Welcome ROCmommas, ROCpoppas, and Friends!

Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
right place. Welcome to ROCmomma. Happy reading, and please share your comments. Thank you!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Backyard Summer Camp: Outer Space Week

If you're home with your kids this summer, you know that a little preparation can go a long way to keep everyone busy and happy. There is nothing I despise more than whining, so until my kids are old enough to "go play" by themselves, I'm sticking with Backyard Summer Camp.

Kids who like aliens, planets, and stars are sure to love these ideas for active/outdoor play, quieter/hands-on play, as well as a couple of destinations to get everyone out of the house while staying here on Earth. Be sure to check out Wacky Sports Week and Under the Sea Week ideas, too!

Outer Space

Active Play

  • ·      Catch a Falling Star (try to get inflated balloons into a laundry basket, using pool noodles)
  • ·      Chalk aliens: lie down on the driveway & trace each other with sidewalk chalk; have kids color in the outlines to turn everyone into aliens
  • ·      Planetary Volleyball (pretend the ball is a planet – let kids pick their favorite) 
  •     In our house, there's bound to be some lightsaber game where we need to defeat the battle droids (imaginary, of course)

Quiet Play
  • ·      Spaceship craft - with alien or without alien (paper bowls, aluminum foil, glue, etc.)
  • ·      Make jet packs (cardboard, ribbon, two empty 2-Liter bottles, silver paint, orange/red felt or foam or streamers, hot glue)
  • ·      Make a solar system mobile (paper, etc.)
  • ·      Moon rocks (rocks, silver paint, black and white tissue paper, glitter glue)
  • ·      Galaxyplay-dough (2 c. flour, 2 c. water, food coloring, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. cream of tartar, 1 c. salt, glitter, star shapes, faux gems, etc.)
  • ·      Fiery suns (paper, paint, plastic wrap)
  • ·      Handprint alien (paint, paper, google eyes - make a handprint with only three fingers & pointing up; add eyes to top of each fingerprint; draw legs)
  • ·      Balloon rocket (cardboard tube, balloon, card stock, safety scissors, glue, markers/crayons)
  • ·      Footprint rocket (white paint, black paper)
  • ·      StarWars crafts (Yoda & Chewbacca puppets - need to print the templates & directions, plus a trip to the craft store...but will be worth it for any fanboys & fangirls!)
  • ·      Make a LEGO space ship and aliens
  • ·      Read stories about planets, outer space
  • ·      Write a story together about visiting outer space. Let kids illustrate.

Field Trips
  • ·      Visit a planetarium and check out a giant-screen film
  • ·      Go to the library for books about the planets, outer space

Have fun with your own Outer Space Week! As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Backyard Summer Camp: Under the Sea Week

If your kids aren't old enough to occupy themselves this summer, these Backyard Summer Camp theme weeks are your solution to battle boredom and ward off whining. Be sure to check out the previous post on Wacky Sports week, too.

Under the Sea

Active Play
  • ·      Sprinklers
  • ·      Water table
  • ·      Fill kiddie pool or large bin with water and sea creature toys
  • ·      Squirt guns

Quiet Play
  • ·      Jellyfishhanging craft (paper bowls turned upside down, paint, googly eyes, glue, ribbon for tentacles & to hang it)
  • ·      Make a handprint crab (red paint, paper, glue, sand)
  • ·      Fishsun-catchers (old CDs, paper, string, etc.) 
  •     Float A Fish (Fish bowl craft) 
  •     Whale craft (flower pots or plastic cups, foam sheets, paint, etc.)
  • ·      Make LEGO sea creatures
  • ·      Read stories about sea creatures
  • ·      Write a story together about living under the sea. Let kids illustrate.

Field Trips
  •     Head to the beach to collect seashells
  • ·      Visit the fish at a pet store
  • ·      Go to the library for books about the sea

Have fun with these Under the Sea activities, and be sure to Post a Comment and let us know how you enjoyed this theme week! As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Backyard Summer Camp

Are you home with your kids for the summer? Looking for distractions and things to do to keep everyone happily occupied? I have some solutions for you!

