celebrations / children and nature

Help me and BeOutThere write an e-book!

I’m writing to you from New York City tonight, thankful that I decided to throw the laptop in my bag at the very last minute. I have one more exciting thing that I want to share with all of you.

I’ve been asked to partner with The Motherhood and National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There to help publish an e-book on summer activities that will encourage kids and families to get outdoors. I’ve been a Founding Mother for Be Out There for several years and love being part of that program. Though I feel like being in the outdoors comes pretty naturally for my kids (and when it doesn’t, I simply kick them out of the house), I have always felt strongly about the importance of outside play, and giving children a knowledge and appreciation for the natural world.

Each of the authors contributing to the book were given a topic and I have to admit, mine kind of cracks me up. Ask me how I encourage my kids to get outside and I have answers. Ask me ideas for teaching them their natural history, I have answers. But ask me about outdoor parties, and I’m a bit of a slacker. Yes, we eat outside on the back porch for most summer dinners. Yes, when it gets too hot, we break out the hose and go crazy. But parties? Hmmm.

So I’ll be stretching my party-planning muscles during the next few days. Rounding up ideas for fun ways to take events like birthday parties, holidays and family reunions into the big wide open. I’ll be taking some of my favorite outdoor activities and tweaking them to make them party crowd-friendly.

But this is where you come in!

One of the things I love about this book is that it is as much about my thoughts, as it is about yours! Crowd-sourced, even! If you have a favorite activity, idea, experience, pinterest pin, or even saw something cool online, share it with me here. Have a photo of your own? Shoot me an email and maybe we’ll include it in the book (with credit, of course!). I’d love to hear your ideas, because I know you people are creative and fun and will help get my own creative juices flowing!

So let’s hear it, what are some of your favorite ideas for taking parties, celebrations, even a small dinner party with your kids, into the outdoors?

7 comments on “Help me and BeOutThere write an e-book!”

  1. What fun! These portable mason jar pudding cups would be great for an outdoor party! http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2013/05/portable-pudding-cups.html Also, a bunting made with natural dyes looks fun and fresh in and outdoor setting… http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2011/06/another-celebration.html And, our handmade bean bag toss usually makes it out as part of the entertainment most parties http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2011/06/yard-games.html

  2. What a wonderful opportunity for you!

    Eighteen years ago, when we lived in Arizona we were at a park in the middle of summer an saw what was clearly a large family reunion at one of the pavilions. The pavilion was next to a very steep hill and what they did was take a long roll of landscaping fabric, hosed it off and had the kids slide down on blocks of ice. It looked like so much fun and considering how hot it was I thought it was a brilliant way to keep the kids entertained and cooled off. And I wanted to do it, too.

    I'm not the best at parties but two years ago for one of my kid's birthdays we did an obstacle course followed up with a marshmallow war. All the kids had their own marshmallow gun (which doubled as their party favor). I think I got the idea from Martha Stewart online (no surprise) and just used what we had plus a few things from the Dollar Tree.

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  4. We have all sorts of outdoor parties – big & small, planned & impromptu, just the kids & the entire family. We have a small house, so most of our entertaining is done outside during the warmer months. We do an annual May bash, with punchbowls of watermelon margs for the adults, lemonade for the kids, the high point of the day being a pinata for the kids. We did a half birthday party one year for my daughter in July, complete with an ice cream cake I made to look like a watermelon and a water ballon battle. We have a laid back approach to entertaining – and always do a pot-luck. A pot-luck is key to making it easy.

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