With long, hot summer days stretching ahead of us, these dairy-themed activities will keep your kids active this summer and introduce them to dairy farming in creative, hands-on ways. From outdoor planters and bird feeders for your yard to homemade popsicle and ice cream recipes, we hope these activities bring some creativity and fun to your summer adventures. Don’t forget to tag Discover Dairy on social media to share your dairy-themed summer fun with us!
1. Make Milk Jug Planters for Your Garden
Recycled milk jugs make the perfect planter for your favorite summer flowers. Help your child pick out the flower of their choice, and prepare the milk jug to be filled with soil and placed in your garden or outside your home. You can get extra creative and use paint to decorate the milk jug with cow spots!
(Source: Crafty Nest)
2. Use Yogurt Cups to Start Seedlings
One of the best parts about summer is enjoying the sunshine and nature around us. Gardening is a great way for kids of all ages to explore the world around thm. After enjoying your favorite yogurt, clean it out and use it as a mini planter to plant seedlings for your child’s favorite vegetable or plant. Watch it grow together throughout the summer. You can also make connections to dairy farming by explaining how farmers plant seeds each spring to grow different crops, like corn and alfalfa, for their cows to eat.
(Source: Simple Joy)
3. Cool Off With Ice Cream in a Bag
On those hot summer days, there’s nothing better than a cold ice cream cone. With just a few simple ingredients – including whole milk, rock salt, ice, sugar, and vanilla extract – you can make fresh, homemade ice cream in a gallon size bag. Don’t forget to buy milk from your local dairy farms to include in the ice cream!
(Source: American Dairy Association Indiana)
4. Make Your Own ‘Milk the Cow’ Activity
If you can’t visit a local dairy farm, you can get crafty with this “milk the cow” activity. Mix a little bit of white paint with water and pour it into a clear latex glove, closing it off with a rubber band. Consider drawing some cow spots on the glove, and then poke tiny holes in the “udders.” This is a fun activity to do outside so you don’t make a mess! This activity is also a hands-on way to demonstrate milking a cow, although most dairy farms across the United States use technology, including robotic milking systems, to milk their cows.
(Source: Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten)
5. Visit a Local Farm
Many dairy farms host family-friendly events during the summer months with hand-crafted ice cream, opportunities to meet baby calves, hayrides, farm tours, and more! Consider taking a day trip with your children to visit a dairy farm in your community. If you live in Pennsylvania, click here to view a list of family-friendly dairy events happening in June and July.
6. Paint with Nature
Want to combine art class with outdoor play? Find a cool spot in the shade and bring a stack of paper and different shades of paint. Encourage your kids to find items in the yard and garden to paint with, so they can get creative with texture and strokes. To make connections to dairy farms in your community, you can add items that you might find on the farm – such as corn cobs and husks – that kids can roll in paint and make intricate designs.
(Source: Hands On As We Grow)
7. Make Homemade Popsicles
If you’re looking for a nutritious popsicle recipe, this one features fresh strawberries, raspberries and vanilla yogurt – one of kids’ favorite dairy products! Visit your local farmer’s market to get the fresh fruit of your choice. You can make this recipe at home using disposable cups and popsicle sticks and freeze them to enjoy on a hot day!
(Source: Savor Recipes)
8. Create Your Own Milk Jug Bird Feeder
Whether your kids seem to enjoy math and science, or art and creativity, this summer project is the best of both worlds. After finishing the gallon of milk in your fridge, upcycle it and use it to create a bird feeder. Cut small holes into the sides of the milk jug, and then slide wooden twigs through from one hole to the other to serve as perches. After decorating the feeder with paint and sequins to help attract birds, fill it with seed and hang it on display in your backyard.
(Source: Little House Living)
9. Design Your Own Rain Gauge
When it comes to growing crops and harvesting them to feed their cows, dairy farmers are impacted daily by the weather and rainfall. You can make these connections with your kids by designing your own rain gauge at home. Using a plastic bottle or empty milk jug, cut off the top and draw marks to help measure how much it rains. Make sure to add some rocks to the bottom to help it stay in place.
(Source: The Lady Birds’ Adventures)
10. Make Pretzel Stick Cow Pops
If you’re looking for a yummy summer treat or a favor for a farm-themed party, these cow pretzel pops are sure to be a hit! Dip each pretzel rod into melted chocolate and use modeling chocolate to make spots, eyes, and other cow features.
(Source: Hungry Happenings)