So this week at Works For Me Wednesday, we’re sharing our Summer Big Guns (as I like to call them). You know, the summer stash of things we bust out only in moments of pure desperation, when we’ve had it up to “here” and can take nothing more.

So what do I have in my secret stash?  Well, aside from the leftover candy that’s in there for mommy “time outs” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and the general assortment of construction paper, crayons, play doh and cheap new toys like bubbles, sidewalk chalk and squirt guns, I also have packs of:

Water Balloons.  I know doesn’t seem like that great of a secret does it?  But I’ve discovered I love water balloons for my young munchkins (the four of them will all be under 7 this summer).  They are cheap.  It also takes a while to fill the balloons up with water and tie them.  For some reason, this is still very entertaining and prolongs the process.  That’s good because it helps to use up more of those slow summer minutes. 

Also, my kids often have a difficult time with the coordination squirt gun triggers require.  Water balloons? No coordination required!  And they never care if they manage to hit anyone or not.  It’s just fun to throw them, watch them splat on the ground and get splashed by the exploding spray. 

And remember those slow summer minutes?  Well, cleaning up the balloon pieces also uses up more of them!  A word of advice though?  Have them pick them up right after they pop the final balloon.  If you wait at all, then the fun is gone and no one wants to pick up.  But if done immediately, they are still on a fun “high” and will usually do it willingly.  Especially if you make it a race or contest of some sort.

Another Summer Big Gun idea are:

free movies that some theaters offer on a weekly basis.  You just can’t beat free air conditioning AND getting out of the house for a couple hours.  We usually buy a popcorn and split it among the kids to make it an even bigger treat but does add $4 or $5 to the originally free event. 

A hint for those of us with more than one child – bring along a friend who has kids also.  It’s always more fun for you that way but it’s also easier to have two sets of mom hands.  Then, if anyone has to go potty (and it always happens no matter how much you ration the liquids), one mom can take the potty-er while the other stays with the rest of the kids.  That way there’s no need to uproot all the kids and march them all to the bathroom mid-movie, spilling popcorn, tripping over laps and trying to locate lost flip flops in the dark.  It’s a win-win.  Especially when you have four munchkins like I do.  My friend Tess and I go together often and let me tell you, between her four and my four (all under 9), we’re a roving circus.  But we have a blast (oops! Did I just date myself by using that word?!) and we leave in our wake, people with jaws hanging open, eyes bugging out of their heads and huge question and exclaimation marks above their heads.  They just can’t figure out how we do it.  Little do they know, it’s a tiny thing called “the buddy system for moms” and it works marvelously and helps to keep our sanity intact.

My final Summer Big Gun is this:

Ice Cubes. 

Yep, you read that right.  It’s amazing how entertaining ice cubes can be.  First of all, kids love to suck on them and they are sugar and dye-free.  If you are worried about the drip factor, send ’em outside.  You need the momentary noise break anyway. 

Ice cubes also make great water “crayons”. Kids can use them to paint sidewalk water pictures instead of the standard paint brush.  I think it goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that they also make great sibling ammo. 

A sneakily place ice cube down a shirt is hilarious to the kids and makes great video.  Just be prepared to be attacked too.  And frankly, when it’s 100+ degrees out, I say, “Attack away kids!”  The “icing on the cake” is ice cubes are practically free… as long as you have the cube trays already and can be made over and over to the munchkins content.

For more ideas to add to your stash of Summer Big Guns, head over to Rocks In My Dryer