Here is the second of our two-part series featuring fun-packed weekly themes for summer break 2013 in Omaha. Each of the 10 weekly themes is based on an Omaha event or activity, and then we added to it an assortment of activities, crafts, experiments, books, movies and recipes.
If you missed it, be sure to read the first post that features the first five weeks. The last five weeks, which are covered in this post, are:
- Glass art
- Raúl Colón
- Water fun
As I stated in the first post, there are lots of options out there. This is just to get your wheels turning and to maybe offer you some ideas and direction when you feel a little lost or overwhelmed. After all, there is no shortage when it comes to fun things to do and see in Omaha.
Week 6 | July 6 | GLASS ART
OUTING | Glass art
Omaha is fortunate to be home to two Dale Chihuly public installations. “Chihuly: Inside and Out,” was installed in the east end of the ConAgra Foods Atrium at the Joslyn Art Museum in 2000. Also in 2000, “Toreador Red” was installed in the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute. Both are magnificent installations to behold. While viewing them, you might even want to hand your camera to your kids and let them experiment with photographing these installations — different angles, zooming in, zooming out, how about lying on the floor and looking up?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know the Hot Shops Art Center is one of my favorite destinations. This downtown attraction features Crystal Forge, the fused glass and blown glass studio located in the southwest corner of the Hot Shops Market North building. Stop by between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday though Friday, or 11 am to 5 pm on the weekends, and hopefully the furnaces will be firing and you’ll get to watch some glass works in progress. You can also stop to say “hi” to Valerie in her Hot Shops first-floor stained glass studio, Painted Light Stained Glass. It’s just down the hall from Crystal Forge. She creates beautiful stained glass windows, sun catchers, jewelry and glass-fused images. You can read more about her in my earlier “Omaha Gifted” feature.
ACTIVITIES AND CRAFTS | Glass art
Before heading to your glass art outing, you and your kids might want to read about how glass is made. (It also makes a nice tie-in to the earlier sand theme.)
With the season of early sunrises and gorgeous sunsets upon us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy some sun catchers and stained glass crafts. Here are more than 39 ideas for sun catchers and stained glass crafts.
Using glass, water and sunshine to demonstrate refraction and how to make a rainbow.
BOOKS AND MOVIES | Glass art
This was a harder theme to come up with children’s books or movies. I know it’s a stretch, but how about “Alice Through the Looking Glass”? And for those of you who are children of the ’70s, there’s this flashback: Child of Glass, (If you’re like me, the name might not sound familiar, but as soon as you hear the wind chimes and see the blue floating French girl with the tiny dog (<YouTube link), it’s going to all come rushing back to you. You can read more about it on the Disney site.)
FUN WITH FOOD | Glass art
I know it’s not Christmas, but you can make stained glass cookies any time of the year. They are so pretty and having the kids smash hard candies is great fun. Here’s a more complicated stained glass cookie recipe, if you’re all fancy, or here’s a simpler one from Kraft if you want to keep your sanity.
Another fun dessert: broken glass Jell-O.
Lastly, here’s an idea for some science with your food. It’s not “glass,” but making colored rock candy is a lot of fun, educational and tasty … and hey, it looks like glass, right? Here are the best directions on how to make rock candy; and here is the best explanation of the science behind the experiment (clicking the different steps triggers a pop-up window that explains the science behind what you’re doing).
Week 7 | July 13 | DINOSAURS
OUTING | Dinosaurs
Visit Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium’s “Dinosaurs Alive! The Lost Valley” outdoor exhibit. (Before going, be sure to visit their website to download [or just look at] a dinosaur checklist and Dig & Discover activity booklet.)
ACTIVITIES AND CRAFTS | Dinosaurs
Mix-up a batch of salt dough and create fossils. The post uses the dough for making hand and foot prints. For this dinosaur theme, use foot prints from toy dinosaurs, press-in leaves or shells or other found items.
Use the cloud dough from my earlier post and bury shells, bones and toy dinosaurs for a fun dino dig.
An extensive collection of dino facts and printables (including a word search which my eldest is really into right now).
… and more printables.
FUN WITH FOOD | Dinosaurs
Same idea as the salt dough, only use cookie dough and add nuts, raisins and other edibles too your dinosaur tracks.
Here is a collection of 24 dinosaur party food ideas. Remember, you don’t have to have a birthday party. Every day is a party when you make dino-themed food.
Week 8 | July 20 | RAÚL COLÓN
OUTING | Raúl Colón
Just like I enjoy introducing the boys to music in forms they can relate to, I like to introduce them to artwork in a relatable manner. That’s why I selected “Raúl Colón: Tall Tales & Huge Hearts,” currently on exhibit at The Joslyn Art Museum, as a theme. It features art from 15 of his books, “including scenes from myths, fairytales, folktales, and tall tales, and from books based on real-life stories of baseball players, ballerinas, migrant workers, and ministers — inspiring characters all.”
ACTIVITIES AND CRAFTS | Raúl Colón
How to make a scratchboard.
The following activities are based on his book “Jose! Born to Dance: The Story of Jose Limon”
Teaching Modern Dance as an activity (this might seem bizarre at first, but read through it — there really is some good stuff in there).
BOOKS | Raúl Colón
FUN WITH FOOD | Raúl Colón
My boy Alton Brown again with his guacamole recipe.
This sounds kind of involved, but for horchata, it’s worth it.
And one of my favorites, make your own taco night. I use the Pioneer Woman’s Dr. Pepper shredded pork recipe and it is delicious. (Thanks to my friend Jessica for first recommending the recipe.)
Week 9 | July 27 | WATER FUN
OUTINGS | Water Fun
There’s no shortage of ideas for water fun. To shake things up from the typical trip to the pool, check out this list of spraygrounds in Omaha (pack a few plastic toys, cups, sprinkling cans, etc. and the kids can play for hours).
ACTIVITIES AND CRAFTS | Water Fun
Have fun making these water sponge balls, then have fun playing with them.
An experiment with coloring plants.
Create a water pistol target range in your backyard.
Use water and assorted containers to make a potion lab.
Here’s that Angry Bird water balloon game again that I mentioned in the earlier Games, Games, Games theme.
This is full of great water-play ideas: water obstacle course.
Talk about some inner-core strength on this activity: sponge brigade game.
A good collection of water experiments.
Last summer, the boys and I also did some fun experiments just mixing certain things with water — sugar, salt, food coloring — and then setting some in the sun and others in the freezer, just to see what happened.
BOOKS AND MOVIES | Water Fun
Host a movie night with one of these great family movies based on ocean themes.
FUN WITH FOOD | Water Fun
And of course, anything using blue Jell-O (scroll through for a couple of ideas).
Week 10 | August 3 | BALLOONS
OUTING | Balloons
The Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival. Hmmm … should I do an adult weekly theme based on wine?
ACTIVITIES AND CRAFTS | Balloons
Watch this episode about kids learning more about hot air balloons — how hot air balloons work, what measurements are taken while in flight, and video of the kids taking an actual hot air balloon ride.
Using balloons to paint — this can get really messy, but isn’t that one of the great things about summer? Outdoor messy crafts and easy clean-up with a hose.
BOOKS AND MOVIES | Balloons
Do I even need to write this? Movie night with “Up.” *sniff, sniff*
We have this Caldecott Honor book about the history of hot air balloons.
FUN WITH FOOD | Balloons
How about some balloon-shaped food as inspiration?
How to make cloud parfaits.
There you have it: 10 weeks worth of … stuff. If you liked this idea, let me know and I’ll be sure to come up with an entire new batch of ideas for summer 2014. Have fun!