Breathe in the fresh air, leave your undone tasks where they lie, and get ready for a relaxing weekend.
Ha! Ha! Who are we kidding?! As much as we’d all like to kick back with a cold one and simply chill, we know that with children, that’s gonna be hard to do. But, if you plan accordingly, you might be able to enjoy 15 uninterrupted minutes with your feet up and that desired drink in your hand. Hello, mojito.
Whatever weekend outings you may have planned this summer, here are some tips and tricks to help you have a fabulous, and somewhat peaceful long weekend.
Fingers crossed that we’re granted beautiful, summer weather so that we can spend a lot of time outside. Many families will host an annual picnic or BBQ this weekend. Others might go to an amusement park, waterpark or zoo. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re prepared for being outdoors.
Dress for the Weather
Check the weather the night before and the morning of so that you can pack appropriate clothing. If spending the day outdoors with little ones, bring a change of clothes (1 of everything they’re currently wearing) so that if any accidents, spills or robust adventures cause a need for a change, you’re prepared. Grab an umbrella or poncho should rain be in the forecast.
Tip: Layering is a great way to ensure you’re comfortable as the weather changes throughout the day. A light sweater or coat will come in handy once the sun goes down.
From bugs, the sun and good ol’ summer fun! Must-have items for a full-day of celebration include sunscreen, bug spray and a small First Aid Kit. We’re talking the essentials; band-aids for cuts, scrapes and blisters. And travel-size amounts of Polysporin, Tylenol and Gravol (both adult and child doses).
Tip: Throw some Benadryl in the kit too. You never know if someone will have a reaction to a bug bite or simply something in your surroundings, like wildflowers or grass.
Enjoy the Ride
If you’re traveling by car to your long weekend destination, make sure it’s up for the journey. Have you been putting off topping up the air in that one tire? Do you need to add more windshield washer fluid to help clear off any pesky bugs? Check your vehicle a day or two before you leave to reduce any roadside surprises and help ease travel anxiety. If you’ll be in the car for a long time, be sure to pack portable snacks and drinks. Like to sing? Make a playlist so you can sing along to your favorite tunes together. Also, assemble a small tote with games and coloring books to keep the kiddos entertained.
Tip: Traveling with 2 or more children? Have them change seats at every rest stop so that everyone gets a turn beside their ‘favorite’ sibling, friend or cousin. And if there’s any children big enough to sit without a car seat or booster, give them a turn up front with the driver. Every kid likes being the navigator and 2nd in command!
This long weekend, dare yourself to stay off social media. Do you think you can spend 3 days without checking what everyone else is up to and simply enjoy what you’re doing? Make a pact with your partner that you’ll both try your hardest to be present during your celebrations. But, if you must upload, post and tweet, be sure to make what you share meaningful. Enjoying a long weekend with family and friends sans technology might allow for more conversation, less distraction and simply, more fun!
Think of the Food
What celebration doesn’t include food? If you’re hosting a picnic or BBQ for more than your immediate family, be sure to ask for contributions. Having a potluck-style meal helps your budget, allows you more time to tackle other tasks, and can satisfy even the pickiest eater. Be sure to tell your guests of any allergies or diet restrictions so that they can prepare a dish that’s safe for everyone to enjoy.
Make it Fun
One sure way to keep kids happy is to provide some fun activities they can take part in. Here are some ideas:
Fireworks: Safety first! If you’re setting off your own fireworks always be sure you’re far enough away from trees, houses or any other combustible structure. Pick an area that is flat and debris-free. You’ll also want to make sure there’s a sizable clearing to provide a great viewing experience for your guests. It’s best to have a bucket (or two!) of water nearby in case of any sudden flames or sparks. Once your light show is over, place the firework remains in the water buckets. This will eliminate the worry of any hotspots setting anything on fire. Also, keep an eye on the weather; you don’t want to set off fireworks if it’s windy or if thunder and lightning is present.
Fireworks only work when it’s dark, so keep this in mind when executing your plans for the day. If you’ve got littles that will be staying up past their bedtime, will they need to have a nap at a later time than usual? Do you have fun distractions in place to keep them entertained while you wait for the sun to go down? The sun sets later in the day so have games and activities ready for those couple of hours after dinner and before the firework show.
Sparklers: You can hand these out to the kiddos at dusk before it’s dark enough for blastoff. This should keep them busy for a couple of minutes before they whine that their ‘light stick’ no longer lights up.
Tip: Bend the end of the wire like the hook of a coat hanger and tell young ones to hold there. This will ease your mind that they aren’t holding too close to the spark, and it helps little hands grasp better so they can freely wave the wand around.
Scavenger Hunts: Give each kiddo a small bucket or bag so they can collect items on your list. Prior to making your list, think of where you’ll be; at home, on the beach or at a park. You’ll want to choose things that they can easily find so not to cause any disappointment.
Tip: This is a great activity for toddlers/preschoolers as it can help them with their counting and colors.
Special Treats: Offer special treats like chips and juice boxes. Sit together and do your best to get everyone involved with singing songs and playing games. If you went to camp as a kid, this is a great way for you to share your favorites like I Spy, Going on a Picnic and Down By the Bay.
Tip: If you’re sitting around a fire and will be making smores, have a box of baby wipes handy to clean those gooey little fingers and faces.
No matter how you celebrate this summer, we hope you have a safe and happy season!