summer fun

Staycation: Messy Summer Fun for Families

Summer is in full swing: long sunny days where the sun doesn’t set until late in the evening, and lots of hours to fill entertaining little ones. In some Scandinavian countries, in fact, the sun barely sets at all during July!

But never fear, we have LOTS of great ideas on how to fill those summer hours with plenty of messy summer fun for families, with the added bonus of a small price tag to boot.

In this round up, we have messy projects – the kind kids love, and parents are usually afraid of – but all of these are easily cleaned up as long as they’re done outside. Whether you have a balcony, picnic table in the park, or a grassy yard, we’ve got some messy fun for everyone!


Fun Foam Twister

What you’ll need:

  • * Plastic Twister board
  • * Foam soap in a variety of colors or shaving cream and food dye

Honestly, Twister is fun in any season. But you can amp up the laughs for your little ones by using colored foam soap (look for kid-friendly versions usually used in the bathtub) that coordinates with the colored circles on the board. Fill in each circle with the soap.

Then play away! This is guaranteed to be slippery, squeal-worthy, laugh-out-loud fun.

(Can't find foam soap? Simply buy shaving cream, dispense into bowls, then add drops of food coloring to create colored soap foam. Warning: this version may stain light clothing.)

Finish up the game by having everyone run through the sprinklers, hose, or even the shower to clean off.


Are your kids too young to know left from right? Use a washable marker to make a red circle on their right hand to differentiate the two.

Make it a bilingual, or trilingual, game by using a language such as French to yell out commands.

Here’s a quick French Twister cheat sheet:

  • Right— Droite
  • Left— Gauche
  • Circle— Cercle
  • Foot— Pied
  • Hand— Main
  • Red— Rouge
  • Blue— Bleu
  • Yellow— Jaune
  • Green— Vert

Ice fossil hunt

What you’ll need:

  • *Large plastic bowl
  • *Cooking Spray
  • *Small toys
  • *Water
  • *Plastic and/or wooden spoons

Note: Make sure you start this one the night before so you’re ready to play on a hot day:

Take a large plastic bowl (make sure it will fit in your freezer) and spray with cooking spray.

Then add an assortment of small plastic and rubber toys; think: dinosaurs, rubber duckies, anything you’d get in a party gift bag or at an arcade.

Then fill the bowl with water and freeze overnight.

The next day, take the bowl to any outdoor location. Unmold (this should be easy after the cooking spray). Hand out plastic or wooden spoons to the kids and let them dig for treasure.

Good, cold, wet fun!

DIY Slime

OK, you’re probably not going to like this one as much as your kids are – but remember, do this outside and clean up will be a breeze (consider lining whatever table you’re using with newspaper or wax paper).

There are a number of DIY Slime recipes around, but the ones that make plastic-y slime usually contain Borax, which isn’t safe for little mouths. This recipe is completely edible (although we don’t recommend eating it – yuck!), and plenty of fun to play with, too.

What you’ll need:

  • Plastic bowls
  • Water
  • Cornstarch
  • Food coloring

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 cup of water. Mix until you have a good and slimy mixture.

Add 1 to 3 drops of food coloring (classic green is always a great starting point).

Repeat with other colors.

Then play away.