Sometimes the best activities create quite a mess, but don’t let the mess deter you from having lots of fun.
1. Dessert for dinner
Once a year get rid of all that healthy stuff and just eat dessert for dinner. Once the kids have their sugar crash, have a meal with your spouse…and enjoy having kids who won’t want candy for quite some time.
2. Family food fight
Soft foods like cake, mashed potatoes, cooled soup, chunks of bread, peas (etc) are perfect for this activity. It will create a huge mess, so be careful where you stage it – Outside is usually the best spot to do this. Be ready for lots of laughter and fun!
3. Marshmallow war
There are actual “marshmallow guns” but the PVC pipe versions are so much more fun and you can make them from home. Have a fun and sticky mess (and don’t eat all of your ammunition) with your family this week.
4. Mud football (or frisbee or soccer)
Any sport plus mud is loads of fun. Put on some old clothes and find a muddy field. It’s a good idea to have a hose nearby to wash yourself off afterwards, but beware: it’s almost guaranteed to turn into a water fight.
5. Flour war
It’s not just throwing flour at each other. Get nylon stockings and cut the foot off. Fill the foot with flour and then tie it off. You can play tag – or even better: capture the flag. It’s easy to tell if you have been tagged when there is white all over your black shirt. Remember that flour can make smooth surfaces slick, so have your flour war in a grassy field.
6. Rotten tomato war
This is great for those of you with a garden. Once a year, when an early frost comes or you just don’t get around to harvesting the tomatoes in time, make a fun game out of it.
7. Festival of Colors
This is a religious festival, but you don’t have to be religious to attend or to have your own colored chalk throw. The key is to wear white shirts, cover you mouth and eyes, buy lots of colors of chalk (the environmentally safe kind), and pack lots of wipes to clean yourself up after.
8. Cookie decorating
Never be afraid of this kind of yummy mess. It’s a great opportunity for children to be creative and sticky. To avoid too much of a mess grab some old newspapers or plastic wrap and cover the table and the ground around the table.
9. Painting rooms
Yes, you have to cover the floor and furniture, but your children will love personalizing their rooms, or at least helping you paint them.
10. Family science fair
Okay the volcano experiment is easy and fun, but there are lots of other experiments that will bring just as big of a smile on your children’s face. Who can say no to making mini hot air balloons or soda bottle rockets?
11. Cardboard boat race
Cardboard, duct tape and lots of fun. You can have a race in a pool, pond, lake or river. It’s quite fun to see what designs people come up with and how long the boat can stay afloat…make sure everyone is wearing life jackets!
12. Shaving cream slip-n-slide
You don’t need much to create this fun activity. A plastic painter’s sheet, some cheap shaving cream and, if you are really creative, food coloring. You can find instructions here. You can slip, slide and conserve water with this idea.