August Bucket List // 31 Days of Fun

August Bucket ListSummer is almost over, but there’s still time to do a few more fun things with your family. Check out this list for inspiration.

  1. Visit your county fair – see the animals and all the fun exhibits youth and adults have made.
  2. Make your own bubbles and have a family bubbles contest.
  3. Go fishing at the urban fishery or a lake.
  4. Go to a concert in the park.
  5. Take a drive to see the beauties of nature.
  6. Go to the park and throw frisbees.
  7. Make kites and fly them at the park.
  8. Go to a garden or orchard and pick your favorite vegetables or fruit, or visit the farmers market and bring some new food home to try.
  9. Make homemade ice cream in a bag or a can.
  10. Go on a smartphone scavenger hunt in your neighborhood – let everyone come up with items to find.
  11. Interview a family member about what he or she did for fun as a kid.
  12. Make your own pizzas together.
  13. Pick your favorite family movie and watch it together.
  14. Make your own family crest or other family art project that you can hang in your home.
  15. Take a trip to the library and have everyone select a children’s book to read at home.
  16. Go for a hike in a park or somewhere you have always wanted to see.
  17. Visit the zoo or bird refuge.
  18. Take a walking tour to see historical sites in your town.
  19. Visit an area museum.
  20. Watch the sunset together.
  21. Go camping…even in your backyard.
  22. Play croquet or other fun lawn games.
  23. Go on a geocaching adventure near you home.
  24. Make your favorite float – with ice cream and root beer or your favorite flavor of soda – maybe after “Back to School” night.
  25. Have a water balloon fight or squirt gun duel.
  26. Go on a bike ride as a family.
  27. Make an obstacle course and invite the neighbors for an evening of fun.
  28. Have a neighborhood “unbirthday party” for everyone.
  29. Make cookies together and deliver them as a surprise to a neighbor.
  30. Make your own bowling alley in the back yard using cans or soda pop bottles and balls.
  31. Have a hoola hoop contest with your family and friends.

This list was compiled by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Associate Professor, Salt Lake County

Get Ready, Get Set, Play!

get ready get set play

Take time to play together as a family this summer. Try these tips to make sure everyone has fun.

You’ve probably heard that a family that plays together stays together. It’s true! Here’s a glimpse of what research tells us about why playing together is not only fun, but good for our relationships:

  •      Play teaches us about ourselves and each other.
  •      Play can be therapeutic.
  •      Shared laughter creates a bond.
  •      Humor breaks down walls.
  •      Play can build trust.


Since there are so many things you can do this summer, consider a few basic tips when planning to make sure everyone has fun.

Use a calendar. Be sure to schedule the fun in advance or the summer might just unintentionally slip by.

Get everyone involved. Have every family member suggest ideas for activities and take turns choosing what to do. Be open minded and try new things.

Keep it light. Too much competition can create hurt feelings. Try playing a new game that no one has skills for. Play just for fun and don’t keep score.

Get active. Be sure to include outside activities that get you moving so you can enjoy the great outdoors together.

Focus on each other. Set boundaries for electronic use so you can focus on connecting with each other.

Keep it simple. Having fun together doesn’t need to take a lot of planning or money. For a list of fun ideas, click here .

This Article was written by Naomi Brower, Utah State University Extension professor

Math Brain Games

Math Brain GamesMom and Dad may be ready for school to start again, but are your kids ready to trade in their pool towels for pencils and notebooks? Get their math brains going with these sidewalk chalk math games.

Sidewalk Chalk Hopscotch Math Games

Step 1 – Draw a large 5 x 5 grid on the ground using chalk.

Step 2 – Fill the squares with the numbers 1 to 25 randomly.

Step 3 – Gather children ages 3 to 9 and get hopping! Try the following hopping games to reinforce and practice arithmetic skills:

  • Number Sequencing – Hop on each number in order from 1 through 5, then 1 through 10, then 1 through 15, then 20 and then 25.
  • Odd/Even Numbers – Hop on the odd or even numbers in order.
  • Pre-subtraction – Hop on each number from 5 through 1, then 10 through 1, then 15, 20 and 25 through 1.
  • Addition – Start at 1 then add 2 each time, then 3, 4 etc. Repeat starting at 2, then 3 etc.
  • Subtraction – Start at 10, then subtract 2 each time, then 3, then 4. Repeat starting at 15, 20 and 25.
  • Times Tables – Hop through the 2, 3, 4 and 5 times tables.

For each game, start with easy questions so your children get a chance to enjoy the hopping and get some oxygen to their brains before tackling the harder questions. Stop while they’re still enjoying it. For easier games, try a 3 x 3 or a 4 x 4 grid. For math whizzes, try a 10 x 10 grid (but only if they draw it out themselves).  (Source: http://imaginationsoup.net?2011/03/17/hopscotch-math/)

Sidewalk Chalk Dice Game 

Draw 12 circles and write the number inside each one up to 12.  Then let your kids throw dice and add them up, and hop as many spaces as they rolled.

