Beat the Heat: Party Ideas and Activities
The summer months are here and so are rising temperatures. Whether you're on vacation or just need some fun ideas to make the heat a little more tolerable, these activities will stop everyone from thinking about too much sun and start thinking about beating the heat!
Pool Party Without the Pool
Every little kid's dream is to have a pool in their backyard. For most families, however, this isn't a reality. On days when it's just too unbearable to be outside without cooling off in the water, throw a pool party - but without the pool! Punchbowl offers a variety of fun, playful pool party invitations that can be customized to fit your color scheme, event details and more.
What you'll need for activities:
- Lawn sprinklers (at least two)
- Bottle of bubble bath
- Three kiddie pools
- Three large bags of sand (found at any hardware store, fine grade)
- Beach towels for all guests
- Sand buckets, toys and beach balls (found at most dollar stores)
- A roll of industrial plastic (used for moving/storage and can be found at any hardware store)
- Four camping tent stakes (found at any outdoor goods store)
- A kid-friendly yard with grass
- Dry-erase board and marker
- Two lawn chairs
- Mop or broom
Slip N' Slide: First things first, put on your work gloves and clean up your yard. Make sure there isn't anything laying around that could be harmful to a group of kids (think gardening shears and fertilizer). Establish where you can set up the activities so that there will be mostly sun while everyone is outside. If the yard has a hill or sloping edge, use that as your starting point for setting up. Unroll the plastic down the hill (flat grassy areas work just fine too!) for at least 18' and insert a stake (all the way so it's flush with the ground) at each corner to ensure the plastic won't move or slide around. Position the sprinklers at each end, on opposite sides. Wet the entire length of plastic and liberally sprinkle with bubble bath. You now have a homemade slip n' slide for all the kids to whiz down!
Beach Volleyball: Set up two kiddie pools across from each other with about 4' in between them. Fill with water and let the water sit for a few hours to warm up. Position the lawn chairs in between the pools, with the backs facing each other. Balance the broom or mop across the chairs (for the "net" - an imagination IS required). Have the kids rotate, two at a time in each pool, on their knees, and play volleyball with a beach ball. Take score on the dry-erase board and award prizes (like a bucket with toys) to the winners at the end of the party.
Sandcastles: Fill the third kiddie pool with sand and slightly dampen. Scatter the buckets and toys throughout the sand and challenge all the kids to build sand castles with a prize going to the most original. Send them through the sprinkler to clean up and cover the sand "box" with some of the leftover plastic from the slip n' slide at the end of the party. Your kids will be able to play in it during the remainder of the summer.
Hints: Roll up the beach towels and hand out to kids throughout the day as they get chilly. Having sunscreen on hand is a good idea too, especially if the kids are constantly getting wet and wiping off their prior application.
Fun Recipes to Try:
- 2 tsp. cold water
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup marshmallow fluff
- 4 popped bags of plain popcorn
In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt together the corn syrup, butter, water, sugar and fluff. Heat to a boil. Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn, ensuring that you've covered every kernel. Coat hands with butter and quickly shape the popcorn into hand-sized balls and wrap with colored cellophane. (To enhance this sugary treat, add chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles or nuts to the popcorn before you shape into a ball.)
- 1 bag of multi-colored tortilla chips
- 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 small can of sliced black olives
- 1 whole green pepper, pitted and diced
- 2 red tomatoes, pitted and diced
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 can of green tomatilla salsa
Place chips on a large oven-safe platter or tray and scatter cheese, olives, pepper and tomatoes all over. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine sour cream and salsa and mix well. Drizzle the mixture over the nachos when they are done baking.
- 2 packages of mini hotdogs
- Premade, unbaked crescent rolls(as many as there are hotdogs)
- 1/4 cup butter
- Condiments of your choosing, diplayed with little spoons in ramekins
Wrap each hotdog in a crescent roll and place on a baking tray. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes or so (crescent rolls will "pop" and hotdogs will be sizzling). Melt butter and brush on top of each roll when done baking. Set out with toothpicks and condiments for dipping.
Homemade Fruit Punch:
- 2 (6-ounce) cans frozen juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 (6-ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 1 (48-ounce) can cranberry juice
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups
- 1 (1-liter) bottle lemon-lime soda
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- Vanilla ice cream
Combine all the fruit juices together and stir. Heat the water and sugar together over medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow the sugar to dissolve and then let cool. Add the sugar mixture to the fruit juices and pour into a punchbowl. Add the soda, frozen raspberries and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Old-Fashioned Indoor Activities
There are those inevitable days during the summer where the rain won't stop or it's too hot to be outside for an extended period of time. On those days, turn your house into a neighborhood hotspot by setting up these fun indoor activities that hark from the days before television and video games.