Yes, I love my kids and I love being able to stay home with them...but sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), I need some help. My plan was to be prepared like a camp counselor for this summer, so I came up with 10 weeks worth of activities to get us going. Actually, 11 weeks, just in case one of them doesn't work out. Feel free to come along for the experience: Backyard Summer Camp with ROCmomma!

I've included some reading and writing time in all the plans. One more item we are including is to visit BedtimeMath.org for a daily math problem (available for three age ranges). Take that, "Summer Slide."

10 weeks: June 24 – August 30, 2013

Step 1: Choose 10 themes your child(ren) would enjoy. Examples:

Step 2: Brainstorm some activities that coordinate with the theme. Be sure to include a variety of activities, including:
  • ·      Some active, high-energy activities for outdoors
  • ·      Calmer activities that could be done inside or outdoors
  • ·      Field trips
  • ·      A trip to the library for books about the theme
  • ·      Some “writer’s workshop” time to come up with your own story about the theme. This could be just a few sentences; then let the child(ren) illustrate what you’ve written together. 
  • ·      Write down more ideas than you think you’ll use in the week, this way there are back-up plans and so that your child(ren) has/have options.

Step 3: Use the Internet to find additional activity ideas.
If you are tapped out of brilliant activities, use a searchengine, Pinterest, or consult your favorite blog or magazine web site for more ideas.  Be sure to check local eventcalendars - including your local library, too. You may find some festivals or other activities that fit in well with some themes, or ones you just won’t want to miss. See below, and stay tuned this week for lots of ideas to get you started!

Step 4: Find a fun way to select the weekly theme and the week’s activities.
  • ·      You could write each theme on a popsicle stick and place the sticks in a container. Have the child(ren) select a stick on Sunday night to determine the week’s theme.
  • ·      Or make a paper chain, writing one theme on each paper link. As you end the week, pull off the link and see what comes next.
  • ·      Write each theme on a piece of paper; fold them up and place in a jar or a beach pail. On Sunday night, let the child(ren) select a theme.
  • ·      Write each theme on an envelope and decorate with coordinating stickers. Place all envelopes into one large manila envelope; let the child(ren) reach in and choose one for that week’s theme.

Step 5: On Sunday, check the weather to determine the best days for your field trips, outdoor activities, and indoor activities.

Step 6: Accept the fact that the kids will guide your activities & your list will just get you started. Keep the camera handy and have fun!

We picked our first theme for this week: Wacky Sports. We started out this morning by setting up materials for Ping Pong Ball Art. 
This morphed into finger painting...
...which then turned into painting handprints on the trees (it's non-toxic, washable paint)...
...and using them as targets for water guns. 
Anything goes, as long as we're having fun and no one is whining! Here is the list we started with for this week:

Wacky Sports

Active Play
  • ·      Obstacle Course (set up anything you have around the house for kids to go over, under, through, and around)
  • ·      Soccer – with a volleyball
  • ·      Floor/Street Hockey – use brooms!
  • ·      Baseball – run backwards around the bases
  • ·      Basketball – throw underhand
  • ·      Frisbee – use your opposite hand to throw and catch
  • ·      Frisbee golf (decide on the holes, such as: hit a tree, between a swing’s chains, into a garbage can, onto a chair, etc.)
  • ·      Volleyball – with a balloon
  • ·      Football – with a sprinkler on in the middle of your “field”
  • ·      Horseshoes
  • ·      Cricket
  • ·      Bocce Ball
  • ·      Kickball
  • ·      Punchball
  • ·      Mini golf

Quiet Play
  • ·      Ping Pong Ball art (ping pong balls, paint, straws, paper, drop cloth)
  • ·      Design a pennant for your favorite sports team
  • ·      Use sports-themed foam stickers to decorate a foam visor (available at craft stores)
  • ·      Make LEGO sports equipment
  • ·      Read books about sports
  • ·      Write a story together about playing on a sports team. Let kids illustrate. 

Field Trips
  • ·      Fly kites
  • ·      Play mini golf at a family entertainment center
  • ·      Go to a minor league/local game
  • ·      Go to the library for books about sports or a sports team
Have fun, and be sure to Post a Comment about your fun plans this summer. As always, thanks for reading!

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