Young kids still love classic summer-fun activities, such as jump rope, jacks and bubbles. My daughter recently became fascinated with cat's cradle, the simple string-figure game that only requires some yarn or string. Don't remember how to do any string games? Directions can be found at, or look for the book "Cat's Cradle: A Book of String Games" by Camilla Gryski.
The first two reader tips are fun for kids, too:

Use up sidewalk chalk nubs:

If you have leftover sidewalk chalk, make 'sidewalk chalk paint.' Crush the nubs into a powder (keep different colors separate) and add water. Stir to dissolve the powdered chalk. If you don't have chalk nubs, you can still make sidewalk paint. Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch, four tablespoons of water and six drops of food coloring (be warned that too much food coloring is hard to remove from the sidewalk). -- Kelly, Florida

Homemade ice cream kids can make:

This recipe produced some of the best, creamiest ice cream we've ever had, and the kids had so much fun making it. And you don't even need an ice-cream maker -- just a little muscle!
Homemade Ice Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 bag of ice (crushed is recommended, but I've always used cubes)
2 cups coarse salt (I used kosher (pretzel) salt, but rock salt will work, too)
8 quart-sized zip-top bags
8 gallon-sized zip-top bags
Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl. Place 1 cup in quart-sized bag, remove air and seal. Place bag inside another quart-sized bag, remove air and seal. Repeat three more times to make 4 servings.
Divide ice equally into 4 gallon-sized bags. Add 1/2 cup salt and one quart-sized bag of cream mixture to each ice bag and seal. The recipe I used didn't call for another gallon bag, but we had problems with ours coming open, so I added another gallon bag and sealed.
Place dishtowels around the bags to protect your hands from cold, and shake for 10 minutes. Remove cream mixture bag from ice bag. Add your favorite toppings and eat! If ice cream does not become solid after 10 minutes, add more ice and salt to the outer bag and shake again for 5 minutes. -- Sarah, Illinois

Use for muffin pan:

I use a muffin pan to make sliders. I buy hamburger and sliced cheese and make rolls from dough made in the bread maker. I season the meat, press a small amount into the muffin pan and bake for about 25 minutes, then assemble the sliders for a party platter. -- Bev, email

Paint fun:

A lot of kids paint rocks during the summer. They can also paint large kindling, small logs or cut pieces of wood.

Makeshift greenhouse:

I found a wire shelf unit in our garage and used an old clear shower curtain to make my own greenhouse for free. I'm using egg carton containers to start seeds. I am really pleased with myself because I didn't spend anything on the entire project! -- Bev, email

Use for plastic straws:

I use them to stir craft paint and apply glue to small projects. -- Debi K., email

Tree stump:

Instead of paying for a big tree stump to be removed from our yard, we carved a hole in the center and we plant flowers in it every year. -- Carrie, Pennsylvania


photo by katerha