Beat Boredom: Kick off a Summer Fun Club!

You’ve seen the movie Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, right? Judy and her friends broke out some poster board and, with a few colored markers, determined that their summer would be an adventure! You can do the same by getting your friends together for a planning committee meeting (not as serious as it sounds). Bring on the summer fun!

Meet and Greet
Where will your club members meet and how often? Figure out a spot -- somebody’s basement or backyard (or rotate between each other’s houses), say, every three days at 3:33 p.m. sharp.

The Rule Book
Keep a notebook with club “rules and regulations.” (Please, don’t get all control-freaky -- the point is to have fun with this!) Keep a log of all the members’ names and phone numbers, and take notes of group discussions. If you decide to elect officers, whoever gets voted keeper of the club notebook will be in charge of its safekeeping.

Calendar of Events
Your summer fun club should also have a master calendar on which you and your friends can plan and keep track of activities. Need ideas for what to do? Here’s our spectacular summer fun club to-do list:

1. Solve a mystery.
Has your neighbor’s cat been disappearing for days on end? Or maybe you’ve always wondered who’s buried in that unmarked grave on the end lot. Make it a Nancy Drew club and crack a mysterious case of whaddup-wit-dat?!

2. Build a fort.
Even if you don’t have the materials, know-how or tools to construct a full-on fancy clubhouse, we’ve seen some pretty righteous structures built out of lawn furniture and curtain sheers. Get creative!

3. Learn a circus trick.
Get each of your friends to perfect a performance skill, such as a magic trick or tumbling routine, then stage a show for all of your parents.

4. Plan a field trip.
Decide on a destination -- maybe a nearby amusement park or cultural festival -- then figure out all the details (e.g., how to raise the money for admission tix, whose parents can supervise, transportation, etc.).

5. Do a neighborhood cleanup.
Show your neighbors how much you love them -- and the earth -- by keeping the area beautified. Walk around public areas, such as parks and schools, and pick up stray trash.

6. Prep a potluck picnic.
Grab some large blankets and head outdoors for lunch! Have each friend bring something to eat. (A signup sheet in the club notebook will help avoid doubling up on food items.) And remember to put someone in charge of plates and utensils.

7. Plant a community garden.
Maybe there’s a neglected plot of land in your neighborhood, or perhaps the elderly neighbor next door hasn’t been able to take care of her yard work. Your crew can volunteer to dig up the weeds, dispose of the debris and do some creative landscaping.

8. Race to the finish line.
Make a list of goals each club member must reach before the summer is over. These could include things like “Swim 100 laps at the public pool,” “Get a postcard from another state” or “Learn to do a back handspring.” Whoever completes her list first scores a blue-ribbon prize!

9. Have a yard sale.
You might not have enough stuff to justify a yard sale on your own, but what if you and your girls were to pull it off together? Figure out who has the best location, put all your for-sale items out with price tags, and split the earnings. Then give half of all the money you made to an agreed-upon charity.

10. Start a newsletter.
Create a newsletter to share with neighbors or just between you and your friends. (No gossip; spread good-vibing tidbits only!) Get each girl to write articles in her area of expertise, whether it’s music reviews or hard-hitting news.

Prezzies for Your Besties!

No money? No problem. Hate mall madness? Don’t bother. Whether you’re stumped on what to give an awesome BFF, your pesky little bro or the grandma who has everything, we’ve gotcha covered.…

Beauty Sleep Mask
A great gift for all the gals on your list. This is so simple you could make it with your eyes closed!

  • Flannel-backed satin
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Rick-rack edging
  • Black-fringe fabric
  • Elastic
  • Flaxseed or rice
  • Dried lavender or thyme
  • Funnel

1. Cut two pieces of the satin, approximately 4 inches by 8 inches. Use the scissors to round the edges and cut out a center notch along one edge to go around the wearer’s nose.

2. On the satin side of one piece, use the glue to attach rick-rack. Cut out two 2-inch lengths of fringe and glue on for “eyelashes.”

3. Run a line of glue around the flannel-sided edge of the other satin piece, leaving an inch-wide gap on top (for filling). Glue the ends of a 6-inch piece of elastic to each side of the flannel.

4. Lay the other satin piece on top, flannel sides facing each other, and gently press the pieces together along the glued edge. Allow glue to dry overnight.

6. Use funnel to pour 5 tablespoons of flaxseed or rice and 3 tablespoons of lavender or thyme into the opening. Glue the gap shut.

