Archive for May, 2013

“Playborhood” Parties: Using Your Playset for Community Building

May 29th, 2013 by

“Playborhood” Parties Using Your Playset for Community BuildingThe countdown to the end of school is getting shorter and shorter, which means soon your kids’ playtime will kick into high gear. The idea of keeping up with your kids and their endless energy may seem daunting, which is why we love the idea of a “playborhood” party to keep your kids busy and active with other kids their age.

Originally coined by author Mike Lanza, the term “playborhood” refers to the concept of turning your neighborhood into a place to play outdoors. It may seem obvious that a neighborhood should serve this function, but increasingly children turn indoors to electronics to keep themselves busy instead of playing outside. That’s where a “playborhood” party comes in.

So how do you throw a great “playborhood” party? Read on!

1. Create invitations

You and your kids can create invitations, either by hand or on the computer. Once they’re all ready to go with the date, time, place, and a description, you can travel up and down your street with your kids to put them in your neighbors’ mailboxes.

2. Spruce up your playset

Before your yard is teeming with kids, give your playset a quick cleaning and inspection just like you did before your kids started playing on it after winter. This will ensure that the playset is safe and clean during the party.

3. Bring out your sports equipment

Your playborhood party doesn’t have to be limited to your playset. You can incorporate sports like trampolining, basketball, badminton, or croquet to add some more activities. Plus, by adding sports into the mix, you’ll attract a wider age range of kids (and their parents, too!).

4. Have some tasty treats on hand

Everyone’s bound to work up a hunger after playing all day. You can try some of our recommendations for easy-to-make, healthy snacks, or pick up some popsicles and snacks at the grocery store. Make sure to mix up some lemonade and bring some juice boxes! You can enlist the other parents in your neighborhood to bring shareable snacks as well.

5. Play all day!

Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to have some fun! With the variety of activities you have on hand, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Why not set up an arts and crafts station too? Your kids will have a great outlet to play with the other children in the neighborhood and meet some new friends.

After the party’s over and your kids and their playmates see how fun playing outside can be, hopefully they’ll keep it up even when there’s no official party.

And once your first playborhood party is a success, you and your neighbors can team up to trade off responsibilities and make your parties a more regular occurrence throughout the summer. Good luck, and have fun creating your party!

Trampoline Summer Safety Checklist

May 16th, 2013 by

Trampoline Summer Safety ChecklistNow that summer is here and school is almost over, your backyard is going to be the hot spot for your kids and their friends, with the trampoline as the main attraction. Trampolines are great exercise and tons of fun for the whole family, but, as you probably know, trampolines should be properly used and maintained for your safety. That’s why we’ve put together a safety checklist to go through before each trampoline season.

1. If you kept your trampoline out during the winter, now’s the time to perform the same maintenance checks as you did on your play set. Inspect all parts and connections for rusting, loosening, bending, and breakage. Your trampoline could also use a good scrub down to get rid of any winter grime from being outside or stored in your garage.

2. Make sure the trampoline is properly secured to the ground. This will help prevent it from flipping during use and also from heavy winds that might happen during summer storms. Check with the manufacturer or the store that sold it to you for good supplies to use.

3. Check that the padding completely covers the springs, hooks, and frame so that any wrong steps or falls are onto padding and not hard metal.

4. Make sure the trampoline is on level ground and away from low tree branches or other play structures and that your safety net is secure and has no tears or gaps.

5. If you don’t have a trampoline net, each time you are done playing with your trampoline, use a trampoline cover to protect it. The covers are waterproof and mostly weatherproof so that water, light, and debris don’t damage your trampoline mat in between usage.

6. Oil the trampoline springs just like you would oil a bike chain. If a spring looks stretched or bent, replace it before allowing anyone to use the trampoline. It’s a good idea to keep extra springs on hand so you can make repairs as they come up.

7. Lastly and most importantly, always supervise your kids while they are using the trampoline. Children under the age of six should not be allowed on trampolines, and sticking to the rule of one jumper at a time will keep your trampoline a safe place to play!

Even though the list looks long, checking over your trampoline is actually quick and easy. Plus, it’s well worth the time to keep your kids safe during play.  Your kids will jump for joy when they get out of school and see that the trampoline is back in action!