Summer Activities

Posts Tagged ‘Summer Activities’

How to Make a Crawdad Trap

Our boys have had a lot of fun swimming in the river behind our house this summer. There are all kinds of things to look at and explore, so many creatures to discover.

This year my boys discovered crawdads for the first time. They look like little crabs, but you can find them in even tiny rivers like ours. They are really fun to try to catch, some people even eat them!

crawdad trapIt is really easy to make a trap to capture crawdads.

Supplies needed:

  • 2-liter pop bottle
  • Exacto knife
  • String
  • Canned clams

The first thing you need to do to create the trap is cut the top off of the bottle. Using the exacto knife, carefully cut the top third of the pop bottle off. You want to cut it at the top of the center portion of the bottle, right where the bottle begins to narrow.

Turn the part you cut off upside down and place it inside the bottle, so that the cut edges meet and the top of the bottle is now inside of the bottle, near the bottom of the bottle.

Use the knife to cut two slits at the top of the bottle, one on each side. Cut a long piece of light rope or string and string it through the two holes, tying it at the top. This gives you a hanger to hang the bottle from.

Place about half a small can of clams down through the hole, to the bottom of the bottle.

Your crawdad trap is all ready to try out! Hang the bottle from a tree branch or other secure place with the bottle entirely submerged in the water. You can place a few small rocks in the bottom of the bottle to help keep it in the water.

Have your kids check the trap every day and see if they caught any crawdads! And if you are brave enough, do a search to find out how to cook them and eat them.

Copyright 2015, This article may not be reprinted.

Where to Take Kids Fishing in Washington State

Fishing is a fun activity for the entire family. Many families enjoy spending time fishing together in the summer, however, in many areas fishing can be enjoyed year round. In Washington State, there are many lakes and streams, both fresh water and salt water, where you can take your family for an enjoyable day of fishing.

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Below is a listing of fishing locations located in both Eastern and Western Washington State. Some of the locations offer fishing for juveniles only, and some offer family fishing, which means that at least one juvenile must be present if an adult is also fishing (adult will need a fishing license, however).

Fishing with Kids in Western Washington

In Okanogan County, Silvernail Lake is open year round (juveniles only). In the Seattle/Auburn area, check out Mill Pond (family fishing). In the Kent area you will find the Old Fishing Hole Pond (family fishing). Wapato Lake in Tacoma has a nice dock for families to fish from.

fishing with kidsIn Longview, make sure to visit Lake Sacajawea Park (family fishing). In Centralia families can fish almost year round at Fort Borst Lake. Wapato Lake is located in Pierce County.

Fishing with Kids in Eastern Washington

In the Spokane area, Bear Lake offers fishing for families year round. In Walla Walla, Jefferson Park Pond and Lyons Park Pond are also open year round (juveniles only). In Grant County, visit Columbia Basin Hatchery Creek for fishing for the entire family.

In Yakima, Sarge Hubbard Park Pond is open year round (juveniles only). Yakima Sportsmen’s Park Ponds in Yakima and Columbia Park Pond in Kennewick are also open year round (juveniles only).

If you are looking for a youth fishing event, there are many locations in both Eastern and Western Washington that feature fishing events for children ages 5 to 14. These events take place between April and July and are a lot of fun for the entire family. For more information on youth fishing events, including locations and dates, see

Many of these fishing areas also feature restrooms and picnic areas.

In Washington State, children ages 14 and under can fish without a fishing license. Also keep in mind that if you are fishing at an area owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), you will need to display a Discover Pass in order to park your car. You will receive a Discover Pass free of charge when you purchase your fishing license, and the pass can be used for two different vehicles. For more information about Washington’s Discover Pass, see For more information about fishing licenses and fishing in Washington State, see

When fishing with small children, make sure to keep your kids safe by having them wear a life jacket. Also make sure that your children have fishing poles that are appropriate for their size and age. Fishing is a great way to spend time together as a family. Hundreds of lakes in Washington State are stocked with millions of trout each year. Check out stocking reports and fish counts before you go

Scott Dawson is a professional blogger who enjoys writing for Experience Guide Service, a professional guide service for the best fishing in Washington.

