Never Miss a Beat

August is National Family Fun Month | Activities that Celebrate Summer, Adventure, and BOOKS

As the carefree and easy days of the vacation season begin to wind down and our thoughts turn to back to school, we want everyone to pause and really think of ways to squeeze out the last drops of summer.

With this in mind, we know your family is likely not the only one looking for things to do before school starts back up again. The good news is that you can create fun activities and memories for your family without spending a ton of money.

Within the pages of The ABCs of Bookjumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book, authors Valarie Budayr and Rebecca Flansburg have put their collective “mom brains” together to provide readers with some pretty epic ways to use reading and books to create unique activities for the whole family.

The ABCs of BookJumping

The ABCs of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book contains over 150 book reviews, unique book-inspired activities and recipes, book pilgrimages, facts about classic book authors that we all know and love, and many, many reasons to spend countless hours “unplugged” and reading as a family.

Painting With Scissors: A Creative Activity Inspired by Henri Matisse

As a boy, Henri drew pictures everywhere. When he grew up, he became one of the most famous artists in the world. As an adult, he moved to Paris and became a famous artist who created paintings that were adored around the world. But late in life a serious illness confined him to a wheelchair, and amazingly, it was from there that he created among his most beloved works—enormous and breathtaking paper cutouts.

This is truly a story about not giving up when the going gets tough. Henri Matisse lived and breathed his art. Even through illness he needed to channel his creative energies and he chose something wonderful, paper cutting. He decorated his entire room with his paper cut-outs.

The pictures in this book are beautifully illustrated in full color and images and bring Henri’s story to life. The story is told in a way in which we feel we are sitting right next to Matisse himself perhaps spending an afternoon in his colorful world.

Matisse-inspired Painting with Scissors Collages

We couldn’t let Mr. Matisse have all this fun to himself!

Let’s put a modern spin to a brilliant idea. Taking scrapbook paper cut shapes and made your own very fashionable artwork.

Pro Tip: Starting small and working large. Who knows, maybe one day we too will have a garden cut out of paper hanging on our walls. To give you some ideas, take a look at this gorgeous Matisse paper cut-out Pinterest board. I didn’t realize how massive some of these art pieces are. It’s really inspiring. Here’s a look at some of the art we created from this inspiring and magical read.

● A Variety of colored or scrapbooking paper
● A white foam or poster board to build your paper composition on.
● Scissors
● Glue Stick

What Matisse-inspired masterpieces will YOU create?

Let’s Build a Fairy House with Tracy Kane’s Fairy Houses

This book is an excellent kids’ book that teaches future fairy house fans how the story of forest fairies and house-building began.

Books about Fairy House Building

Fairy Houses -vs-Fairy Gardens

Fairy gardening another fairy-related activity that is basically creating scenes and landscapes by using small plants and accents right within gardens or pots that are in your own backyard. The popularity of fairy gardens has grown steadily over the last five years and people seem to love them not only for beauty and creativity but as an opportunity to work with plants on a small scale. Fairy gardens are literally a living garden in miniature form. It also inspires limitless creativity for families, gardeners, and nature lovers.

The main difference between the two is that Fairy Gardens are meant to be highly visible and shared. They are also made up of many man-made products that are cute, colorful, and whimsical.

Like with fairy houses, there is no right or wrong way to create a fairy garden. Anyone who wants to construct their own fairy garden just needs to keep in mind things like scale and location. Plants should be chosen to reflect a fairies miniature world and indoor gardens may require different types of plants than outdoor because of sun/shade requirements. Adding color and texture to fairy gardens can be achieved with plants like Lady Fern, Creeping Wintergreen, tall grasses, mosses, clover, Coleus, Snow Rose, succulents, and even herbs like thyme, rosemary and lavender make for enchanting habitat for fairies.

The bottom line is to create a fun mini-home for shy fairies with materials that Mother Nature herself has provided. This activity offers a creative way for kids to get to know about nature, use their imaginations, and enjoy the wonders of nature.

There’s Something in the Water:

Something is mesmerizing about water, especially with kids. We all know summer fun would not be complete without lots and lots of WATER. Aside from swimming, water can act as a tool of fun, a chance for play, and even an opportunity to learn about science. Here are some “out-of-the-lake” ideas for implementing water in your summer camp fun (all need adult supervision):

  • Fun games like a Bucket Relay Game or Water Balloon Target Practice.
  • Moving Water Boat Races (use tools like garden hoses, meat basters, and scoops to motivate the boats to move).
  • Creative Boat Building Using Materials from Nature: What’s a boat race without a fun vessel, right?
  • Homemade Aquarium (use smaller containers of water, natural aquatic plants, and toy water creatures).
  • Absorption Experiments: Use different materials like sponges, paper, cloth, and wood to create some sensory fun for your campers.
  • Water Nature Hunt: Tap into the wonder that lies at the water’s edge of lakes, ponds, or streams with a good ‘old fashioned scavenger hunt. Pond by Donald Silver is part of the One Small Square series and a great way to show kids what they can find in one small square of a pond. There are also experiments and activities inside. 

Have fun reading and exploring!

Looking for a beautiful and unconventional diverse picture book for kids? Check out, Sissy Goes Tiny!

Sissy Goes Tiny

In Sissy Goes Tiny, eight-year-old Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, repurposing, and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands that a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning.

You can read the full story of this journey here and also order your hardcover copy here.

“I believe that Sissy Goes Tiny is going to open so many minds for people! A tiny house is absolutely not for everyone, but we all like to dream and step into the shoes of another lifestyle in our minds. Learning about this lifestyle I think will help people be more supportive of people who do choose to live unconventionally. Sissy and her family are a great example of that.” Co-author, B.A. Norrgard

Join us in celebrating the idea of Tiny Living and BIG Adventures!

This diverse picture book is now available on IndieBound and Amazon Kindle!