 Sidewalk Chalk Calculator Game

Draw an oversized calculator with chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.  To play, a person throws a stone on the calculator to indicate the number you have to jump to.  When you jump on the number on the calculator you have to figure out how to make the number (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). For example, if the stone lands on 4, then you hop to the 2 and then multiplication sign, jump to 2 and then jump to the equal sign and hop back to the 4.
(Source: http://eisforexplore.blogspot.com/2012/05/kid-calculator.html?m=1)

Sidewalk Chalk Subtraction Game

Gather two bean bags and write numbers 1 through 25 on the sidewalk. Throw bean bags on two numbers and subtract the smaller number from the larger one to get the score for the round.
(Source: at:http://www.education.com/activity/article/sidewalk-chalk-subtraction/)

This article was written by Marilyn Albertson –USU Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County

Ask an Expert: Four Tips for Summer Safety

4 tips for summer safety graphic

Stay safe this summer! Check out these four ways to keep yourself and your family safe. 

Now that school is out, many families are heading outdoors for recreation and activities. Whether in the water or hills, the ballfield or backyard, precautionary measures should be taken so kids and all family members are safe from sun, insects and injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a portion of their website dedicated to family health. A summary of their tips for family summer safety are included below. For additional information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/family/kids/summer/.

Tip 1. Master water safety.

Swimming in the pool and playing in the sprinklers are favorite summer activities. However, drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4. Water safety tips from CDC include:

  • Always supervise children in or around water. A responsible adult should constantly watch young children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Learn CPR. Knowing this skill can be critical in a time of need.
  • Install a four-sided fence around home pools.
  • When boating, always wear a properly fitted life jacket.

Tip 2: Beat the heat and sun.

Overheating and sunstroke can occur in healthy children, youth and adults if they participate in strenuous activities during hot weather. If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, move him or her to a cool location and seek medical help. A list of specific signs is included on the CDC website. To avoid over-heating:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Schedule outdoor activities in the morning and evening hours.
  • Keep cool with cool showers or baths.

Also, just a few serious sunburns can lead to skin cancer in the years ahead. Tanning is the skin’s way of trying to protect itself from harmful UV rays from the sun. To prevent sunburn:

  • Cover up. Clothing that covers the skin helps protect against UV rays.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you and your child go outside.

Tip 3: Keep ticks and mosquitos from causing harm.

Protect yourself and your family from bites and diseases. Zika, West Nile Virus and Lyme disease can all be transmitted by insects. To help with protection:

  • Use an effective insect repellent. Products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 as well as some natural oils provide long-lasting protection.
  • Some pesticides (acaricides) can reduce the number of ticks, but these should not be relied on for providing full protection.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks after being outdoors, especially if you have been camping or hiking. Instructions for effectively removing ticks are available on the CDC website.

Tip 4: Prevent injuries.

Nearly everyone is more active and spends more time outdoors this time of year. Falls at home and on the playground are common sources of injuries and visits to the emergency room. To avoid injury:

  • Make certain playgrounds are well maintained and have soft landing spots underneath.
  • When participating in summer sports, be sure appropriate protective gear is used.
  • Parents and teens should be able to perform basic first aid.


Enjoy fun in the sun, but remember to make safety a top priority so that summer is incident and accident free.

 By: Kathleen Riggs, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences professor, kathleen.riggs@usu.edu or 435-586-8132

No More School

School's Out

“No more teachers, no more school, summer time will be real cool.” Yes, your kids may be feeling this way as the school year finishes up.  Kids are excited to leave their books behind and look forward to a “lazy” summer of fun.  Waiting for summer to come is much like waiting for Christmas; you just can’t wait until it gets here.

Keep Your Kids Busy

Now that summertime is here with longer days, what are the kids going to do?  Research shows that kids who have learning projects, reading activities and group involvement activities run a much lower risk for education regression or involvement in risky behaviors.  All of us want our children to be successful, productive and happy, but it won’t just happen. Parents need to provide direction for summertime activities.  Making summer plans with your youth will create positive relationships and positive growth during the summer months.

Family Activities

There are many opportunities for youth during the summer months.  Most families do plan for recreational activities, some traveling and day activities.  Summer outings are excellent opportunities for families to enjoy one another.  Picnics, games, sight seeing and road trips make memorable experiences that have lasting effects. Camping is considered one of the best family activities, as it encourages all family members to work together to set up the camp and the experience.

Learning Activities

Learning activities are always encouraged for summer growth.  Summer camps and youth programs offer a wide range of activities and excellent opportunities for youth and adult relationships.  The world’s largest youth group is the 4-H organization.  The 4-H organization is strong world wide, nationally and certainly in Utah through Utah State University Extension.  All Utah counties provide strong 4-H youth program with clubs, camps, youth development and leader involvement.

