Photo: ThinkstockBy Leigh Newman
Binocular Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of outdoor things you can see from various windows, using-surprise- binoculars. Be sure to vary the items from the teeny-tiny (say, a broken but beautiful bit of green glass) to the exceptionally large (say, an oak tree in the shape of a jolly giant), as well as from the very far to the very near. The first child who checks off every item on the list as "spotted" gets a prize. Our favorite reward: freedom from sharing toys for 15 minutes.
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Paper Airplane Relays
Step 1: Make a respectable and earth-friendly airplane from a piece of previously drawn-on paper.
Step 2: Elevate the kids by lifting them onto your shoulders, standing them on a bed or perching them on a counter (with supervision).
Step 3: A long, elaborate countdown with extended, fantastical drumrolls. The plane that flies the farthest without breaking a lamp wins.
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Plantable Greeting Cards
This craft goes way, way beyond lanyards or macaroni-shell pencil holders. Make your own paper with seeds mixed into it. Next, use the paper to make a card. Then send the card to one of your children's friends who can plant it directly into the ground-provided, as a courtesy to his mother, that he does it after the rain has stopped.
Shoot Your Own MovieThere are really only three acceptable plots: robbers, ghosts or Daddy slipping on a banana peel.
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Family Fashion Show
Each person in the family draws the name of another out of a hat. Everybody dresses up in the clothes and accessories of the person they picked, then saunters down the catwalk, posing wildly, while Mom takes pictures with the camera set to flash. Added fun: Include the family pets...unless Grandmother is involved. Grandma does not swap clothes with the dog. Grandma does not wear a leash.
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