Want ideas for summer projects?

Easy to make, fun to play, now all it needs is a name.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post offers a few ideas for summer projects. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting click here.

Anna,11, is moving homes. She’s also moving schools, so her family has a lot of clearing out to do. The old school uniform has been passed on to a smaller pupil. The charity shops have enjoyed bags of toys and picture books. Not everything is going though – on her much-clearer desk is a game she and her granny made together in Russia (where both her grannies live). Last summer Anna’s Russian wasn’t as good as it is now so she’s still a bit vague about the name of this game – but it seems to be a version of Connect Four, or Battleships. The aim is to get all your coloured counters in a line of five (either horizontally, diagonally or vertically). It’s a good way to learn a new language and a genius way to improve your maths, and bond with relatives…

Anna folded up her game into an old chocolate box and took it home to London (on the plane) as a birthday present for her Mum.

How to make Russian Granny’s game

  • Make or find a piece of green felt about 30cm x 30cm. Then use a pen to mark out a grid (you could embroider the grid if you wanted to practice sewing). 12 x 12 equal-sized squares is enough.
  • Now cut out black counters to fit all the squares (12 x 12 = 144)
  • You also need to cut out the same number of white counters
  • Glue the counters together.

How to play Russian Granny’s game

  • It’s a game for two players.
  • The aim is to get five of your coloured counters in a straight line.
  • To start close your eyes, mix up all the counters, then without cheating arrange the counters on the board.
  • Choose your colour counter.
  • Now off you go: take turns to flip over one counter. You can flip over any counter on the board.
  • If you find doing this one counter at a time is too difficult to win, experiment – try turning two or three counters each go.

Good luck, and no fighting.

More summer projects
1 Learn a skill by making something

You could try making a woven basket from cut willow or hazel stems; pick strawberries and make jam; or get crafty on a sewing machine – if you can do a handkerchief how about trying something you can wear, such as a skirt or shorts?

2 Get growing
Radishes are your friend in the summer – and when growing food with children.

3 Plan a variety of routes to a place you go often
This is a good way to get a child to know an area better, plus develop more navigational skills and the ability to map read.

4 Super simple entertainment
Get hold of some chalk and draw on exterior walls, pavement or a terrace. You can always wash it off if someone complains.

Over to you
What are your favourite projects for enjoyably spending time on long hot days, or very wet ones?

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3 Comments on “Want ideas for summer projects?”

  1. Akanksha Says:

    your blog is very helpful for moms like me, let me know if you could write about “Life in a metro” which could be anything that you find challenging/inspiring about big cities. I am collecting good information/stories from various blogs as part of th project BBOOKS
    You can check for weekly topics if this topic doesnt suit you.

  2. In the late seventies, our incoming history teacher for the next school year (6th grade) gave us a summer project that I vividly recall: a scrapbook depicting our choice of the 50 greatest figures in American history, but restricted up to the Second World War and to U.S. presidents until Harry S. Truman. In a word, it was one heck of an undertaking. Loved my elementary school days.

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