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Free summer activities from Melissa & Doug

Ice pirate ships are one of the crafts

Ice pirate ships are one of the crafts featured in Camp Sunny Patch from Melissa & Doug. Credit: Handout

School's out, now what? If you haven't enrolled your child in camp this year, don't fret. Sign them up for Camp Sunny Patch, a virtual summer camp from Melissa & Doug. All season, visit their blog and you'll receive free, do-it-yourself activities that encourage kids to get outside and play -- right in the comfort of your backyard.

Each weekly camp activity, written by Melissa & Doug bloggers or counselors, feature themed “camp sessions” such as water play, arts & crafts, scavenger hunts and other kid-friendly favorites, through free printable play guides. The session kicked off recently with activities such as Spray Bottle Freeze Tag and Backyard Pirate Adventure.

Looking to get started? Visit the Melissa & Doug blog (or click on the image below) and each week you can download a session guide which features the activity, games, crafts and more. You can print and post monthly calendars, which are available exclusively on the blog and to email subscribers. After your kids complete each activity, download a weekly badge that you can paste on a printable Camp Sunny Patch poster.

In case you missed the first few weeks, here's a craft to try at home:

Icy Pirate Ships

What you need:
-Plastic cup, muffin tin or other container
-Child-safe scissors
-Plastic bendy straws
-Tape
-Construction paper or card stock
-Hole puncher

Additional optional supplies:
-Rainbow beads or buttons
-String or ribbon
-Pirate role-play costume
-Pirate treasure and chest

How to do it:
1. Collect a variety of plastic containers (your pirate
ship shapes). Look for different shapes, sizes and depths.

2. Grab a straw (your mast) and bend it to a 90-degree
angle. Show your child how to place the short end
of the straw on the floor of the ship. Use a single strip of
tape to secure the plastic mast in an upright position.

3. Fill the hull with water and freeze. Ensure your
pirate ship is frozen solid before moving forward.

4. Next it’s time to prepare the sail. Cut a medium
sized triangle sail out of construction paper or card stock.
Punch a hole at the top and bottom of each sail.

5. Run the bottom of the ship under warm water
and gently pull it from the plastic container. Slip the
paper sail onto the straw mast and set sail. Now head
outside and play until it melts!

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