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Family Fun for Summer

Family Fun for Summer

Welcome to Smarts-n-crafts, where you’ll find smart activities to do with your children–no matter what age—and fun craft projects and games for gobs of giggles. You’ll be provided with step-by-step instructions, a variety of use ideas, approximate time of activity, and an age-tested skill level. Let’s get started! We’ve got just 18 summers to create lots of memories with our loved ones.

This month’s craft is not only a craft, but a game: See how many splat balls you can catch in your catch basket from tosses by your team mate. Made with throw-aways, it’s uber-cool to recycle!

What you’ll need:

4 empty gallon milk jugs cleaned/labels removed (they peel fairly easy, don’t worry about leftover glue)

Two 1-¼ inch dowels, 2 inches long each

Duct tape

Permanent markers

¼ – ½ inch wide elastic

Hole puncher

Splat balls (dry) or other lightweight balls

Skill level:

Little helping hands: Age 4-6 Kids can help wrap duct tape and color their projects with supervision. After all, it is permanent marker. Adults also need to cut the milk jugs, duct tape the project and knot chin straps.

I need some help: Age 7-10 If the parent marks a cut line for the child, the child can cut the jug with safety scissors and do the rest themselves.

I’d rather do it myself: Age 11-up Pretty much on their own with by this age.


You can finish this project in under an hour. Some kids may take a bit more time to decorate well them, though. If you don’t decorate right away, you could play with them in just minutes.


To make one Jughead, cut the bottom totally out of one jug just below the curved bottom, and set it aside. This is the catching basket. The second jug—the helmet—is a bit trickier. Cut the bottom out like the first jug. Then with the handle facing you, cut from the bottom straight up on the line formed by the curve which runs around the handle, forming a “U”, which cuts the handle off. DO NOT cut all the way to the top of the jug opening. Cut just above where the handle begins as the jug opening must be kept intact to attach to your first jug.

Round off the two corners to insure a safe, comfy helmet. Insert one dowel into both jug openings. Align the jug handle to the helmet opening (the top edge of the holes may need trimming slightly, but insure a tight fit). Wrap the joint with duct tape. Punch a hole at the bottom corners of the sides of the helmet and tie a piece of elastic for a chin strap. Decorate with markers. Make another!


There are so many cool patterned and colored duct tapes now. Parents could forgo markers and cut small pieces of tape to help little ones decorate. The entire Jughead could be covered with duct tape if you choose.

Is it hot outside? Use water balloons instead of dry splat balls.

Parents vs. kids?  Dads and sons vs. moms and girls? I feel a contest coming on!

Dig a Little Deeper:

These are great to take to Grandma’s for weekend visits or to the church picnic. Make a few sets and play in teams! Since they are made of recycled materials, ask your family to save their jugs for you. Maybe your church could do a jug drive and every kid could make one for summer lock-in. When the cost of store-bought outdoor games is so high…we’ve got Jugheads!

Happy summer, y’all—one of just 18!

By: Donnalynn Davis

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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