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Our Sister Site, Summer of Funner, runs from June to August each year.


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Summer Love-To-Do List 2015

Three Super-Fun Ways to Prep the Kids for a Shakespeare Play [or Other Theatre]

Summer at the Stratford Festival: Kids’ Theatre Reviews

The Kids’ Summer Vacay Pics: Where to Eat, Shop, and Stay in Stratford, Ontario

Free Printable Pixels Movie Party Invitations

Summer of Awareness: Three Meditation Exercises for Kids and Families

Inspired by Babar: Stuffed Animal Yoga Sketches for Kids

Five Ways to Introduce Kids to a City’s Architecture

DIY Pacman [or any shape] Piñatas

Pin the Tail on the Donkey Kong [Free Printable Poster and Centipede “Tails”]

Summer Books: What the Kids are Reading

Easy Gorgeous Chocolate Covered Bananas

Date Almond Smoothie Freezer Pops

101 Things to Look for at the Natural History Museum [Free Printable]

Sweet and Spicy Fermented Pickles in a Mason Jar

Backyard Campout Blowout

Endless Summer Peach Almond Cake [Gluten and Sugar Free]

Backyard Summer Film Fest 2015 : Our Family’s Picks

Summer of Funner 2015 Final Inverted Fireworks Header


Summer 2014: Love-to-Do List

Summer Books: Talking Heads and Sympathetic Wolves: Illustrating Aelfric’s Life of St. Edmund

Film Fest Night One: Dark Passage and The Man Without a Body

Dino S’mores! [With a Recipe for Super-Easy Dino Grahams]

Tie-Dye Party!

We “Art” Ability: Three Kids’ Drawing Exercises for the Non-Dominant Hand

Pink Tea! Kashmiri Chai Tea, Hot & Iced, Popsicles, Greek Yogurt Popsicles, Ice Cream Pops, & Slice-Cream Cake

Watch Unbreakable and Sample Peanut Butter Nutella “All Thumbs” Cookies

Foot Painting! Painting with our Feet!

Roasted Marshmallow Gelato [Crème Brulée Gelato]

Summer Books: The Kids Illustrate Treasure Island: Free Associative Drawing with Audio Books

Pirate Anatomy Posters

Minecraft Creeper Cupcake Cake

Family Film Fest Update

Empty Your Pockets for these Souvenir Cookies: Lemon Icebox Fossil Cookies with Impressions of Your Beach Walk or Vacay Baubles

101 Things to Look for at the Art Museum, from A to Z [Free Printable]

Kids DIY Stained Glass Window Clings

Summer Peach Buttermilk Clafoutis [low-sugar, grain & gluten-free]

The Kids Enjoy Two Evenings of Shakespeare in the Park

Kids DIY Mini Glittery Pop Rocks Bath Bombs

Summer Books: Sense and Sensibility Mad Libs [Free Printables]

Going Crazy with Hair Chalk

Summer Books: Kid-Drawn, “Modern” Sense and Sensibility Comics

Three Surrealist Games for Kids

FORTnight: Our Two-Week Campout Begins

THE BEST Homemade Donuts, with a Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze and a Jam or Jelly Filling

Summer Giving: Supporting the War Amps Champ Program

Film Fest Wrap Up

A Summer Instrument

The Kids BBQ By Themselves: Grilled Corn with a Spicy Rub and Sweet Potato Coins with at Spicy Garlic Aioli

Kid-Drawn “Cyborg Stories”

End of Summer Blind Tasting Picnic


Summer Nights…


Newer Summer of Funner Header White 2015


School’s Out! Here’s Our 2013 Bucket List!:  A list of all of the things we’d like to do this Summer!

Yesterday Books, The 2013 Edition:  
How we created this year’s version of our famous summer journals, the Yesterday Books. DIY.

DIY Skylanders Giants Birthday Party Invitations:  
How to create Skylanders Giants themed birthday party invitations. DIY.

Postcards from Boston
An account of our trip to visit Great Gram and all of our cousins in Boston.