- Have an Indoor Picnic: Gather a picnic blanket, basket, plastic plates and forks and serve lunch right on your living room floor. Make a variety of sandwiches, put chips into baggies and cut up a fruit salad and let the kids help themselves. Encourage everyone to tell stories, play "I Spy" or share riddles and jokes.
- Play Hide-and-Seek: Organize a game of hide-and-seek with a group of neighborhood kids. Gather everyone in one spot and go over the rules: the seeker counts to one hundred and all the kids go hide (be sure to outline where hiding is acceptable and where it isn't). Set a timer for five minutes. The first child to be found is the next seeker. Count how many kids the seeker finds within five minutes and at the end of the game, the seeker to find the most hiders wins (good "prizes" are dollar store finds like water guns, barrettes, sidewalk chalk, etc.).
- Put on a Puppet Show: Set up a craft table with lunch-size paper bags, markers, crayons, yarn, kid-friendly scissors, glue, old buttons, left-over ribbon, pipecleaners, etc. Demonstrate to the kids how to make a puppet using all of these materials and let their creative juices flow. Once the puppets are finished, give them a few minutes to put together a rough outline of their show and set them up behind a couch or chair so only the puppets are showing. Record the show on your smart phone or video camera and let everyone watch (and giggle!) at the finished product.
If you're looking for a unique way to celebrate the end of school, a birthday or just want to throw a party during a heat wave and ice cream won't hit the spot, throw a popsicle party for friends, family or neighbors. You'll turn into everyone's favorite hostess in minutes when you present an array of refreshing, brightly colored popsicles for everyone to enjoy. How cute is the popsicle invitation below? Check it out on Punchbowl!
What you'll need for your popsicle party:
- 1 case of popsicle sticks (found at any craft or grocery store)
- Variety of popsicle molds or paper cups (found at most craft stores or online)
- Multi-colored construction paper pad
- Variety of colored balloons
- Roll of twine
- Large galvanized tin buckets
- Shaved ice
- At least a dozen new, rectangular, colored cleaning sponges
Before you start making the popsicles (see recipes below), get started on decorating the party space. If the weather holds, throw it outside on a porch or deck and keep the decor simple. Make a chic popsicle garland by cutting out rounded rectangles from construction paper and taping them to popsicle sticks. Alternate colors and tape to a length of twine (leaving about 6 inches in between each popsicle) and tie between doorways or at the base of the table. Blow up a variety of balloons and tape them to the twine in between paper popsicles. Cover a serving table with a plastic table cloth (this party can get sticky!) and set out the galvanized buckets. Once you're about to start the party, fill each bucket with shaved ice for the popsicle display. Label each bucket with a paper popsicle so guests know what they're about to taste. Cut each sponge in half and punch through the middle with a hole punch (industrial strength will work the best, or you can simply cut a hole or slit with scissors) and set out for guests to slip through their popsicle stick to catch any dripping.
Fruity Fizzy Twist Popsicles:
- 1/2 cup orange or apple juice
- 1 cup bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
- 1 liter lemon-lime or orange soda
Blend all the berries and fruit together until slightly chunky. Add juice and stir. Fill popsicle mold or cup halfway with mixture and put in the freezer for 1/2 hour. Take out of the freezer and fill the rest of the cup with soda and a popsicle stick (push this all the way through). Allow to freeze for a few hours.
Orange Cream Popsicles:
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1-2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla syrup
Blend all the ingredients together in a bowl and pour into the popsicle mold. Allow to freeze for 1/2 hour and then place the popsicle stick in each.
Hot Chocolate Pops:
- 2 cups milk
- 1 baking square of semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 package of Hershey Kisses
Simmer milk over medium heat and add the chocolate (cubed) after a few minutes. Add the cocoa, honey and vanilla and allow everything to melt together. Whisk briskly. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Place one Kiss in each popsicle mold and then pour the mixture into each mold. Place in the freezer for 1 hour and then remove to add the popsicle stick.
Hint: It helps to run warm water over the molds to release the popsicles when you're ready to serve.
Be creative and experiment with different flavors and combinations. If a popsicle party sounds like it may be a recurring theme in your summer party repertoire, invest in a fancy plastic mold - they're worth the money, easy to clean and won't require the messy popsicle sticks.
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