Summertime Squeeze: 3 Activities to Enjoy Before Summer Ends

I like to think of these dwindling warm days we’ve been having lately as the Summertime Squeeze: Like a fast-dripping ice cream cone on a 100 degree day, we try to savor every bit of these beautiful days as they quickly slip out of our hands. We Iowans know that once fall hits, it’s just a fast down-hill slide until Christmas, and it will be a long wait until we see the daffodils and crocuses poking through in the spring. Summer might have come to an official end, but there’s still a lot of fun in the sun to be had on these beautiful fall days ahead of us!

Here are three activities you just simply must fit in to your schedules with your kiddos before Halloween arrives, to help squeeze the last juicy goodness out of summer!

Tin-Foil River

This is so easy it’s almost ridiculous. Take a loooong piece of tin foil (I think it’s technically called aluminum foil, but I grew up calling it tinfoil, and tinfoil it shall remain) and lay it down on a hill. Any kind of hill. Your kids can help fold the edges up so that the river has some banks to contain the water, and place some rocks here and there in your river to weigh the tinfoil down and make some nice waterfalls and eddies and such. Put your hose at the top of the river and turn it on just a trickle.

It probably won’t work right the first time, and the water will spill out of the sides, or get stuck and make a reservoir instead of a river, but that’s the whole fun of it. Your kids can use trial and error to make the perfect river, learn a whole lot about fluid dynamics and gravity, and have a ton of fun in the process! Bonus: add some rubber duckies or floating fish and see if they can make it down the river.


summertime squeeze summer activities

Sidewalk Chalk Spray Paint!

I’m a sucker for clear plastic containers. I save peanut butter and mayonnaise jars because there is literally no end to the uses for a good translucent container with a lid. Take a clear container and give it a spray nozzle? OOooo doggies, you’ve got me hooked! Kids tend to agree with me on this. Sidewalk chalk paint: Summer in a spray bottle!

So find some clear spray bottles (I found mine from the Discount School Supply online catalog) and have your kids help you make this recipe:

summertime squeeze summer activities
See, isn’t that pretty?!


Print Recipe
Sidewalk Chalk Spray Paint
  1. Mix cornstarch and water to make clumps disappear. Mix in paint and dish soap. Pour it into your spray bottle and shake well. Repeat for however many colors/bottles you want! Spray paint your driveway and sidewalks! Spray with a hose to remove.
Recipe Notes

Note: the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the bottles if you let them sit. So either have one awesome spray-painting extravaganza and use up all the paint, or plan to do a lot of shaking the next time you try to use them.

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summertime squeeze summer activities

Bob for Apples

There is just something so wholesome about participating in an old-fashioned activity. It might not be one of those overwhelmingly clever activities that will impress the mommy masterminds on Pinterest, but this is something your great-grandma used to do. Like knitting, slow food, and making jam, bobbing for apples is good for the soul. It’ll also make your kiddos giggle like crazy. So head on out to Wilson’s Orchard–if you hurry, there might be some Song of September apples left!–and pick yourself a basket or two. (Hint: make sure some of them have long stems; they will come in handy for your small-mouthed friends!)

Back at the ranch (everyone lives on a ranch when you’re participating in old-tymey games), fill up a bucket or bowl with water and toss in some apples. Each person takes turns trying to retrieve an apple from the bucket, using only their mouth, with hands behind their back. You can also make your kids call you Ma for the rest of the day, because you are now a little mama on the prairie. Isn’t that fun?

summertime squeeze summer activities

We’ve got to squeeze every last drop of sunshine out of these golden days of fall. We’ll be bundled up in coats and boots before you know it!

Give at least one of these activities a try, and leave a comment to let me know how it goes.

Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


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