Life’s a beach, especially in summer. But kids on summer vacation get bored fast. Solution: let them help plan this awesome faux beach party in your own backyard or local park. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
Step 1: Do You Have Enough Space?
Is your backyard big enough for your child’s friends to run around in? You’ll want room for a sprinkler, a kiddie pool, and a dry area where guests can lie out.
If you don’t have enough space, call parks in your area and ask about availability for a water party. Or go in with a friend: she can provide the space, you’ll bring the supplies.
Step 2: Choose Games and Activities
I love Orientaltrading for uber-cheap, easy games. You can find ring toss games, beach balls, limbo bars, and more. You might also have luck at your local dollar store.
Here are some games guests can play at your beach party:
- Have a bean bag toss. Use bean bags you already own and set up cleaned aluminum cans on the ground. Have guests try to toss the bean bags into the cans. The guests who get the most “hits” wins.
- Set up a cool sprinkler. We have a Little Mermaid sprinkler; she spins around and squirts water. My kids absolutely love this. Of course, you can use any home sprinkler, just jumping through is fun for kids.
- Fill up a kiddie pool if you don’t own a pool. If you do have a pool, REQUIRE non-swimming guests to bring floatation gear (i.e. “swimmies” or floaties.) Even if they don’t plan to go in, slips can happen around a pool, so make sure guests know well in advance. You might also pick up a few pairs of swimmies to have on-hand just in case.
- Blow up a bunch of beach balls and allow guests to toss them around. Try keeping the ball in the air as long as possible; the guest who misses and allows the ball to hit the ground is “out.” Keep going until you have a winner.
Step 3: Create a Beach Atmosphere
Let guests know the party’s here with cool beach decor! Take inspiration from this luau party article. Think in terms of tropical colors–ocean blue, tangerine, lime green, and sunshine yellow, for instance. Hang plenty of streamers in these colors from the front door and on your railing if you have one. Google and print out a cute beach scene and tape it to your front door.
Tablecloths and cutlery should match the beach idea. Also fun: a rattan or “Hawaiian skirt”-style table runner or hanging tablecloth. Place plastic coconuts and pineapples in the center of the table and around the party area.
Repurpose an old plastic child’s pool by filling it with sand and placing a net over it. Have guests play mini volleyball across the makeshift beach using a beach ball.
Be sure to have some summery music on-hand. Reggae and other tropical/island style music is perfect. So are groups like The Beach Boys–yes, even kids resonate with this group from the 60s when it comes to beach time. Check Amazon for CDs or load up your iPod.
Step 4: Let Guests Know What to Expect
On your party invitations, ask guests to bring:
- Non-slip pool shoes, if they have them
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Sunglasses (or you can give these out as party favors)
- A beach towel
- One “beach” style yummy–for example, fruit cubes, sandwiches, tropical fruit-flavored drink boxes, or ice cream
Of course, you can supply any of the above. Have extras on-hand and make sure you coordinate which guest is bringing what food so you don’t double up.
Make sure you have room inside your house for guests in case of rain. Interestingly, while kids love to get wet on purpose, being rained on is guaranteed to bring on shrieks of laughter and a lot of playing! And in the summer, the rain is usually warm. (Wow, that brought back memories of my own childhood!)
Enjoy your kid’s summer vacation. I have more ideas here on what to do during the summer.
Photo by McD22/Flickr