Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities by Shannon L Buck

Photograph by Brija on published to Y! Contributor Network. Save money by picking up equipment and other items at yard sales, in thrift stores, or on clearance.)

Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities

Summer is full of activities to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate, but they are not always accessible to the daycare provider and the children that she takes care of. The provider may not have enough money to fund a lot of activities, or the means to bring the children far.

Whether you are part of a daycare center or run a daycare home, these ideas will allow you to provide the children with fun activities that can be enjoyed outside during the summer months. Enjoy these activities with the children, in the yard or at the local park.


Find something lightweight that can be used for bases, grab a few bats and balls, and bring along any baseball gloves you have available. Head outside and split the group up into two teams, including yourself and other daycare workers in the count. Matching shirts for team members are not necessary for a good, old-fashioned game of baseball.

Water Fight!

Children deserve water play on the hottest days, as do adults. While water balloons are not environmentally friendly and water guns may not be desirable, there is an alternative. Use balls, often found at dollar stores, that soak up water. They have cloth covers, and do not generally hurt when thrown at someone. One of these for each child will allow for hours of enjoyment. The children and adults throw the balls back and forth at each other, and everyone has plenty of chances to get wet. The only other things you need are a few cheap buckets filled with cool water. A nearby hose will male it easy to refill the buckets.

Park Cleanup

Not all activities are about ultimate enjoyment, but should still be treated as fun. After some play time and a picnic at the park, you and the children can walk around cleaning up the area. Make sure everything ends up in the trash bins located throughout the park area. This activity aids in teaching children what a precious resource the earth is. Pick up returnables as well, returning them to fund a good cause in the fall. All of the money collected throughout the summer can be donated to an animal orphanage or children’s hospital.

Playground “Beach” Party

The key for this party is in setting the daycare playground area up to be reminiscent of the beach. Fill a couple of pools with water, also adding water to the sand pile so the children can build a sand castle. Provide Frisbees and beach balls for the children to use while at the “beach”, and set out blankets for them to sit on, preferably in the shade. Be sure to provide towels for drying off.

Tips for a Safe, Enjoyable Time

Be sure that the children are wearing sunblock. Choose an organic formula, if possible. Reapply throughout the day.
Allow the children to wear caps and sunglasses.
Always have plenty of water available.
Provide the children with picnic lunches, or at least snacks.
Keep a small first aid kit handy.

The adults and children in your facility will have much fun with these activities, providing the opportunity to work together as a team.

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Summer Fun for Single Mom Families

(This article was originally published to on June 30, 2009. I thought some of my readers may enjoy the read. ~ Shannon)

It may sometimes feel overwhelming being the only parent taking care of your children. You have to feed them, clothe them, pay the bills and do everything else necessary to make sure that your children are adequately taken care of. It can be tough, and it is easy to become stressed.

Being a single mom can also be a lot of fun. You get to participate in a lot of activities with your children, show them the world (or your little part of it), and teach them how to enjoy the life that they have been given. Fun summer activities are a great way of accomplishing this task. In this article I will be discussing where you can take your children, as well as some activities that you can do with them, to show them how to cut loose and have fun.

Area Parks and Playgrounds:

  • Cascade Park is a beautiful place for a picnic and for watching the birds or stargazing. It has a fountain that is lit with colored lights in the evenings, which is a remarkable site. There are paths to walk along, and plenty of grass and trees for playing.  You can bring the family dog along with you, as this is also a dog park. With a five paw rating at, you can’t go wrong. Just be sure that your dog has a leash, and that you bring bags for scooping the poop. Cascade Park is located on State Street in Bangor, not far from the hospital.
  • Riverview Park, located on Front Street, offers up weekly concerts during the summer months. Laying out a blanket and enjoying a picnic with your children is a great way to celebrate summer here in Maine.
  • Riverfront Park is located on Main Street in Old Town, not far from Bangor. It has a nice playground, a water feature, and a small field to play Frisbee or ball in. There is a gazebo, and walking trails, and it is located right next to the Penobscot River. You can see the dam from the park, which is a beautiful site at sunset. The Riverfront Park is a wonderful place to picnic and hang out. Your children can ride their bikes and play, and you can all relax after a filling lunch.

