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Challenge: Summer Fun

8 Simple Ways to Playfully SAVOR “Late Summer”

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Uh…it’s SOOO totally late summer ya’ll!

I mean, I’m not trying to be all “sad trombone” over here, but we are about to flip that calendar to August right quick…you know, the month that BACK TO SCHOOL gets all up in our faces?

It’s time to get our late summer FUN flags a’ waving folks!

If you’ve been busy playing hard the past 6 weeks, then kudos to you and high fives all around! But if not, then it’s time to get your game face ON.

My first book, “Well Played, the Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit” launched this summer and in it I share tips, tricks, and total fails I’ve learned along my personal path to living a more playful life. Research shows that playfulness makes us happier, healthier, more amazing humans all around. And playing more is way more fun than therapy, a treadmill, or juice cleanses, so there’s that. Want to kick up your happiness quotient? Play more.

Here are 8 ways to playfully savor everyone of those long, sunny, school-free days we’ve got left!

5 Super Backyard Playthings You Should Know About.

1. The Swurfer Swing: I first saw this amazingly cool new swing at New York Toy Fair last February and once I jumped on to try it, I never wanted to get off. With a super sturdy base and handlebars, kids and their grownups alike will love the thrill of surfing the sky! This swing can be ridden from both seated and standing positions, so kids of all ages can give it a go.

2. The Hugglepod: There is nothing better than a tree house and a group of good friends, right? But if you don’t have the space nor time to build one from scratch, these adorable hanging hideouts are the ticket! With enough room and durability to fit several small kids at once, Hugglepods provide a cozy spot for pretend play, story time, a snack picnic, or anything your kiddos kids dream up.

3. The Ninja Line: Designed with the help of a real life American Ninja Warrior, the Ninja Line by Slackers is a fun and challenging way to help kids get their 60 minutes of active free play in each day. Simply string the line between two sturdy trees and encourage your kids (and maybe your husband), to complete the series of hanging obstacles in record time.

4. The creative genius that is the sand and water table: When I taught preschool the one plaything that all of the kids clamored for each day was the “water” table. That’s because they never knew what they’d find inside and this bin of awesome provides creative play on point. Our kids need playtime that they direct and produce by themselves, along with all those awesome adult led activities you’ve signed them up for. Summertime is the perfect time to pop a water table into the backyard, and then surprise your kids with a variety of sensory substances with which to play. Sand and water and a batch of safe kitchen tools is always a hit, but try inexpensive things like shaving cream, packing peanuts, water beads, colored rice, tiny monster trucks and a mountain of potting soil, or ice cubes and some plastic arctic animals Pour it in and let them play. It doesn’t need to be fancy to be super duper fun.

5. The ginormous Mega Bounce XL: One simply can not resist the magic of a really bouncing giant playground ball. If you can, then I don’t think we can be friends.

As a girl who shares toys on TV, I’m here to tell you that the Mega Bounce XL by Duncan is completely "Baller" with a capitol “B”. It bounces incredibly high, it’s 100 inches around, and it even bounces on sand and grass. Try taking one of these kid-magnets into your front yard and NOT attracting all the children in the hood. I dare you.


3 DIY Fun Bombs to Pop on Your Late Summer Play List.

1. The crazy backyard obstacle course…AKA: reorganize your pile of of kid debris! You know all those orange playground cones, jump ropes, hula hoops, play tents and tunnels, sidewalk chalk, and balls of every shape and size that you’ve got piling up in your garage? Yeah, take it all out into your yard or front sidewalk and have your kids create a one of a kind obstacle course with it. Then give them a timer and see who can complete it the fastest. After their done, have them help you organize it all back into place, getting rid of stuff that’s broken or just not played with any longer.

2. The playground crawl: This has been one of my boys’ favorite ways to spend a summer afternoon. For there are so many playgrounds and so little time, don’t you think? And often when ya’ll drive by a cool looking playground, you simply don’t have the time to stop everything and explore. Make time for spontaneity by carving out a few hours some weekend, picking three playgrounds your kids have been salivating over and hitting them all! Then come home and score the places on your playground crawl voting for things like “best slide”, “most awesome monkey bars”, “wickedest water feature”, “lamest swings ever”, and “best all-around grounds of play”.

3. Surprise Date Night: Forget the kids for a moment… this one is all about Y.O.U. The very best way to evoke creative play in our kids, is by being creativity playful ourselves. In my book’s section on the importance of playing with your mate, one idea I share is called secret date night. It’s something my husband and I do to keep our marriage-hood from getting old and cray. I invented it because I needed a way to get my man to take a ballroom dance class with me. He’s 6’7 with size 15 feet. Nuff said. They only way I was going to get him there was thru playful manipulation. I made the date a secret, kidnapped him, and although he wanted to run when we pulled in the parking lot, he went along for the ride and we ended up having one of the most connectively-playful times of our dating lives. Want some for yourself? Just make a list of playful, moronic, risky, or fully immature things you’ve been dying to do with your mate instead of another Netflix and chill. Then plan one of those things for your next day or night out. Checking your ego at the door and getting a little goofy with each other is endearing and flirty and the best kind of fore-PLAY around.

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