Summer Boredom-Busters

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So it’s summertime, and school’s out.     Are you BORED yet?

Well, did you know that boredom is all in your head? If you think creatively, you NEVER have to be bored. God has given us an amazing world, excellent imaginations, and a million interesting things to do. (Plus, if you say you are bored, adults like to put you to work. You could end up folding laundry or cleaning out the cat’s litter box.)

There are a TON of fun and interesting things to do in the summertime! Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Tornado in a Bottle

Summer is tornado season. Though tornados can be very scary, most people will never see a real tornado in their lifetime. But you can make one at home!

Here’s what you need:

  • Two empty (and clean) 2-liter soda bottles
  • Water
  • Duct tape

Here’s what you do:

Fill one bottle about ¾ full with water.

Put the second bottle upside down on top of the first bottle, with the open ends touching.

Tape the bottles together with duct tape so that no water can leak out.

Quickly turn the whole contraption upside down so the bottle with the water is on top.

Swirl the bottles quickly in a circle to get the water moving in a circle too. (Don’t shake the bottles up and down.)

Watch the tornado form!

Flowerpot Friends

Take a plain clay flowerpot. Draw a wacky face or a picture of your own face on it with oil pastels (also called Cray-Pas). Fill the pot almost full with dirt—just leave an inch or so (about 2.5 centimeters) at the top. Sprinkle on some regular grass seed (wheat grass seed works even better). Then add a thin layer of dirt. Water the seed and put the pot in a sunny spot. After the grass grows a few inches, you can give your flowerpot friend a crazy haircut. Then watch the hair grow again!

Fairy Houses

Even though fairies aren’t real, fairy houses are lots of fun to make!

First, find an interesting-looking spot in a park or in your yard or even in a large potted plant. Some great places to make a fairy house are next to tree roots or rocks, or underneath bushes.

To build your house, use whatever you can find: sticks, dried grass, leaves, stones, moss, flowers—be creative! Sticks are great for making frameworks for walls and roofs. Shells make perfect sinks or tubs. Challenge yourself to use only natural materials—nothing man-made.

Here’s a fairy house that I built in my own yard from rocks, twigs, dried grass, shells, and moss. Kids, your parents might think they’re too old to do this along with you, but once they try it, they’ll want to build more.

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salt (The bigger the granules, the better.     Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt is fine.)
  • 1 sandwich-size zip-lock bag
  • 1 gallon-size zip-lock bag
  • Ice cubes (enough to fill the gallon-size bag about half full)
  • Bath towel

Here’s what you do:

Pour the sugar, the half and half, and the vanilla into the small zip-lock bag and seal it tightly.

Put the salt and ice in the large zip-lock bag, then put the smaller sealed bag inside too. Seal the large bag and wrap it in the bath towel.

Shake the bags for about 5 minutes until the half-and-half mixture thickens into ice cream! The longer you shake it, the firmer it will get. Take turns with a friend or family member if your arms get tired.

Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, open it, and eat! This recipe makes one serving.

Make an Origami Book

Origami (oh-ri-GAH-mee) is the Japanese art of paper folding. In real origami, you’re not supposed to use scissors, but this book only has ONE cut, so it’s pretty close!

Making your first origami book might look a little tricky, but it’s actually quite easy. Once you’ve made a few, you won’t even need the instructions!

Here’s what you need:

  • An 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper (standard notebook size)
  • Scissors

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Fold the paper in half the long way. Then fold it in half the other way two more times. Unfold the paper. You now have a paper with eight equal sections.

Step 2: Fold the paper in half the short way so it makes an 8.5 x 5.5-inch rectangle. Cut from the center fold to the point where the other folded lines meet.

Step 3: Open the paper again. Refold it in half the long way.

Step 4: Push the ends toward each other until a diamond shape forms in the middle hole. Crease all folds so the diamond disappears.

Step 5: Fold two flaps around the other two flaps to make a six-page book with a front and back cover.

Step 6: Draw pictures or comics to make a storybook, or use your book for a scrapbook or a journal.

More Things to Ma ke and Do

STILL bored? Check out craft and activity books at your local library, or visit these websites for more fun boredom-busters!

www.FamilyFun.go.com: Tons of craft and activity ideas

www.PBSkids.org/zoom: recipes, crafts, games, experiments, and more from the PBS show Zoom!

www.puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/: This site helps you make your own crossword puzzles, word searches, and more! Make a bunch and trade them with siblings or friends.

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/storystarters/storystarter1.htm: If you want to write a story but are stuck for an idea, this site has a weird story starter machine you can use. Try it!

About the Author

Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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