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Family Fun

Family-Fun Activities to Beat the Heat without Breaking the Bank

By Lindsey Shay | Contributor

Idea #1: Make Sweet Treats

At-Home No-Churn Ice Cream Recipe (LivingWell)

What You’ll Need

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  •  2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, cold
  • ¼ cup skim milk, cold

   Mix-In Options

Cookies and Cream: 12 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

 Crunchy Cereal: 1 1/2 cups cinnamon crunch cereal, crushed

Cookies and Lemon: 1/2 cup jarred lemon curd and 1 cup shortbread cookies, crushed

What You’ll Do

  1. For the ice cream: Whisk together the condensed milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
    1. Whip the cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until well blended. Pour into a chilled loaf pan, and freeze, covered, until thick and creamy, like soft serve, about 2 hours. Swirl in any desired mix-ins with a spoon. Continue to freeze, covered, until solid and scoopable, about 3 hours more.

Idea #2:  Family Board Games

Ticket To Ride

In this evocative strategy game, players build train routes across the 20th-century USA. It’s history, its adventure, it’s competition — it’s just all-around fun.

Apples to Apples

Fast moving, inclusive, hilarious, and stimulating, Apples to Apples is perfect for any get-together with family and friends!

Blank Slate

Blank Slate is the clever party game where you try to predict what others are thinking. A personal favorite of my family, this game provides timeless fun and healthy competition.

Do You Really Know Your Family?

This family trivia competition is a bonding and relationship-building experience masquerading as just plain fun.

Lots more suggestions are a click away!

Idea #3: At-Home Matinee Movies

Pop some popcorn, break out the Red Vines and get comfy! Instead of heading to the theater this summer, pick out some family favorites and let the good times begin.  Another idea is to let each member of the family take turns selecting the movie you’ll watch. 

TIP: You don’t need a home theater to watch movies at home, but if you find that the family loves to gather around the set for sports, TV shows and movies a lot, the investment just might be the ticket!  Check out Starpower for all the latest innovations to suit any budget. They even have the reclining movie chairs!

Idea #4: Backyard Camping

Grab a tent and hit the backyard. Backyard camping can be an incredibly low-cost and fun way to spend some extra time with your family in the “Great Outdoors” without breaking your bank to travel there. Some ways to spice up your camping experience:

  • Turn your lawn into a twister board with washable spray paint
  • Create a s’mores pit with a terra cotta pot, foil, and some coal stones. 
  • Grab a ladder from the garage and create your own bean bag toss game.
  • Rock paintings – grab some rocks from your yard and some paint and let your creative side run wild!
  • Use an old sheet and a projector to screen your family’s favorite movies. 

Idea #5: Hit Your Local Farmer’s Market

Shop for fresh produce, locally farmed foods, and hand-crafted goods while tasting local eats and treats at your nearest farmer’s market. This can be a fun family adventure or perhaps a small bit of alone time. 

Idea #6 Make Homemade Play Dough

Making play dough at home is easy, fun, inexpensive, and only takes 10 minutes. (LivingWellMom)

What you’ll need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup fine table salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup boiling water

Food coloring

What You’ll Do

  1.  In a plastic bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
  2. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add vegetable oil, boiling water and food coloring.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, stir until a dough forms, add a little bit more flour if needed. (It’s ok to add in more food coloring at this point if needed just be sure to really work it into the dough)
  4. When the dough is cool enough to touch, use your hands to further incorporate the flour and knead until all flour in incorporated and dough is soft and uniform in color. (Wear gloves if desired)
  5. Let play dough cool completely before playing with it.
  6. When you are ready to play with the play dough, wash your hands and have fun!

Store the play dough in a sandwich bag and place the sandwich bags in an air-tight food storage container. Store at room temperature, no need to refrigerate.

Idea #7: Early Morning / Late Afternoon Walks

Avoid the brutally hot mid-day sun by getting out early or heading out in the later part of the day to your neighborhood walking trails,  nature preserve, a dog park or even your own neighborhood.  This activity is not only good for your heart physically, but it also is heartfelt bonding time with your family and friends. 

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