Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leader Enterprise - July 11, 2012 - fun summer games for kids

Dirt Dessert Recipe
photo credit: Taste of Home

DIRT PUDDING CUPS
2 c. cold milk
1 (4 serv.size) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 - 8 ozs. frozen whipped topping, thawed
16 ozs. oreos, crushed coarsely
8 - 10 goblets or cups (clear is best)
Mix pudding into milk until well blended. (A whisk works great for this). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in whipped topping and 1/2 crushed cookies. Place 1 Tb. cookies into cup. Fill 3/4 full with pudding. Top with enough remaining cookies to cover. Refrigerate 1 hour. Garnish with gummy worms or frogs, candy flowers or chopped nuts.


There's nothing that compares with summertime (can you believe it's nearly half over already?!) and the things we experience that come with the warmer weather - grilling out, fresh produce, sitting in the breeze (when we're fortunate enough to get a cool one) or watching the kids running through the sprinklers or chase fireflies. 
Don't let your kids get away with complaining "I'm Bored" this summer. There are so many fun outdoor games and activities they can enjoy that aren't played behind a computer screen.  Summer is a great time to encourage some old-fashioned fun. Kids love to be able to do some things themselves without the parents telling them what to do every step through the process. Parents just need to be sure their children will be safe and well supervised.

TAG/FREEZE TAG: How easily we forget about simple games like tag. One person is 'it' who tries to touch or tag another kid, who becomes it. In Freeze Tag, you are 'frozen' until someone tags you to 'melt' you to move around.

HIDE AND SEEK: Just like it says, one person is 'it' and everyone else hides and 'it' tries to find them. Adults can play too. The game is over when 'it' finds everyone and someone else becomes 'it'.

JUMP ROPE: Get a jumprope for $1 - this is great exercise for the kids. They usually know some rhymes to recite while others are jumping.

MARBLES: My hubby loves to play marbles with the grandkids in the living room. They all aim to hit one marble placed a few feet in front of them. The one who hits it first gets to collect all the marbles that have been thrown. If you are outside, draw a circle on the sidewalk or in the sand and take turns trying to knock your opponent's marble out of the circle. For safety's sake, be sure little ones are not playing around the marbles.

SIMON SAYS: One person acts as "Simon" who gives instructions like "Simon Says Hop on One Foot". If the order is given without saying Simon Says first, anyone who follows that request is out.

MOTHER MAY I? One person is the "Mother" while the others stand a distance away from her. Players take turns asking "Mother May I" ...do things like"take two giant steps" etc.,"Mother"replies with "Yes you may" or "No you may not". First one to reach Mother is the winner.

KICKBALL: Similar to softball, but kicking a ball instead and running bases. Fairly simple for all ages to play at once.

HOPSCOTCH: Draw a Hopscotch Design-one box, then two, one box, then two, etc. Toss a beanbag or rock on first square; hop over the beanbag and jump onto each part of the diagram (both feet on the ground when there are two boxes, one foot in the air when there's only one) until you reach the end; turn around and come back to starting place.

HAND-CLAP GAMES: The first game of this sorts that most learned at an early age was Pat-a-Cake. Older children can enjoy more complicated patterns. Usually there are two people involved doing a series of clap patterns, while singing and chanting a rhyme together. This can become even more 'sophisticated' with 3 or 4 players. No equipment needed.

I love the idea of kids learning to do things in the kitchen also. The kitchen is a 'classroom' full of skills to practice, memories to create and concepts to learn. Children can hone their reading, math, and science skills in the kitchen. Yes, it makes for more cleanup, but kids can lend a hand in that also. Spending quality time with your kids in the kitchen will create a bond and instill lifetime memories. Just be sure not to expect too much of them and allow for mistakes. It's all part of the learning process. The rewards of working together on any project can be immense.

If your children are young, begin by having them make sandwiches and maybe put together a picnic basket full of lunch items to take outside to enjoy under the shade of a tree. When I was in 4-H, a fun thing I learned was to cut my sandwiches into several pieces- 3 rectangles or 4 triangles. Kids are always more willing to eat something if they've had a hand in making it too. Teach them how to wash the fruit and vegetables; cut their foods into funny shapes. Food can be such fun if you allow it to be. 

Kids love being able to smash cookies or graham crackers for making something special. Place them in a ziploc bag, squeeze the air out and let the kids do the work for you.

Here are some simple no-bake recipes that are kid-friendly. Do hope your kids will enjoy making them and your family will enjoy eating them.

SIMPLE KOOL-AID PIE
1 pkg. unsweetened kool-aid, favorite flavor (I used strawberry)
1- 14 ozs. can sweetened condensed milk
1- 8 ozs. tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
1- 9" prepared graham cracker crust
In large bowl, stir kool-aid into condensed milk. Stir until evenly blended, then stir in whipped topping until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Add fresh fruit if desired. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set.

CREAMY NUTELLA FRUIT DIP (2 ingredients)
Into 1/2 c. greek yogurt (plain, vanilla or honey flavored) add 1 heaping TB. of nutella. Stir until smooth. Serve with fruit. (Older kids can put fruit on skewers to add some'fancy'to their treat).

DIRT PUDDING CUPS
2 c. cold milk
1 (4 serv.size) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 - 8 ozs. frozen whipped topping, thawed
16 ozs. oreos, crushed coarsely
8 - 10 goblets or cups (clear is best)
Mix pudding into milk until well blended. (A whisk works great for this). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in whipped topping and 1/2 crushed cookies. Place 1 Tb. cookies into cup. Fill 3/4 full with pudding. Top with enough remaining cookies to cover. Refrigerate 1 hour. Garnish with gummy worms or frogs, candy flowers or chopped nuts.