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FAMILY FUN
Rainy Days at the Lake

Yes, it will definitely rain sometimes when you are at the lake house. And it might even rain when you have lots of company. Here are some tips on how to keep it from getting the kids down.

Thereís Nothing To Do!

What four words in the English language can evoke such dread in a parentís heart? Of course you stocked the lake house with board games, card games, puzzles, art supplies, books and even video games. But, when the kids are at the lake they really want to be swimming and getting pulled around by the boat on some water toy, so none of this seems even remotely inviting as a substitute. While I certainly share that passion for lake activities, curling up on the couch with a good book, or a rousing game of scrabble on a rainy day also have great appeal for me.

With the nearest movie theater at least an hour away, and no other fun indoor attractions around, whatís a parent to do? With three very active, frustrated boys, we had to come up with something.

Having an unfinished basement provides some relief for the kids. They can play a makeshift version on baseball in our basement, as long as the ball is fairly soft and they donít try to hit it too hard. A game of catch with mitts and a soft ball works too. We added a small multi-game table to the basement so they can also play pool, soccer or ping-pong. Once in a while this will relieve the need for physical activity.

When in Doubt, Cook

One thing that kids never seem to tire of is getting involved with making a treat. Rice Krispies treats are easy enough for most school-age kids to make with a little supervision. The recipe is on the box, and we usually have marshmallows around for toasting. My husband has always encouraged the kids to make their own popsicles using juice, kool-aid or ginger ale, and they love to eat them and share them with friends. You can buy the plastic containers with sticks at most grocery stores.

Here is a recipe I found for easy to make soft pretzels. It gives kids a way to use their imaginations, and make a tasty treat at the same time.

16 oz. loaf frozen bread dough
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon water
Coarse salt

Separate thawed dough into (12) 1-1/2" balls. Have the kids roll the balls into a rope about 14Ē long. Let each kid design and twist a few shapes out of the ropes (pokemon, letters or numerals). Place the pretzels one inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Combine egg white and water and brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Place a shallow pan containing 1" of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven; bake the pretzels at 350 degrees on the rack above the boiling water for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Our oldest son took home economics in school where he learned to make Cinnamon Breakfast Puffs.

4 tbsp cinnamon

Ĺ cup sugar

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp butter

Unbaked crescent rolls, unrolled and separated into triangles

Large marshmallows (one for each crescent roll)

Mix nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Melt butter ina small bowl. Roll the marshmallows in the melted butter. Use tongs to move the marshmallow into the sugar mixture roll it until covered. Put the marshmallow on the pointy end of the unrolled dough triangle and roll it up. Put on foil covered cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees. Donít make this if anyone has trouble with high levels of sugar, though!

Science Experiments and Other Brain Builders

If you have a book of science experiments, or access to the internet to look some up, most kids will be glad to participate. There are lots of experiments that are thought-provoking and fun, and most of the ones I found donít require a lot of special equipment or consumables. This site http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/index.html has lots of great ideas.

Having kids make crossword puzzles, find the word puzzles, or picture puzzles for each other works in two ways. It keeps them busy while they are making them, then it keeps them busy solving each otherís puzzles. Our kids have also enjoyed hours of fun with Mad-Libs. These are books of stories with words left out. The kids ask each other to supply words without knowing the context of the story. The results always send them into gales of laughter. We have even made up our own stories to use for this, which takes longer, and keeps them from being bored for that much more time.

 


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