Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids | Part Two

Summertime is right around the corner, and your children are probably looking forward to enjoying the outdoors. You want your children to remember all the great activities that they participated in during their childhood because this is a crucial part of their lives where activities can help them develop. Today, we are going to look at three summer activities you can do with your child to help get them outside and enjoying the Arizona warmth:

Beaches

Do not forget to bring sunscreen! The simplicity of the beach will allow their imagination to become more powerful. Your children love the beach and the opportunity to explore a new atmosphere. You do not need to bring much to enjoy the beauty this landscape has to offer. Bring some beach towels, frisbees, buckets, shovels and maybe some beachballs. Come up with some fun games or ideas for the day. If you plan on staying long, do not forget to pack snacks to eat throughout the day.

Farmer’s Market

The farmer’s market is a perfect place to help children adapt socially. They are not too crowded but go through simple skillsets of interacting in groups. Allow your kids to help with some shopping. Plus, this is an opportunity the children can be taught to say “please” and “thank you.” With the farmer’s market, you will be able to get out of the house and enjoy the sun.

Crafts

Creativity is powerful and can help the mind grow. Let your child explore their artsy side with crafts. Some outdoor crafts can be as simple as chalk drawings in the driveway. This can let your child enjoy the weather of the summer and still be crafty. Painting rocks, building a kite, and helping in the garden can all be different ways to explore creativity in your child’s life. You can even allow your kids to build their own boats and take them to water to see if they float for two summer activities combined!

Spending time outdoors this summer with your kids is essential. While children take a mental break from school, it is never time to stop developing. Remember to expand your children’s adventurous side and creativity levels by adding outdoor family fun into the plans. Make sure to check out the last part of the series to get some more fun ideas!

Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids | Part One

Every season comes with fun, entertaining activities for friends and family to enjoy. Since summer gives us longer days and more time to enjoy outside, it is always fun to find new activities and games for the kids. At Fulton Homes, we understand that childhood is a significant time in a kid’s life to explore different sports and hobbies and find their interests. To help you make the most of summer, here are the top summer activities your children should try:

Sports

Getting your children active in different sports can help develop teamwork skills. Children working towards a common goal will help with problem-solving as well. Your child can also discover that practicing a particular sport can help develop skills in life. Whether baseball, soccer, or swimming, your child will experience growth through training and practice. This can also help your child discover what they like and do not like. Plus, sports can also be a great physical activity to keep children from living sedentary lifestyles.

Water Games

Kids love water games, and in Arizona, the summers can be hot! From sprinklers to water balloon fights, water games are a blast that the whole family can enjoy. Plus, water games will help your child experience the outdoor environment more. You can invest in a slip-n-slide or go to a nearby water park. These types of activities are fun, bonding time and let your child explore many different water activities like water slides and diving boards to stay cool during the hot Arizona days.

Parks

Today, children spend much of their time indoors and have little motivation to go outside the home. Taking your children to a park has many benefits. They usually are free admission and can allow your children to explore. Plus, exploring can help with mental development. This time will help with developing a relationship with your children as you hike, explore, and create an adventure together.

Summertime is a crucial time for children to enjoy while away from school. Finding diverse activities can help your child not only socially develop but physically and mentally as well. Make sure to have fun and let your child be creative. For more ideas and adventures, make sure to check out the rest of our Summer Activities series.

Keep the Family Occupied Until Gift Giving Starts

15287057_SIn the hours before gift giving starts in your family, it can be difficult to keep little ones from going crazy with excitement. It’s smart to plan an activity or two to help tide them over until it’s time for presents. These suggestions may help.

Plan a pre-gift. The night before or the morning before opening presents, have one gift ready to open early. The best choice is a game, a puzzle or a couple of new movies, something that will keep everyone occupied for a few hours.

Schedule an event. A visit to a holiday light show, a family concert or even a drive to look at lights can bring the holiday into focus and take up time with restless family members. Look for holiday-themed events – there are plenty in every community at this time of year.

Bake cookies. Making a batch of sugar cookies with cookie cutters and colored frosting and decorations, followed by a cookie feast with milk can easily take up an afternoon. Also, you’re ready with cookies to leave for Santa. Have everyone choose their favorite cookie to give the jolly guy.

Stage a pajama party. With new PJs for everyone, a special DVD or two, and popcorn and favorite snacks all wrapped up in a big box to open and enjoy, you’re ready for an exciting evening that can keep everyone occupied till bedtime. Some of those cookies would be tasty here too.

Whatever you choose to do, planning the time before presents will make a much nicer holiday for everyone, particularly parents who may get tired of hearing, “Is it time yet?” every 20 minutes or so. And it gives you a chance to start some new holiday traditions with your family.

Planning a special children’s party

5760630_SYou don’t have to spend a fortune to organize a special party for children. Planning and creativity can make any party something to remember. Here are a few suggestions:

Choose a theme: Current children’s movies often offer a full selection of paper products such as plates, cups and centerpieces, but don’t limit yourself to these options. For example, a “Toy Story” theme could feature actual character dolls – smaller ones to decorate a cake, and larger ones to serve as a centerpiece.