How to Make a Homemade Lava Lamp

If you are looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids this summer, then consider giving these homemade lava lamps a try. You might even already have everything you need on hand to make them. Teach your kids some science while having fun at the same time.

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Supplies needed:

  • 16 oz. water bottle
  • Food coloring
  • Vegetable oil
  • Alka Seltzer tablets
  • Funnel

Note: Baby oil can be used in place of the vegetable or cooking oil, and you can use any tall slender bottle in the place of the 16 oz. water bottle.

homemade lava lampFor this science experiment you will need some Alka Seltzer tablets. You don’t need to buy the expensive name brand ones, just buy the inexpensive generic ones.

Give each child a water bottle and have them pour out half of the water in their bottle.

Place a funnel in the bottle and fill it back up with vegetable oil, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the bottle so that the liquid doesn’t later bubble out.

Next add a couple of drops of food coloring of your child’s choice into each bottle.

Have your child gently shake up the bottle and then set it back on the counter. Have the child watch the water and oil separate. This is the first science lesson for this activity. You can explain to your child that water is denser than oil, which causes it to sink to the bottom of the bottle with the oil remaining on top.

Now for the fun part. Take an Alka Seltzer tablet and cut it into several pieces. You only need about a quarter of a tablet per bottle.

Let your child place a piece of a tablet into one of the bottles of oil and water. Leave the cap off of the bottle as the tablets react with the liquid. The bottle should now start to resemble a “lava lamp” with bubbles floating to the top of the bottle.

Make sure not to place too much Alka Seltzer in the bottle. If you put in too much, the water will get really cloudy and it will lessen the desired effect.

Explain to your child that the gas created by the Alka Seltzer is less dense than both the water and the oil, causing it to rise to the top of the bottle. The reaction caused by the Alka Seltzer tablets is similar to the effect you see when you create your own volcano out of baking soda and vinegar (your next science experiment!?)

When your child is done looking at the lava lamp you can place the cap back on the bottle and put it away for another day. When you get it back out just add another piece of Alka Seltzer tablet and the lava lamp will start up again.

If you want your lava lamp to light up, then look for an LED push light. You can often find these with the flashlights. Just push the light to turn it on and set the bottle on top.

Science experiments don’t have to be boring. With a little creativity and imagination you and your child can have fun this summer learning new things together and having fun spending time together too.

Michael Liam is a professional blogger that provides information on after school care. She writes for The Learning Experience, a leading after school program with locations nationwide.

4 Fun Camping Recipes for Kids

by Seth Walters

Every summer millions of families head to the mountains to spend time camping and relaxing with their families. A big part of getting ready to go camping is deciding what foods to bring along. Hot dogs and s’mores are popular options, but here are some fun new recipes that your whole family will enjoy.

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Walking Tacos

If your family enjoys tacos, then they will really enjoy the camping version of this favorite recipe.


1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
Grated cheese
Black olives (optional)
Sour cream or ranch salad dressing
Single size servings of Fritos

You can either prepare the taco meat ahead of time or prepare it while you are camping. Brown the ground beef and add the taco seasoning and water according to the directions on the seasoning package. If you have prepared it ahead of time you will just need to heat it up again.

Set out the taco meat, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, black olives, and sour cream or ranch salad dressing.

Give each member of the family a bag of Fritos and have them make their own “walking taco” by adding the ingredients of their choice to their bag. All you need is a fork, and dinner is served!

Note: For an even easier meal, you can substitute warmed up chili for the taco meat.

campfire banana boats

Campfire Nachos

These nachos are a great quick snack for camping trips. One recipe makes enough nachos for 2 to 3 people.


Tortilla chips
Grated cheese
Chili (optional)
Black olives (optional)

To prepare this recipe you will also need aluminum pie pans and aluminum foil.