Play Together

However you choose to spend this summer, take the time to do some quality family activities.  Families that “play” together, stay together.  It’s as simple as that.  Try to plan for 5-6 hours of quality time together a week and you will keep your family relationships strong.  Yes, “school is done, books are put away, and it is time for family fun today.”

This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Family Consumer Science Professor, carolyn.washburn@usu.edu.

Summer Isn’t Over! // 4 Simple Ways to Connect with Your Kids

Connect With Your Kids Feature

Summer isn’t over yet! These last few weeks of summer are the perfect time to have fun and connect with your kiddos.

The Four E’s of Summer

Summer is almost over, which means kids still need activities to keep them busy, and school isn’t too far in the future. Consider the following steps that will help you to create healthy, productive and, above all, fun activities for your children.

1. Encourage Proper Nutrition.
The risk of childhood obesity and other health factors can be combated with proper eating habits. Give your children plenty of encouragement to stay healthy this summer. One activity that is great for encouraging proper nutrition (and it also helps build strong relationships by working side-by-side on a task) is gardening. Take your children to a local garden nursery and choose fruits and vegetables to plant in your garden. As you describe how the plant will look and how the fruit of the plant will taste, allow your child to pick the fruit or vegetable. When children are involved in the planting, growing and harvesting process their knowledge of healthy eating habits are greatly increased. Another great activity is preparing healthy foods and meals. Include your children in menu planning, grocery shopping, as well as food preparation for making delicious meals. Check out eatwellutah.org and extension.usu.edu/foodsense for more healthy eating ideas.

2. Enhance Creativity.
Creativity is a very important process that helps a child gain powerful problem solving skills as well as exploring different ideas. Creativity can also lead to discovering hidden talents. A perfect activity to enhance your child’s creativity are crafts or DIY activities such as home and yard décor. Create different types of décor alongside your child, such as painting stepping stones or miniature figurines that can be placed in the home, flower beds, or gardens.
Remember an important part of creativity is allowing children to explore and play in a safe environment without restraints or distractions, with minimal guidance (i.e., let them get dirty and make a mess!). Use positivity as you accept and praise their creative projects, and limiting rejecting unusual ideas. Allow sufficient time for your child to explore all possibilities, moving from popular to more original ideas.

3. Encourage Mathematics’ and Literacy.
Math and literacy don’t need to wait for school. Did you know students can lose up to a 1/3 of the knowledge they gained during the school year? Help you student retain all that hard-earned knowledge. Encourage your child to participate in as much mathematic or literacy activities without overwhelming them. These activities can be anything that involve numbers, reading or writing, such as scavenger hunts, read-a-thons, cooking with recipes, library trips, or reading with your child for at least 20 minutes a day. Most local libraries provide lists of great read-aloud books for any ages, which can be a great source of entertainment for you and your children. By engaging your child in these activities, you are helping them to retain the knowledge they gained during the previous school year.

4. Extra Time with Your Child.
To some adults, packing a picnic or going to the park may not seem like the most exciting way to spend their afternoon, but to a child it can bring so much joy and excitement to their day as well as make them feel special. Spending extra time with their child can make all the difference in the social, mental and emotional health of your child.

If you’re unsure about what activity your child would like to participate in with you, simply ask them. Commit to your child and set aside time to participate in that activity. By spending a few extra minutes or hours, you’re guaranteeing a stronger and prolonged relationship with your child.


Check out these Pinterest Boards for more fun ideas!

Ways to Encourage Mathematics
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Places to Visit in Utah
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This article was written by Whitney Trapp, Family and Consumer Sciences summer intern and Melanie Jewkes.

melanie jewkes
Melanie Jewkes works part time in Salt Lake County and has worked for USU for 6 years. The best part of her job is learning and relearning some of the things that matter most–loving and caring for marriage and family, living within your means, and growing, cooking and eating delicious, nutritious food. She is married with two adorable children and lives in Taylorsville.


1. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/05/30/12-free-or-low-cost-summer-activities-for-your-kids
2. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/facts.htm
3. http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Creativity_Young/
4. http://pdk.sagepub.com/content/92/7/64.extract

Bubbles, Paint & Hopscotch – Exciting Activities for Summer

Author – Shayna Savage
Bubbles, Paint & Hopscotch! Exciting Activities for kids in

Summertime leaves a lot of room for exciting activities such as pool parties, summer campouts, family reunions and road trips. But what about the days before noon, early Monday afternoons and warm evenings? Not every day is filled with a planned event, and your children (and yourself) will be looking for creative ideas to entertain each other. These simple activities can be achieved inside or outside and are inexpensive — not to mention they can be excellent  learning experiences and  fun for all ages.