Area Discount Movie Theaters:

  • Movie Magic Cinemas is located on the Odlin Road in Bangor. Tickets are $3.00 per person, which is a good price overall.
  • Spotlight Cinemas in Orono is slightly more expensive than Movie Magic Cinemas, but is a great theater. With digital sound, air conditioning, arcade games and video game tournaments, you can’t go wrong here. The place has a pleasant atmosphere and good food.

Other Great Activities:

  • Bike riding as a family can be a lot of fun, and there are a lot of places in the Bangor area where you can do this.  Bike riding is also an excellent way to stay in, or to get into, shape.
  • Walking is another great exercise that is very beneficial to your families’ health. The Bangor area has many great trails for your family to hike.
  • You and your children will have a great time scrapbooking your summer memories this year, Photograph all of the fun activities that you and your children enjoy this summer, and take turns creating pages in an album. Be sure to journal about where you were, what you were doing, how you all felt, and more.
  • Rollerblading is another great way to spend time together and get some exercise in.
  • Late night picnics are a lot of fun. Spread out a blanket and watch the night sky. Don’t forget to wish upon falling stars. This is a great science activity. Pick up a stargazing guide and find the constellations with your children.
  • You may also want to pick up a bird watching guide. Saxl Park in Bangor is a great place for ‘collecting’ birds. You never know what you may see.
  • Swimming is a lot of fun, either at a pool or in a lake. Pushaw Lake is not far from Bangor, and it is a nice place to swim.
  • Do your children love to catch frogs? Find a place for them to do this, and let them remind you how it is done.
  • Do you remember catching fireflies as a child? How about sharing that experience with your children.

As you can see, there are many exciting activities to enjoy during the summer months in the Bangor area. Being a single mom does have its blessings, and having your children to yourself so much during the summer months is one of them.

A Freebie on the Frugal Recipes Blog

There is a free Mini eBook being offered on the Frugal Recipes blog right now. I am looking for some feedback over there as well, from each of my readers, so please read the end of the blog posts as well.

Thank you in advance for the help!

Click here for the freebie.


4 Patriotic Daycare Crafts by Shannon L. Buck

photograph by mistyferie on children happy and entertained is good business. Stay frugal by using scraps from previous projects, allowing parents to donate things, and shopping yard sales and thrift stores. Previously published to Y! Contributor Network.)

4 Patriotic Daycare Crafts

Daycare centers and homes are often more busy during the summer months, catering to extra children. Providers are always looking for crafts to do with the children, to keep them busy with something productive.

Patriotic crafts are often chosen during the summer, particularly during the month of July. During the time when providers are showing children how to do these crafts, they also talk with them about Independence Day and other patriotic topics.

Painted Flags

These can be small for placing in a garden pot, or bigger for putting elsewhere in the yard. To prepare, cut dowels to size with a small hand saw, and cut white fabric to the size desired, being sure to have extra fabric for a hem up the left side. Sew the hem along the side of each flag-shaped piece of fabric, to allow a snug fit for a dowel. It will be easiest if you sew this hem with the dowel in place. Paint a sample flag to show the children.

Give each child a flag and 3 paint brushes, and provide each group with bowls of white, red and blue paints and a cup of water. Have the children paint a section in the upper, left-hand corner blue, and then paint red stripes going across the flag, leaving the white-striped areas untouched. When the blue area is mostly dry, they can paint white dots to represent stars. It is not necessary for them to make a star for each state, though you should mention how many there are on todays’ flags.

Patriotic Votive Holders

Have one holder already decorated for them to see before beginning. Provide each child with one or more clear or frosted votive holders. Give them star-shaped stickers as well, in the colors of red, white and blue. Gold and silver will also work. Have them decorate their votive holders with the stickers. When they are finished, ask them to come to you in turn and choose the candles for their holders. Have red, white and blue votive candles available for this. The children can present these to their parents for use during their 4th of July celebration.

Star Magnets

Provide foam or felt stars in three different sizes. Each size should have stars of red, white and blue. Place these at the center of the table, along with a bunch small, of adhesive-backed magnets. Give each child a small bowl of glue and a paintbrush, and instruct them on how to go about making the magnets. Show them one that you made as an example.

Ask each child to take a large star of a color of their choosing. Have them glue a star of the next size down onto the first star, choosing a color different from the last. Instruct the children to then take one of the small stars, in the last color, and glue that one to the center of the second star. When this is done, have them flip their stars over and add the magnet. Allow each child to create as many stars as they wish.