Summer Books: The Beowulf Notebooks One
: The kids draw and take notes while mama reads Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, featuring Grendel’s attack on the Hall.

Kid-Illustrated Definitions I: Utopia & Dystopia
The kids write simple definitions of “Utopia” and “Dystopia” and illustrate them with images they associate with those definitions. DIY.

Summer Books: The Beowulf Notebooks, Two
More illustrations of Heaney’s Beowulf, featuring Grendel’s mother’s attack on Hrothgar’s Hall.

Kid-Drawn Story Cards & Story Telling Games: The kids draw simple illustrations of words we pulled from this week’s reading Then, shuffle the deck of picture cards and play story-telling games. DIY.

Summer Books: The Beowulf Notebooks, ThreeOur final day of illustrating Beowulf. Dragons!

Summer Books: Re-Telling Beowulf : The kids improvise their own stories based on the plot and elements of Beowulf but featuring characters and settings of their own.

Ice Paint Two-Ways: We make Ice Paints with both Tempera Paints and Food Colouring/Watercolours and paint away! DIY.

Exploring Toronto’s Neighbourhoods I: Mapping the City and our Beach Hill Neighbourhood: The kids “imagine” maps of Toronto and of the neighbourhood. DIY.

Strawberry [Cognac] Buttermilk Cake
: asd One of the best cakes we’ve ever made! Great for milk or tea or coffee breaks! RECIPE.

Summer Books: Illustrating Bisclavret [The Lais of the Werewolf] and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: The kids illustrate the story of a werewolf and the story of the brave knight Gawain.

Summer Books: Re-Producing Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale and a “Classics Comics” DIY:  The kids make comic strips after listening to a prose treatment of Chaucer’s tale of Chanticleer, the rooster, Pertelote his wife, and one wily fox. DIY.

Science Wiz: Climate Change in Canning Jars: We Make Rain in a Canning Jar, Fog Rising from a Canning Jar, and a Tornado in a Canning Jar. DIY.

Blueberry Peach Greek Yogurt Popsicles: Easy-to-make yogurt popsicles with blueberries and peach jam, with suggestions for other flavour profiles and combinations. Recipe.

Amazing Pink Lemonade Cream Bars
: It’s like the lemon square and the key lime bar collided and had raspberry-tinted heavenly dessert babies…Recipe.

Pink Lemonade Jelly: Our amazing new recipe for pink lemon jelly! Who doesn’t want to have pink jelly on their toast in the morning?

Exploring Toronto’s Neighbourhoods: Yonge & Englinton and Sorel Etrog: Checking out Papa’s old neighbourhood and investigating Sorel Etrog sculptures around town.

Summer Books: Sketching the Faerie Queene: The Kids work on illustrating the first three cantos of the first book of the Faerie Queene.

Painted Targets for Balls, Beanbags, Rockets, and Water Balloons: Making targets out of recycled cardboard boxes and painting them with tempera!

Colour, Cut & Build this Robot [Free Printable]: Here’s the robot we printed out on cardstock and gave to the kids to colour as T’s bday bash began. Print one out for yourself! After you colour it, you can cut it out and build it, too!

Easy Outdoor Birthday Bash: Here’s a post with all of the DIY for hosting your own Minute-to-Win-It style kids outdoor birthday bash. [Most of the games can be played inside, too!]

Birthday Surprise: Chocolate Milk Piñata Cake: Check out this easy-to-create cake filled with a chocolate candy surprise!  Don’t want to follow our tasty recipes? No problem, just follow our guide with your box cake and icing!

Summer Books: Comparing Performances of Macbeth: The Kids compare film and live versions of Macbeth and discuss their favourites!

“Ping Pong” and Paper Airplanes: Making Paper Airplanes and throwing them at chalk targets. Using an old baby-safety device to play outdoor “ping pong.”

The Peaches Cookbook, a Love Story [and Caramelized Peach Frozen Yogurt]: How this Savour the South Cookbook brought me back to my childhood…and a recipe for Caramelized Peach Fro-yo!