Plan activities: To keep the energy going, set up a series of games and activities. Here in the Southwest, a piñata provides a great way to get every child involved. Be sure to make it harder to hit the piñata at first, so that every child has a chance to take a hit. Other games could include relay races and, for older children, a treasure hunt. You may want to mix active games with quieter ones. Be prepared to explain the rules and process for each activity, and encourage your little host or hostess to give everyone the opportunity to play.

Stick with finger foods: Pizza fingers are easier to manage than full slices, and sandwiches are tidier than fried chicken. Offer a variety of kid-friendly options. For dessert, consider cupcakes or cookies.

Plan for parents: If you are inviting the parents to stay have an assortment of drinks and appetizers ready for them. You may want to encourage them to bring cameras to document the party, with photos that can be shared later. Clearly define a time for the party to end, for the benefit of parents who drop their child off at your home.

Prizes for everyone: Children who aren’t as good at games should leave with prizes and treats also. Goody bags filled with small packages of candy and an assortment of inexpensive toys are a nice way to wrap up the day.

Above all, remember that children may come prepared to have fun, but could still be shy and unsure in a social setting. Pay attention to the wallflowers and encourage them to get involved in the games and play. With this approach and your careful planning, everyone will have a terrific time!

Summer fun Means Observing Pool Safety

15845300_SIn July’s heat, a pool turns the backyard into an enjoyable place no matter the temperature. At the same time, pools pose a risk, particularly for toddlers. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, “drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.”

Follow these steps to secure your pool to minimize the risk for your children and others in your neighborhood.

  • Make sure your pool fence is at least four feet tall or taller, with self-closing and latching gates.
  • If you have a spa, use a lockable safety cover over it.
  • Install door alarms on any doors that lead directly to your pool.
  • Use pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go in or near the pool.
  • For extra security, consider a surface wave or underwater alarm to notify you if a child or pet falls in the pool.

During parties and gatherings, include these steps in your planning to keep children playing in the pool safe.

  • Walk through basic pool safety tips with the children before the party starts – things such as no running near the pool, no hitting or kicking at each other, and no horseplay on the diving board.
  • Have the adults take turns serving as the designated lifeguard to watch when children are in the pool.
  • Check the pool or spa immediately if a child is missing.
  • Make sure that you or someone in your family has basic CPR training

The best way to keep your children safe around a pool is to make sure they know how to swim. Even very small children can learn basic floating techniques. With just a little effort, you can do your best to keep your family safe and happy and swimming all summer.

Preparing for Summer: Indoor Plans

13138856_SAs summer approaches, finding ways to keep your children – and yourself – active and happy while stuck indoors becomes more challenging. Here are a few ideas for making the time spent indoors more enjoyable.

Dance: Children naturally love to move to music, so how about a regularly-scheduled dance time? The music can be pop, rock, bluegrass or even hip-hop, and dancing can be structured or spontaneous. Experiment with different approaches, and encourage your children to invite their friends to join them.

Active props: Simple items such as soft balls, hula hoops or large exercise balls can add to an inside free-for-all. Research simple exercises and look for videos designed for children. And if you participate with them, your figure may benefit also.

Active games: We may remember Twister from years ago, and there are other games that keep the body moving. Do you have room for a table-tennis game – maybe in half the garage? How about an indoor bowling game or Nerf-ball basketball?

Active video games: Certain electronic games have programs that encourage movement. You can rent several games and try them with your family before determining which ones will be the most popular.

Water games: This is not indoors, but it can keep active ones still comfortable in the heat. Encourage pool games or activities that take advantage of water’s cooling properties. Just be sure to keep the sunscreen coming and if possible keep out of the sun during peak sun hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

With a little imagination and a few small purchases, you can keep your children and yourself active and happy all through the summer months.

Triangular Kitchen Island has Multiple Uses

While most kitchen islands are rectangular, sometimes another shape provides additional functionality. Take a look at this island in the La Quinta model at Oasis at Freeman Farms. The modified triangle shape has several functional advantages.

Kitchen triangle: The classic shape for the most functional kitchen space is a working triangle, with oven, stove, refrigerator and sink in easy reach of each other. The trimmed edge of this island on the kitchen side creates an actual open triangle for cooking. The extra space makes this tidy kitchen feel more spacious, especially if two or more cooks are working together.

Eating space: The cropped edge on the great room side of the island provides room to spread for three and can hold up to five people comfortably, as you can see in the photo above. This space works well for quick breakfasts with someone playing short-order-cook at the stove or for homework with a parent’s help while they fix dinner. Remove the chairs and the island creates a perfect stage for party appetizers.

Cleaning with a view: After dinner at the dining table, dishes can be brought to the island and placed in the dishwasher while the cleaning crew chats with the rest of the family or guests. With the sink/dishwasher area set up in the island, post-meal clean up clean-up doesn’t isolate the tidying team.

Well-lit: The pendant lights provide additional spot lighting for any tasks completed on the island, while adding a contemporary element of style to the space. Between the lights and the island itself, the kitchen area is clearly defined without being separated from the rest of the home’s living area.

Thoughtful design makes this great-room kitchen functional and fun, with an island shape made for functionality, whether as part of a simple family dinner or entertaining a group of friends.