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

Ten Easy Snacks for Summertime Fun

Easy Summer SnacksSkip the pre-packaged unhealthy snacks, and try these 10 easy and nutritious summer snack ideas.

It’s that time of year again. School is out, and kids are making plans for summer adventures – which will naturally include snacks.

Check out the 10 fun, summertime snack ideas below. Some will take a little more prep time, but once they are done, they will be easy for kids to grab out of the freezer so they can be on the way to their next adventure.

  1. Frozen grapesThis is a simple yet tasty snack, and red grapes tend to work best. Pull grapes off the vine, toss them into a freezer bag and freeze. When your kids ask for a popsicle or snow cone, give them a handful of frozen grapes in a cup instead. Better yet, fill an ice-cream cone with grapes, and they can also eat the container!
  2. Watermelon balls – Eating watermelon in the summer is always refreshing, not to mention, it has water to keep your kiddos from getting dehydrated. Rather than just giving a slice or a chunk of watermelon to your kids, grab a melon baller and make little balls. Let them help you so they can take part in making a healthy snack. They can even put them on a skewer for serving.
  3. Homemade fruit roll-ups – Nearly every kid loves fruit roll-ups. Homemade roll-ups are even better AND are very simple. Choose 4 cups of your favorite fruit and puree. You can add a little sugar if desired. This will make enough for two pans. Spread half of the puree until it is about ⅛-inch thick in a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Spread the other half in the second pan. Bake at 175 F for 3-4 hours. Make sure the fruit doesn’t become burned or too crispy. Once done, pull the parchment paper with the dried fruit out of the pan. Transfer the dried fruit to wax paper, roll up and cut into 1 to 2-inch strips. Store in an air-tight container or freeze.
  4. Ants on a log – This classic treat has always been an easy “go to” for parents. It is also fun for children to eat. All it requires is celery, peanut butter and raisins or dried cranberries. Cut the celery into 3-inch long sticks, fill the center with peanut butter, place the dried fruit along the peanut butter and Voila! A healthy snack.
  5. Cheese, olives and crackers – This may be the simplest snack out there. Grab a plate and cut some cheese sticks, slices or cubes, open up a can of olives and a sleeve of crackers. Kids can combine the three into a sandwich or eat them individually. Or use toothpicks as a skewer and put small chunks of cheese and olives on them.
  6. Strawberry yogurt popsicles – These are a healthy alternative to popsicles filled with sugar. To make this treat, cut tops off the strawberries, and puree the fruit. Using a popsicle mold, layer pureed strawberries with vanilla yogurt. Put in the freezer overnight and freeze. The next day you have a healthy and refreshing frozen treat.
  7. Ham and cheese pretzel bites – Kids can help with this hearty snack. Roll cheese up into ham, cut into 1-inch long “bites,” and push a straight pretzel through the side of the roll to hold it all together.
  8. Butterfly quesadillas – This snack gets in many of the food groups and is as cute as a button to make. Start by making a simple quesadilla. Cut the quesadilla into quarters. Using two of the quarters, turn them so the points touch. Use grapes lined up to make the body of the butterfly and straight pretzels for the antennae.
  9. Baked apple chips – This snack requires a bit of preparation, but it stores easily for later snacking. Core an apple and cut it into thin slices (the thinner the better – preferably 1/16-inch  thick). Place apple slices so they are not overlapping on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200 F for 2 hours. After one hour, turn the apple slices over and bake for another hour. Once they are done, let cool and enjoy.
  10. Peanut butter and chocolate chip oatmeal energy balls – These energy balls are simple, easy to make, easy to store and require no baking! The recipe below makes about 12 oatmeal energy balls.


  • 1 cup dry oats
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • Dash of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla, optional


In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients, and stir to combine well. The mixture should be a bit sticky. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Use a spoon to scoop about a tablespoon of the cookie ball mixture into your hand. Roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Store the balls covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for much longer.


So there you have it. Ten easy, fun snacks that will keep your children healthy and happy. Have a great summer, and happy snacking!


This article was written by Summer Hansen, USU Extension intern, Box Elder County

Resources: https://www.blessthismessplease.com/2017/03/8-no-bake-oatmeal-energy-balls.html?m


Summertime Family Fun – Part 2

Summertime Family Fun Pt 2.jpg

In Part 1 of this post, we talked about the importance of family activities and how to ensure their success with ground rules. We also shared five activity ideas. As promised, here are 10 more ideas to get your family out and having fun this summer.


10 Summertime Activities for Families

  1. Get sporty. Play basketball, tag, catch, Frisbee, croquet or try something new like pickleball, boccie balls, etc.
  2. Treasure hunt. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are literally millions of geocaches hidden around the world. Use the GPS on your cell phone or GPS unit to find geocaches near your house or wherever you may be traveling this summer. See https://www.geocaching.com/play for more information.
  3. Go global. Attend a travel show or request travel brochures from places you want to visit and then create a poster of fun places to visit someday. Pick one of the places you want to go and do something you might do if you were there (eat gelato, talk with an accent for the afternoon, have a family tea party, etc.)
  4. Join the community. Check out community calendars for free concerts or movies in the park or library.
  5. Get artistic. Get out the colored pencils and paint or get crafty with glue and glitter, beads or any other craft supplies you have. Share your talents in a family art show. For younger kids, finger paint with pudding or play with edible Play Doh.
  6. Eat the fun. Have a fondue party, invent your own new smoothie or pizza flavors, make ice cream sundaes or create other food items where everyone can participate.
  7. Find the “best of” your community. Try out different playgrounds, ice cream shops, swimming pools, etc. (whatever your family enjoys), then rate each one to find the “best” of each category.
  8. Get wet. Spend the day at a local pool, splash pad or water park. Or, play with water in your own backyard. Don’t forget the squirt guns, water balloons and painting the sidewalk with water.
  9. Become a tourist in your own city. Although you probably avoid tourist places in your own community, take a day to pretend you are tourists and go to the places they would go. Dress and act like tourists. Be sure to take pictures.
  10. Learn something new. Providing educational experiences in the summer will help to keep your kids sharp. Have a read-a-thon, go to educational summer programs at the library or start at 4-H club (FREE and easy to use curriculum available at http://utah4h.org/discover/).


