Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Jar of Ideas

Apparently I like using jars and paper to keep us entertained.  A few years ago, I created "The Jar of Ideas".  This was created out of desperation to keep my kid engaged, learning (Shhh - don't tell him!), and unplugged during lazy summer days.

Every summer the jar is brought out - along with a journal - which is needed for some of the activities.  It is something that my son  looks forward to.  It's like an advent calendar for each day of summer. 

The sneaky thing about The Jar of Ideas is that it motivates other creative play.  Before you know it, a 10 minute activity has led to a day of fun.

My son is eleven.  Some of our ideas are:

1. Sit outside with your nature journal.  Write down how many birds you see and can identify.
2. Using water colors, paint a tree from our back yard.
3. Clean the glass on the sliding glass doors. (yes, sometimes it is a chore - bonus for the parents!)
4. Choose 5 plants, crush the leaves or flowers and smell them.  Describe their smell - and taste if edible-in your journal.
5. Wash 5 articles of clothing by hand. Hang them out to dry.
6. Write and mail a letter to a friend.
7. Learn how to make french toast.
8. Challenge a parent to a push-up contest.
9. Go on a flower hunt.  Draw the flowers in your nature journal. What is the name, color, number of petals, scent...?
10. Create a profile silhouette.
11. Submit a new flavor of ice cream to Ben & Jerry's.
12. Take the camera, photograph 3 different types of spiders, draw them in your journal.
13. Look through cookbooks. Find a recipe, make a grocery list, purchase items, and make it.
14. Draw our house using charcoals
15. Do 30 minutes of yard work
16. Play a board game
17. Lego challenge: Build a ship
18. Build an obstacle course outside
19. Make lunch today
20. Write a short story about a squirrel named Fred.


  1. Can you be my parents?! What fun!

    1. Only if you move in and bring mark! haha

  2. This is wonderful! I am hoping to get a list rocking for the beans! Love that you put them in a jar and pick on out and your doings are fantastic! What a good mama you are!!!

    1. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Whenever we have people over, I'm always asking if they would like to add to our jar. It's fun to be surprised to see what other people add. Like: Choreograph a dance and have your parent's perform it. (This was an actual one - what fun!)

  3. Great idea. We have school holidays a month or so away so I'm going to do this xo

    1. I'd love to hear some of your ideas! I'm always adding to our jar.

  4. Your list is so good! We haven't made one for the summer yet, because so far the boys have just wanted to play out in the yard. No complaining here!

  5. Great idea! love how these things lead to other things and fun!

  6. This is fantastic. And genius. It feels like summer is almost over, but I'm thinkin' I could do a version of it for the month of August. I love it.

  7. Wonderful idea! I'm definitely doing this when my boy is older. I love that the activities are involves creativity and are nature based

  8. brilliant idea. I am going to put one at the cabin. Write down one thing that has made you happy at the cabin...Jo x