DIY Sidewalk chalk paint
1 cup of cornstarch
1 cup of water

Mix the above ingredients together. Divide the paint into three containers and add liquid watercolors until you get the color you desire. Use paintbrushes to paint on the sidewalk, and et dry.


Liquid Watercolor. Use watercolor palettes and drop each individual color chip into a small bottle of water and shake it to dissolve. This could substitute for all of the water in the recipe. Just split the powders and pour watercolor in accordingly. Food coloring or tempera paint could be options as well.

Fizzy Chalk. Use ½ cup of cornstarch and ½ cup of baking soda. Mix ingredients. Paint on sidewalk and let dry. Pour two packets of Kool-Aid into a spray bottle and fill with water. Spray onto dried sidewalk paint and watch the chemical reaction of an acid and a base. Found via LearnPlayImagine.

Chalk Paint Strings. Put a couple extra tablespoons of cornstarch in the mixture until it forms a solid when handled quickly and a liquid when left alone. Use spoons to scoop paint and pull it along in “strings.” When it is pulled it will be a solid, but when pulled slowly or left alone it will be a liquid and will spread out.

Dry Ice Bubbles. Pour warm, soapy water over a piece of dry ice in a bowl and watch as bubbles form. Pop the bubbles and observe the magic that occurs.

Hot Glue Rubbings. Cut a box or file folders into squares while glue gun heats. With the glue gun, draw letters, numbers, pictures, etc. on the squares and allow to dry. Let children lay plain paper over the picture and rub a crayon across to create the picture.

Soft as a Cloud Play Dough. Mix together 1 cup conditioner and 2 cups cornstarch. Add food coloring. Shape, mold and manipulate! Found via PagingFunMums.com.

Bubble Wrap Hopscotch. Cut bubble wrap into 10×10 inch squares and number them 1-10. Place the bubble wrap on the ground and play hopscotch!

Candy Science. Discover what happens when sour candy and baking soda are mixed together. Sour flavoring comes from citric acid and baking soda is a base. Pour a tiny amount of water over a piece of sour candy (sour patch kids, lemon heads, war heads etc.) in a cup; just enough to dissolve slightly. Pour a small amount of baking soda into the container and watch closely as a quick reaction occurs. Experiment with different scenarios.

Shayna SavageShayna Savage is a Utah State University family and consumer science intern in Salt Lake County.  She is currently majoring in family and consumer science education at Utah State University.  One of her creative skills is teaching kids and adult to sew.  She is conducting two 4-H Savvy Sewer Camps this summer.


Resource Roundup – Summer Activities and Camps

summer classes in Utah - livewellUtah.org

Summer time is here! It is a great time to relax and enjoy those “lazy” days! But before you know it, the kids’ boredom will set in, and you will begin hearing, “There’s nothing to do!” We have a few resources for you to put up your parenthood sleeve so you are prepared for those moments.


Summer camps are a GREAT way to keep your kids learning, exploring and creating in the summer time. Whether it’s a one-day camp or a week long, it gives the kids something to look forward to and be excited about.

Aggie Adventure Camps are offered all over the state of Utah. Click here  to find one in your area and get more details.

If you are in the Davis County area, one of the Aggie Adventure Camps offered is at the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville.  There are day camp options for kids as young as 5 years old all the way up to 11.

aggie adventure camps

Wayne Country residents can get creative each Tuesday at Craft and Create! Contact the USU Extension office in Wayne County or check out their Facebook page for project details and prices. They meet every Tuesday –-the sewing group meets at 10 a.m. and the crafting group meets at 4:30 p.m.

craft and create usu wayne county

USU Extension offers many classes, camps and events all summer long around the state. Here’s a handy calendar of summer events – click over – with the events broken out by day. It gets updated all the time too!


A quick way to cool off is to head to a splash pad! Enjoy Utah has a GREAT list of Splash pads around the state. Most are free, but check their list before heading out. Splash pads can be a day of fun, so pack a picnic and the sunscreen!

splash pads in utah

Summer reading and adventure go hand in hand with the Public Libraries Summer Reading Program. Based on a theme with special classes, attractions, hands-on crafts and more, your little ones will be entertained for free while sneaking in some of that good ol’ education. Check your local library to see what it is offering and when the special events are.

2014 summer reading handout (1)

Weekend FUN!

Utah Sweet Savings has compiled a big list of FREE OUTDOOR movies to enjoy this summer! Some of the cities offer them regularly and some only offer a few. Check out the list for outdoor movies from Northern to Southern Utah.

utah outdoor summer movie list

Weber County offers free admission to several of its museums, recreation parks, swimming pools and more through the RAMP program. Check the schedule here to see what events are free on Saturdays throughout the summer.

ramp saturdays in utah

What other free activities are available in your city/county for the summer? What can we add to our list to round out our summer fun? Let us know!