bear trains
Read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis with your kids