Summer Books:  Paradise Lost, Book 9, and Automatic Villian Poems:  I read the famous temptation scene from Paradise Lost as the kids create illustrations.  Then, the kids create impromptu poems in the voice of their favourite “villains.”

Summer Books: Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination & Poe-Inspired “Ghost Story Starters”: I take a chance and read “The Black Cat” and “The Purloined Letter” aloud as the kids illustrate the stories.  We then share some Poe-Inspired Ghost Story Prompts for writing or improvising by the campfire.

Backyard Campout Weekend: We pitch a tent in the backyard, telling ghost stories and projecting movies inside! S’mores over a tea-light! Ghost Stories! And a Percy Jackson reading marathon ensue!

Pickle Day 2013: Make it Spicy!: Along with our summer fave pickles and relishes, we create three new fave recipes to share with you! Gochujang [Korean Red Pepper Paste] Pickle Sticks, Summer Hot Pickle Sticks, and, Sweet, Spicy & Tangy Pickle Relish. Enjoy!

Summer Books: Mapping Gulliver’s Travels:  We read parts of Gulliver’s Travels, watch several film versions, and draw maps of Gulliver’s travels to real and imagined places.

“Face” Painting: Get out the goggles! The kids are going to paint with their faces!

Summer Books: Imagine Like Bradbury! Story Sketches and Dystopian Novel “Teasers”:  We read and illustrate two Bradbury stories:
“A Sound of Thunder” and “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed.”  Then, the kids spend some time inventing their own dystopian settings and the heroes who might live within them. They improvise and dictate these “novel teasers” to me as I type!

Summer of Funner Film Festival 2013: Dystopian and Urban Films:  A list of this summer’s family movies!

Thanks for a Fabulous Summer! Stay Tuned for The Lunchbox Season! : A thank-you, a review or our 2013 Bucket List, and an invitation to view our sister-site, The Lunchbox Season this September!


Soap Day: Making Toy and Candy-Mold Soaps: We make glycerin soaps with embedded toys and animal soaps in candy molds. DIY

Our First Paella, With a Recipe for the Next: Our first paella on the grill! We test out our pan and provide a revised recipe for our next try!  RECIPE

Camp Snacks: Soft Lemon-Glazed Gingerbread Cookies and Cookie-Pops: Snacks to send to camp. RECIPE

Yesterday Books with Pop-Art Animal Olympians: The kids use a pop art technique to decorate the front covers of this summer’s Yesterday Books. DIY

Kids’ Movie Reviews: A printable movie review sheet for drafting movie reviews geared towards the little ones. PRINTABLE

Macarons!: We make our first French Macarons! Chocolate Macarons with Nutella filling and Colourful Macarons with Jam filling. PRINTABLE RECIPE

Olympian Self-Sufficiency: The Kids Make Supper by Themselves
: The kids make Artisan Bread and Super-Easy Kid-Friendly Salmon (almost) all by themselves. PRINTABLE RECIPE

Skylanders Portal of Power Birthday Cake: We make a Skylanders themed birthday cake for Tobes and provide printable templates for banners and the “eight elements.” DIY, RECIPES, PRINTABLES

Outdoor Mural Phase One: Sketching from our Favourite Artists: The kids look at books of favourite artists and make sketches in preparation for a summer mural project for our backyard.

Relish, Pickle, Replenish: It’s Cucumber Day: We set our sights on canning our favourite cucumber condiments from last summer with revised, more flexible recipes. RECIPES

Summer Activism 101: The Kids Investigate the Mega-Quarry: We investigate the issues surrounding the Mega-Quarry and discuss what can be done about it.

Glam Cans 2012: Kid-Designed Canning Labels DIY:  The kids create abstract art to use as the background for canning labels. How to create canning labels using scanned art, free photo editing software, and labels or sticker sheets. DIY, PRINTABLE

The Kids Make Street Eats (with Beer!): Pilsner Pretzels & Hops and Robbers Mustard: We make our own pretzles and mustard for dipping using Ontario beers. RECIPES.