The Challenge

Take action! Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to brainstorm three ideas that would be fun to do with your family this summer (yes, right now!). Now text, email or write it down and share it with your family in the next 24 hours. Then have them share ideas of their own.


Read Summertime Family Fun- Part 1.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County

Summertime Family Fun – Part 1

Summertime Family Fun Graphic

Spending time with family is important, but it can also be fun! We’ve got some great ideas to make your family time fun and memorable in this two-part Summertime Family Fun article. Check out Part 2 for 10 more ideas for family activities.  


Family Time

What are your favorite memories from your childhood? Most likely they revolved around spending time with those you love.

Because it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, it is important to be intentional about creating time and experiences together (or it may not happen). According to family expert, William Doherty, families that are intentional about connecting with each other through traditions, special occasions and everyday rituals (such as having family dinnertime) are more likely to create and build strong bonds with each other that will last a lifetime. What fun things can you do with family members this summer to connect and create memories?

Ground Rules

Start by creating ground rules as a family such as:

Make a plan. Pick an activity and set a date and time to do it. If you like to be a bit more spontaneous, just plan the date and time and then randomly select ideas from a jar of fun activity ideas that you have chosen together. Be sure to take turns selecting the activity so everyone can participate.

Focus on each other. This is about connecting with each other; friends, work and other distractions can wait. Having a no electronics rule may help to reinforce this.

Keep it simple. Spending time together doesn’t have to be elaborate or require a lot of time or energy. For those with small children, going to a park together or writing on the sidewalk with chalk can be just as much fun as doing something that requires far more effort.

 Get ready…get set…play!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Pick a theme and do activities related to the theme. For example, go to a museum to see unique rocks, then go on a hike and collect some of your own. Or go to a car show, then set up a race track at home for matchbox cars.
  2. Get outdoors. Have a picture nature scavenger hunt, track the phases of the moon, go on a hike, have a picnic in the backyard, fly a kite, blow bubbles together or anything else to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  3. Share your talents. Write new lyrics to familiar tunes, create your own dances to favorite songs or host your own Olympics with unique events such as an obstacle course, miniature golf or javelin (foam noodle) toss. Award prizes.
  4. Get board. Have a board game party or put a puzzle together.
  5. Camp in your backyard. Find constellations, tell stories or make shadow puppets on the side of the tent or house. If you have a fire pit, light a fire and roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If not, improvise using a gas stove, barbeque or microwave.


Check out Summertime Family Fun – Part 2, and see 10 more great ideas for summertime family fun!

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County

Reference: Doherty, William (1997). The intentional family: Simple rituals to strengthen family ties. HarperCollins: New York, NY.

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

10 tips for positive parenting

Author – Joanne Roueche

10 tips for positive parenting - LIveWellUtah.org

“Spring has sprung” and the kids are out of school, or soon will be. It is a time of year that comes with new beginnings — the beginning of summer sports, more family time and a more relaxed routine. It also comes with new challenges, including, “Hey Mom, I’m bored!”

As parents, we want to provide a memorable summer filled with fun and educational opportunities for our children. The following positive parenting techniques have been used by the Child Welfare League of America to provide parents with information needed to make parenting more enjoyable and effective.

1. Appreciate the value of play. Play is a child’s work. It is a valuable tool that teaches children about the world around them. Creative, unstructured play is being lost in our society.

2. Talk with and listen to your child. Be aware of the verbal and non-verbal messages you send to your child.

3. Build your child’s brain and body. Enjoy the summer’s harvest with fresh, healthy snacks and family meals. Enjoy the out of doors while providing educational opportunities visiting state parks, museums, libraries and zoos.

4. Be your child’s first source of information. Encourage your child to ask questions and provide him or her with an honest answer. Your openness and honesty will create a relationship of mutual trust and respect.

5. Learn how children develop, and know your unique child. No one knows your child like you do. Support all areas or your child’s development, including physical, intellectual, social, emotional and moral.

6. Cherish your child’s individuality. Spend time alone every day with your child sup-porting his or her interests and talents.

7. Organize your home for success. Teach good safety habits and establish daily routines. Enforce family rules, for example, everyone putting their dishes in the dishwasher after dinner.

8. Take care of yourself. If you are not feeling well, you cannot be an effective parent. Eat healthy, get enough sleep and take an occasional break from parenting.

9. Make time for family activities. Enjoying family activities creates a sense of belonging.

10. Teach your child right from wrong. Lay the groundwork for your child to develop a strong moral code.

We created a fun summer journal by covering a composition notebook with scrapbook paper, adding embellishments and inserting the “Ten Tips for Positive Parenting” on the inside cover. Our goal is to create memories from each area throughout the summer.

“If you want your child to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.”

~Abigail Van Buren~

Roeche, JoanneJoanne Roeche – Associate Professor, USU Extension