7. Create a gift tag with instructions: As a cold or hot treat for tired eyes, store in freezer or heat in microwave for 20 seconds to warm.

Merry Carry-all Caddy
Little kids can toss their crayons in it, or your buds can use it for hair accessories.

  • Decorative scrapbook paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Glue stick
  • Thin ribbon

1. Trim scrapbook paper to 9 inches by 9 inches. Fold in half diagonally both ways, with the decorative side facing in, then reopen to your original square.

2. Next, fold the square in thirds with the decorative side this time facing out, top to bottom and again from side to side. When you reopen your square, it should look like a tic-tac-toe grid intersected by a big X.

3. Punch one hole near the edge of each of the four corners.

4. Fold the basket by bringing the corners together. Weave ribbon through the punched holes, and tie it up in a bow!

Mad Mosaic Mirror
Transform junk-drawer castoffs into mosaic magic. For your brother? Think Legos, Hot Wheels, plastic critters or “metal mania” -- old hardware, screws, coins and keys.

  • Doo-dads, such as costume jewelry, puzzle pieces, game parts (anything goes!)
  • Tacky glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Mirror or frame

1. Lay the mirror or frame flat. Working a section at a time, generously spread glue onto the frame with a paintbrush.

2. Arrange pieces in a layer, overlapping and even letting parts extend beyond the frame.

4. After decorating, allow the glue to dry completely. (Stray drops of glue on the glass can easily be peeled off.)

Celebrate Earth Day! Have Fun and Help the Planet

Happy Earth Day! We’ve pulled together our favorite fun, eco-friendly activities so you and your friends can spread the love to Mama Earth during this global celebration.

Get Dirty
Plants not only beautify our world, but also release oxygen into the atmosphere. So dig up a little dirt and get your gals together for some gardening! Have some small clay pots, potting soil, gardening tools, seed packets and water on hand. (If you really want to get creative, decorate your pots with craft paints or decoupage, and let the pots dry before planting anything in them.) Each girl gets to take her project home and give it plenty of love and sunshine until it sprouts and is ready to be transferred to the ground.

Get Clean
Have a spa party -- no chemicals or aerosols allowed! You can get beautiful using only all-natural products and organic ingredients. Have everyone wash their faces with a homemade scrub: In a bowl, stir equal parts oatmeal and brown sugar with a dab of safflower oil, if you have it. (Hint: Have hair ties handy!) Thoroughly rinse your faces, and then apply a honey-and-almond-oil facial mask, made of 1 tablespoon honey and two to three drops of almond oil. Leave the mask on for up to 15 minutes.

Everyone can also make their own bath salts to take home. Mix Epsom, kosher, rock or sea salts with a few drops of essential oil, and add food coloring. Experiment with different colors and scents (lavender is perfect for de-stressing), then layer in glass mason jars with lids. For a relaxing bath, add a scoop to running water in the tub.

Get Organized
Organize a school clothing drive, giving gently worn items to charitable organizations. Keep in mind that every donated item does not have to be fit for a fashion show. We met up with Jackie King of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), and she tells us that worn-out shoes, belts, purses, stuffed animals, books, sheets, towels, socks and even underwear (freshly laundered, please!) can be recycled into materials such as insulation. Ask school officials if you can set up collection bins, then visit, click on “Contact Us” and punch in your zip code to find a recycling location near you.

Get Crafty
Have a craft party using supplies that might otherwise get tossed in the trash. SMART posts Cool Craft Wednesday each week on its Facebook and Twitter pages, featuring super-fun recycling projects.

One of our favorites is this no-sew recycled T-shirt bag:

1. Cut the sleeves and neckline off of an old T-shirt. The hole at the top of the shirt will now be the opening of your tote, and holes where the sleeves were will form handles at the shoulders.

2. Use the scraps to cut a long strip of material to be used as a drawstring.

3. Cut a slit to make a small opening at the hemline. (Be careful: Don’t cut past the hem!) Attach a safety pin to the end of your drawstring and pull it through one side of the hemline opening to the other.

4. Pull the drawstring cord until the opening is gathered and closed up, and tie to secure. This is the bottom of your totally awesome new T-shirt bag!

Skip the Gym -- and Still Stay Fit!

Sometimes working out feels like, well, work. But you can stay fit and still have fun! Who needs a gym membership? We came up with 10 great activities that’ll get you moving -- but that aren’t a total drag.