Mad Scientist Day 2012: Ten Sweet Experiments:  The kids perform 10 fun tricks and experiments with candy and other things around the house. DIY. PARTY IDEAS.

The Imaginary Beasts of Riverdale Farm: The kids draw imaginary animals based on the real farm friends downtown. The next step will be to write stories about them!

A Movable MuralOver the course of a single weekend, we complete our movable outdoor mural project.  With a DIY for how you can complete one too! DIY.

Peach Day: Amaretto Peach Jam, Brown Sugar Vanilla Peach Jam and Giant Peach Butter: Recipes for our Amaretto Peach Jam, Brown Sugar Vanilla Peach Jam, and Peach Butter! RECIPES.

Summer of Funner 2012 Film Festival: A list of our “colourful” movies of 2012. With Six Tips and Tricks for Hosting a Great Family Film Festival of your own.  Movie Review Worksheet included once again. DIY. PRINTABLES.


Ten Weeks: What are we doing here?

Brainstorming the Calendar: Spending a few hours organizing your summer can make for a Summer of Funner. Tips for how to plan the weeks ahead.

Yesterday Books: Helping kids design and decorate the cover-art for a journal they can draw and write in all summer long.

Clay-dough aka Canada Day: Simply clay crafts and a post-fireworks movie party.

Strawberry Day: Painting with strawberries as our brushes, baking strawberry hand-pies, making strawberry jam.

Mustard Tastings and Turtle Talk: A visit to the Evergreen Brickworks delivers inspiration for more summer projects.

Pomme Day: Making prints with potato stamps, apple sun-tea, and apple-and-candy robots.

Sketch Day at the AGO: What happens when you bring your own paper and coloured pencils to the Art Gallery.

Chocolate Day: Baking chocolate donuts, making chocolate lollipops and lootbag animals.

Sketching (Again) at the ROM: Bringing our sketchbooks back downtown to investigate ancient civilizations and canadian wildlife.

Pizza Day: Painting colour-wheels, grilling pizzas, and practicing fractions.

“Save the Riverdale Farm” Sketches: Sketching farm animals and learning about local politics.

Marshmallow Day: Making marshmallows at home, building tooth-pick and marshmallow structures,  and having a backyard party: ’smores on the grill.

Just a Bit of News: An update on this journal and plans for the future.

The Day in Condiments:  A special day of home-canning with the kids. Making pickles, mustards, relish, and spiced blueberry port jam.

Library Day: T-shirts and a Rob Ford Protest Song: Making “I Love My Library” t-shirts and writing the lyrics of a song to protest our mayor’s attempts to cut city services.

Crazy Fruit Day: Playing the Name-That-Crazy-Fruit game, blind-tastings, making a still-life drawing and painting of our exotic fruits, gathering herbs from our garden and canning up a special lemon balm and verbena jelly.

Protest Posters Inspired by Ghosts of Gone Birds: Inspired by the artists of Ghosts of Gone Birds, we made posters protesting our mayor’s proposed cuts to city services.

Postcards from the Falls: A chronicle of our vacation to Niagara Falls with our two favourite aunts.

Egg Day: Science experiments with eggs including: floating eggs in salt water, passing boiled eggs through the mouth of a bottle, and building a vessel to drop a raw egg safely from a second-story window. We also make egg-carton owl puppets, egg self-portraits, and a Chocolate Souffle.

Hands for Jack: Hand-print paintings in memory of New Democrat Jack Layton.

Egg Update: What happened to that egg we bottled in vinegar 3 days ago…

Jelly and Ice Cream Day:  Sumac Jelly turns into Chai-Tea Jelly, Tin Roof Ice Cream goes Chocolate Chocolate Peanut.

Comic Strip Days:  How to make a comic strip. A long-weekend workshop that takes the kids from inspiration to full colour print.

Why We’re Not Taking Stock of our Summer of Funner: Our reasons for looking forward instead of behind.

Follow, Follow, Follow…:  See you next summer. In the meantime, look for us over at The Lunchbox Season .