DONNA'S DAY: Squeeze in last outings before summer passes

Ziporah Dargan, 6, wears her decorated water bottle at a summer family camp.

So little time left, and so much yet to do. Do you feel that way this month, realizing that warm and long summer days soon will come to an end?

Chatting over the fence, my neighbor, a mom of two young energetic kids, lamented how quickly the season is passing by. Many of the outings and activities her family put on a list in June simply never happened. Eager to squeeze in some of the starred favorites before Labor Day, she sat down with her calendar and put them in. In ink.

"So, what made the cut?" I asked.

"We'll bike to a nearby family-friendly ethnic restaurant," she said. "It will be fun to plan a route, park our bikes and sit outside on a breezy patio to eat a meal with new tastes. We're also going to an indoor ice skating rink. It's off-season, so the price is right. Plus, for once, we don't have to slather ourselves with sunscreen!

"I also saved a day to be grounded in nature and go to a state park. We'll enjoy a picnic in the woods, and learn new things from the naturalists who share their knowledge of the local habitat."

Like my neighbor, are there still a few things left on your summer fun list? Maybe it's experiencing a new exhibit at a zoo, visiting a historical site or gathering friends at a nature trail for a picnic by a waterfall. Put them on your schedule now and make them happen.

Get kids involved in the prep before you go, even for mini outings. Choose healthy snacks to take along that they can carry in their own backpacks. And don't forget to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Here's a craft idea to encourage your young school-age kids to sip water during your adventure. Like supplies on an explorer's trek, it's a "canteen" designed with their creativity.

Here's the stuff you need

• One medium-size plastic or lightweight metal water bottle

• One 42-inch strip of 1-inch-wide ribbon

• One 3-inch-by-10-inch rectangle of craft foam decorated with stickers or drawings

• Household glue

Here's the fun

Glue the underside of the midpoint of the ribbon to the base of the bottle. Lift the halves of the ribbon upward evenly on each side. Glue the craft foam around the bottle and over the ribbon to secure them in place. Tie the loose ends of the ribbon in a knot. Fill with water and wear over shoulders.

Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."  (c) 2019 Donna Erickson  Distributed by King Features Synd.

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