1. Go on the Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a blast, and you don’t even notice you’re working up a sweat while you’re racing to finish them. Make a list of funny things you want to find on your hunt, such as a purple feather or someone wearing socks with sandals. Grab a BFF, and then hit the mall to see how many items you two can spot in an hour.

2. Get Growing
Gardening is surprisingly good exercise, especially if there’s a lot of digging involved! Early spring is a great time to start prepping flowerbeds for warm-weather planting.

3. Put “Glee” on Repeat
Pull up scenes of choreographed dances to “Glee” songs (or any music videos, really) on YouTube and practice them until you’ve got the moves down. The “Born This Way” routine is one of our faves!

4. Primp Your Pad
Ever wish you could rearrange your furniture or paint your walls an awesome new shade? Go for it! All that heavy lifting gives your muscles a major workout. Bonus: You’ll have a cute room to boot!

5. Treat Yourself to a Pedi …
... As in a pedometer. Wear one or throw it in your purse, and it’ll track how many steps you take. Challenge yourself to hit 10,000 a day! Then go ahead and treat your feet to the other type of pedi for logging all that mileage.

6. Turn on the Tube
We love to turn TV time into fitness time. Just get up during every commercial break and do jumping jacks, crunches and pushups until your show comes back on. So much for being a couch potato!

7. Let the Dogs Out
Take over your little bro’s dog-walking duties a few days a week. Don’t have a pup? Go with a friend while she walks hers, or offer to walk a neighbor’s dog.

8. Break out the Hula-Hoop
There’s probably one sitting in your garage! Practice until you can keep it up, then move on to more advanced, tricked-out moves. Don’t forget to do a few arm circles while you’re at it.

9. Play Video Games
There are tons of interactive video games, like “Dance Central,” for Xbox Kinect or Wii Sports. Challenge your crush to a few rounds of Wii tennis to get your heart pumping in more than one way!

10. Shop Till Ya Drop
Head to the mall, but do a lap around before you stop into any stores. All that window-shopping will help clue you in to which places have the best swag before you drop any cash!

Crafts We <3!

If you really want to spread the Valentine’s Day love, make a gift that comes from the heart! We have awesome craft ideas for your bundle of beloveds, right here:

Valentine’s Craft for the BFFs: Pretty Pink-painted Tees
Make personalized tees for your besties!

  • What you need:

    Plain white T-shirts or tanks (tip: you can buy these in multi-packs in the boys’ underwear section)
    Piece of cardboard
    Fabric paint pens or permanent colored markers

  • What to do:

    Put newspaper down on your work surface, then fit the T-shirt onto the cardboard so the front of the shirt is flat and facing you. Now draw whatever your, er, heart desires! Use pinks, purples and reds to make swirly patterns, polka dots, flowers or whatever. If you really want to be fancy, you can also sew on a few sequin accents. Don’t forget to make one for yourself!

Valentine’s Craft for Mom: Movin’ Groovin’ Love Mobile
Create a whirling whimsical hanging mobile for your mom ... or aunt or grandma

  • What you need:

    Construction paper
    Playing cards (preferably an oldie with a few cards missing)
    Coat hanger
    Fishing line, yarn or string
    Beads, loose earrings or other baubles (optional)

  • What to do:

    Cut out heart shapes from colored construction paper or any other decorative paper (such as sturdy wrapping paper or sheet music). Punch holes at the tops of the Queen and King of Hearts from an old deck of cards. Break out the glue and glitter to decorate your heart shapes. Now flex your imagination! Use various lengths of string to tie your creations along the bottom of the coat hanger, adding any beads or other adornments until you’ve achieved mobile magic.

Valentine’s Craft for a Boy: Hunks and Chunks o’ Chocolate
Whether you have a BF or a crush, you can’t go wrong by giving a boy food! Really ...

  • What you need:

    Milk chocolate bars or semisweet chocolate chips
    Microwaveable glass bowl
    Baking pan lined with parchment paper
    Nuts and dried fruits (such as raisins or cranberries)

  • What to do:

    Put the chocolate in a bowl (if you’re using bars, break them into pieces first). Place in the microwave on high, stirring at 30-second intervals until melted. Pour the melted chocolate into the pan lined with parchment paper, using the spatula to spread it out to about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle the fruit and nut toppings into chocolate and gently press them in. Place the pan in the freezer to set for approximately a half hour. Once it’s hardened, break the chocolate into chunks and put them in a nice box or tin. Store in a cool place before giving them to your guy. Mmm ... chocolate-flavored kisses!