Decorated Gift Bags

The votive candles and holders, as well as the magnets, can be presented to parents in gift bags that the children have decorated themselves. Provide them each with a white bag and markers, stickers or paints and brushes, or a combination of all of these mediums. Allow them to decorate their bag with a patriotic theme, suggesting fireworks, flags and stars. Allow the bags time to dry, then have them place the gifts they made within their bags.

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Softsoap Samples

Last spring I was contacted by a lady who wanted me to try out Softsoap products for Colgate-Palmolive, which I happily did and reported to you all my experiences with the products. READ: Sometimes, People Send Me Free Stuff.

I was contacted again this year, and agreed to try two more products for the company, and am pleased yet again. These products were:

Both have pleasing scents that really last, though the Exfoliating Fruit Polish fragrance is more pronounced. This was actually my favorite. It helps to get rid of those rough, dry patches of skin that you inevitably end up with after a long winter.

Not that I did not like the Hydrating Shower Cream. I certainly did! The scent is pleasing, and it leaves your skin feeling soft.

This kit was sent to me by Colgate-Palmolive for review purposes, and I am happy to report that I am pleased!

I do intend to buy this body wash again. In particular, I want to try their Heavenly Vanilla Body Hydrating Wash. I bet that smells amazing! I will do so with coupons, hopefully coupled with sales to save as much as I can. I will also be checking out Bath and Body works during a sale.


More Helpful Resources

While these are directed at single moms due to the channel where I share them, they would really be good for anyone. Each Mini eBook is a quick read with actionable steps, and will aid anyone in getting their home in order, keeping it that way, and decorating.

Please pass these resources along to all your people.

Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Bathroom, is one in a series of Mini eBooks geared toward helping moms to get their homes under control. It also gives decorating tips.

Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Living Room, is a Mini eBook in a series that is geared toward helping the single mom to get her household tasks under control. It also has a bonus section.

Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Kitchen, is a Mini eBook  in a series that is geared toward helping single moms get their Kitchens under control and keep them way. This book has a bonus section as well.

You will come away from these Mini eBooks with a multitude of ideas that will enable you to get your home in order and keep it that way, as well as plenty of decorating ideas.



A Helpful Resource for Single Moms

Some of you may already know that I have a channel on called Bangor Single Mom. Most of the articles there would be helpful to any single mother, no matter her location. So I would like to invite you to check that channel out now, and to subscribe to that channel for future updates.

As for the resources, I recently finished a series of articles called the Essential Guide to Being a Great Single Mom, and I wanted to share them with you. You will find them at:

Teaching Character, Morals

Taking Care of Yourself

Quality Time and Fun

Teaching Important Skills

Taking Care of Your Family

Taking Care of Your Home

I may, in the future, decide to expand on this series with new articles but, for the foreseeable future, I am done with them. I do hope you enjoy these epic pieces!


Kids Centerpiece Crafts by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.(Previously published on Y! Contributor Network.)

Kids Centerpiece Crafts

Children love crafts, and are creative sorts. Their imaginations help them to make an endless supply of art and craft projects for family and friends. Adults might start off the creative process by suggesting basic ideas for centerpiece projects, and allowing the children to build on these ideas as they see fit.


Basket centerpieces are simple to make. Have children male these according to the current season or holiday. Give them pine cones and Christmas balls and allow them to fill the basket, as well as ribbon. Provides them with paints and brushes if they will be painting an otherwise plain basket, and ribbon to decorate the handle with. Fake eggs and Easter grass would go into a white or pastel colored basket for Easter.


Provide children with all of the elements to decorate and display a vase. Include a paper or lace doily for the vases to sit on, and ribbon for them to tie around the necks of them. Give each child a choice between marbles or pebbles to fill the bottom their own vase, and allow them to search nature for items to fill their vase with. Have them pick flowers during the summer months, or let them uses sticks and leaves during the autumn months. Cattails are a good option.


Give children paints, brushes and Styrofoam balls. Instruct them to paint them to paint these like apples and pumpkins. Allow these to dry overnight, then have the children place them into the cornucopia with items found in nature such as autumn leaves and acorns. Tell them that it is customary to allow the fruits and other items to spill out around the open area of the cornucopia. Provide them with a place mat or other linen depicting autumn colors to sit their centerpiece on.