Arrange the tortilla chips, cheese, chili, and black olives in an aluminum pie pan. Cover with foil. Set the pan on a grill or in the coals of the campfire. Avoid direct heat or chips will burn quickly. You just want to heat them up until the cheese melts.

Banana Boats

These banana boats make a fun camping dessert. Your kids will have a fun time helping make them.


Banana for each person
Mini marshmallows
Butterscotch or chocolate chips

Slit open each banana, leaving about a half inch at each end of the banana. Carefully pull the peel apart, creating a “pocket” to put the goodies in.

Have each person place marshmallows and butterscotch or chocolate chips into their banana.

Wrap each banana in foil. These can be grilled on a barbecue or set in the coals of a campfire. Heat just until marshmallows have melted and enjoy.

Brownie Oranges

This is a fun activity for older children. Younger children will need help from an adult.

To prepare this recipe you will need an orange for each person and one brownie mix.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the directions on the package.

Cut the top 1/3 off each orange, setting the tops aside. Have everyone scoop out the insides of their orange, taking care not to rip the orange peel.

Fill each empty orange 2/3 full with prepared brownie mix. Carefully put the tops back on the oranges and wrap them in foil.

Place the oranges in the campfire coals and cover them completely with the coals to allow them to “bake”. Check oranges after 20 minutes to see if the brownies are completely baked.

Let cool for several minutes before serving.

Camping is a great time to try new recipes. The great outdoors has a way of making you work up an appetite. Get out there and go camping with your family, and try one of these fun, easy recipes today.

Seth Walters is a professional blogger that enjoys writing for about Alabama deer hunting, fishing and camping.

Four Swimming Pool Games for Summer

by Lisa Weathers

Are you planning to have a pool party this summer? Whether for a birthday party, graduation, anniversary, or just a big get together of family and friends, pool parties are a fun way to keep cool and spend time together during the summer. Here are some fun pool games to keep the kids busy and entertained while adults visit during the party.

Pool Noodle Joust

Give two children each a blow up air mattress and a pool noodle. Place the two children in the center of the pool and let them use the pool noodles to “joust” each other until they fall off their air mattress. Whoever stays on their air mattress longest wins. Whoever wins the first match gets to play a new player in the next match.

Hidden Treasure

Scatter pennies all over the bottom of the swimming pool and let the kids dive for them and see who uncovers the most hidden treasure. If this is too easy for older children, then have them bring each coin to the side of the pool before they dive down for the next coin. You can also set a time limit and whoever gets the most coins during the designated time wins.

swimming pool games


Have one child stand in the center of the swimming pool and have all the other children stand against one end of the pool.

The object of the game is for the children to swim across the pool without the “octopus” tagging them. If a child is tagged, then they have to hold hands with the octopus, becoming one of the octupus’ arms, and help tag other children.

The octopus grows bigger and bigger until one child remains untagged. That child wins the game.

Have the child who wins the first game be the octopus for the next game.

Water Freeze Tag

Designate one child to be “it”. The child who is it swims around and tries to tag other children. If a child is tagged they become frozen and cannot move until another child unfreezes them.

A person can be unfrozen if another player swims beneath the frozen person’s legs.

The object of the game is for the person who is it to tag all the other players before they can be unfrozen. After everyone is frozen, the game is over and the game can be played again with a new person chosen to be “it”.

Beach Ball Relay

Divide the children into two teams and give each team a beach ball. The object of the game is for the first player of each team to push their beach ball across the swimming pool and back using only their foreheads. Then it is the next person in line’s turn to swim across the pool and back.

Whichever team sends all their players across the pool and back first wins the game.

Pool games are great fun and a great addition to any summer party. Just keep in mind that with lots of kids in the pool at one time accidents can and will happen. Children of any age should be supervised at all times while swimming. Make sure swimming safety rules are posted and observed by party guests to ensure a fun time for all.