I’m excited to partner with CLIF Kid today to tell you about their Come Out to Play campaign.
Ahhhhhh….summer time! Warm weather, lots of free time and constant play dates with friends!
Well, that’s what it looks like in our fantasies at least. In reality, I have a heck of a time getting my kids together to play with their friends over school break. Between family vacations, relatives visiting and all the different camp schedules it’s hard to find a time when kids can just run around being kids together!
Pre-planning seems to be the key, so when CLIF Kid asked me to host a big summer play date with my friends Heather and Whitney from Rookie Moms, my kids and I were all over it. We sent out emails about a week before, met up at a local playground and just set the kids loose!
Here’s how we organized this super fun (and easy) play party:
We decided to hold the party on a weekend to minimize conflicts with work hours and summer camps. We all had a lot going on on Saturdays, but Sundays were generally pretty low-key so we opted for a Sunday afternoon.
Any playground will do, but it’s nice to pick a place with a field so the kids can really run. We opted for a school playground that was centrally located between all our houses.
Dude — keep it simple! We cast a wide net and each invited about ten families. Like I’ve mentioned several times already, coordinating something like this can be tough in the summer. We were hoping for a 25-33% positive response and that’s about what we got. Our emails went out about a week before the party so people had enough time to plan but not so much time that they forgot.
You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. We brought a bunch of fun toys so kids of all ages and temperaments could find something they enjoyed, but I think they would have had just as much fun if we’d stuck to one or two things or even if we’d skipped the equipment altogether.
Some of the play equipment we brought:
- hula hoops
- basket ball
- soccer ball
- jump ropes
- ladder ball
- giant Wubble ball
I also think it would be nice (and easier for the host) to ask the other families to bring a favorite outdoor toy to share. Last year, we asked people to bring bikes to both of my kids’ birthday parties and they both say that riding around with their friends made for their best birthdays ever. (Take that, expensive party venues!)
Again, you can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. You’ll definitely want a big jug of water because kids will get thirsty running around in the sun. You can also invite the other families to bring a snack to share. CLIF Kid provided us with lots of ZFruit and ZBars so we were happy to provide snacks for everyone. We had quite a few, so we set out samples of every flavor to let the kids taste them all then had them vote on their favorites. (The results were mostly evenly distributed among all the flavors, but Chocolate Mint ZBar Protein and Cheery Cherry ZFruit were the favorites.)
We had a few games in our back pocket (tag, red rover — that sort of thing) that we were prepared to pull out if the kids needed a little help getting going but they proved to be completely unnecessary. Our kids were so happy to see their friends that they all just got down to the business of the day — playing! — as soon as they started showing up. We all had so much fun that I’m excited to start planning another play party for later in the summer!
Need more ideas for outside play? CLIF Kid created an online Hub to inspire outdoor experiences that will encourage kids (and parents) to get outside and have fun. The CLIF Kid Play Hub provides tips and tools for parents and communities to promote play for kids of all ages.
How does your family like to play outside? Share your outdoor play adventures using the #outtoplay hashtag on social media.
This post was sponsored on behalf of CLIF Kid via One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.