Have the children paint two or more faces around their own pumpkin to serve as a centerpiece, or have them draw out faces for you to carve and provide them each with a tea light candle for their parents to light at home.

Cut the top off each pumpkin and clean it out, then ask the children to fill the pumpkin with soils after placing a few pebbles in the bottom for drainage purposes. Give them marigold seeds to plant, or seedlings for the marigolds or another autumn flower. Ask them each to cut a circle out of autumn colored construction paper to use as a doily to place the pumpkin on.

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Simple Craft Project Ideas by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.(Think frugally. How can you glean items for crafting projects? Previously published to Y! Contributor Network.)

Simple Craft Project Ideas

Whether making gifts, decorating your home or just crafting for fun, there are a variety of projects that you will want to try. With some projects, you will be decorating useful items to use either inside or out.

Craft projects do not have to cost much, and may be created using materials that you already have on hand or can be found when you are out walking. Be sure to have the basics such as paints and brushes, or a glue gun and glue sticks, at the ready when starting your project.

Painted Garden Planters

Use bright or bold paint colors to make the planters stand out when placed in the garden, or pastels for a lighter look. Mix and match colors, if desired, and use one color on some planters while using more than one on others. Choose brushes of different sizes, depending on the designs that you will create, and start by cleaning and rinsing pots made of clay, plastic or other materials, and allowing them to dry. Paint the outside of each planter, and don’t forget to decorate the drip trays. Create designs such as stripes and polka dots, or paint pictures of bees, birds and butterflies.

Pine Cone Ornaments

Use these ornaments when decorating for the holidays, or match them to your homes décor for use as every day decorations. Bake large pine cones in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour and allow to cool, so the sap dries and does not make a mess. Glue a ribbon to the top of the pine cone to use as a hanger, then decorate as desired. Use colored ribbon or strings of small beads to glue around the top of each pine cone, allowing them to drape over the sides. Apply glitter or paint to the tips of the pine cone for added decoration.

Basket of Ornaments

Take a medium size basket, and wrap ribbon to match the occasion around its’ handle. Tie the ribbon in bows at the base of each side, so that the ribbon ends hang half way down the outside of the basket on either end. Use pinking sheers to cut a fabric liner to fit in the basket, while allowing the four corners to hang out over the sides. Heap ornaments of colored Christmas bulbs within the basket, and stick a few holiday picks into the crevices between bulbs. Place this centerpiece on a white or colored lace doily at the center of a mantle or coffee table.

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How to Gather Craft Materials for Your Daycare by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by RebeccaMatthews on published on Y! Contributor Network. Be frugal, friends.)

How to Gather Craft Materials for Your Daycare

It is not always feasible to purchase all the craft materials that a daycare provider will need to keep on hand, especially when the economy is not as good as it should be. You may find yourself wondering how you will acquire all the items that you will need to provide crafting opportunities for the children in your care.

Scraps from Daycare Projects

As you and the children are cleaning up from each craft project, be sure snag any scraps that you may find useful for future projects. Quarter sheets of construction paper, a few sequins and broken crayons can all be saved.

Scraps from Home

There are many projects that you do at home that will give you scraps to use with the children at the daycare center. Scraps of paper, extra borders and little stickers from scrapbook and card making projects will be useful. Small pieces of ribbon and lace from sewing projects will also come in handy, as will scraps of wood from home improvement projects. It is acceptable to ask parents of the children in your care to look for opportunities to glean these items from their own homes as well.

Recycled Products from Home

Toilet paper tubes, as well as those from paper towels and gift wrap, will come in handy for projects such as the creation of rain sticks. Aluminum foil will cover stars to make them shiny for a holiday tree, and baskets will give the children something to place decorated eggs into during the spring. Parents might also bring in mismatched socks so the children will be able to make puppets.

Yard Sales

Visit yard sales to collect materials for the children to use when crafting. This will not likely net you full sets of craft items, but you will find odds-and-ends to use with the children. Think outside the box. Wooden skewers will serve as flower stems, and a sheet cut into squares will provide the children quilt blocks to decorate.

Stores and Shops

Craft stores often have clearance sales that will have a number of items you might think about spending money on. Sheets of foam and felt, magnet strips and beads are often found at these sales. Thrift shops may have odds-and-ends such as partial packages of crayons and markers, and dollar stores have items such as glues, paints and scissors.

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