Don’t you feel like summertime gives everyone permission to be a kid again? Wearing cute sandals, splashing in the pool and swinging in the hammock on our patio all take me back to summertime as a little girl – growing up in Montreal meant that summertime was cherished because, before you knew it, it would be even too cold to snow. Now that I’m grown (in theory), I try to treat summertime with the same amount of anticipation and appreciation so that my kids consider it as special as I do.
Since Hubby LOVES being outside anyway (a Florida boy, born and raised), it take zero convincing to get him to hang out by the firepit on a mild summer evening or to head out saltwater fishing – his most favorite pastime. One of my family’s most favorite summer fun activities is to attend outdoor festivals. WE LOVE THEM. And, in DC, we have no shortage of outdoor festivals to choose from and to keep us playing outdoors.
Technically the summer season hasn’t officially begun and we’ve already been to the Colors of the Caribbean Festival at Strathmore and the Capital Jazz Fest at Merriweather Post Pavillion. And we’re gearing up for a full summer of tons more, including going out with a bang during Labor Day Weekend; last summer we hit up Jazz In the Garden at the National Sculpture Garden, The National Book Festival and the DC Blues Festival – all in one weekend! We even made it to the last Truckeroo food truck festival of the season last year. We were one of the only adults with kids in tow, but it didn’t bother us in the least.
Why Do We Love Outdoor Festivals So Much?
- They’re low-maintenance. We don’t have to be there at a specific time or wear a certain kind of attire or bring a dish. We’re all about get-up-and-go around here.
- There’s something for everyone. Be it music or food or games or dancing or really awesome people-watching; everyone in the family, from Mom and Dad to L’il Buddy can expect at least some enjoyment out of a festival outing.
- The energy is contagious. There’s just something about a large group of people getting together for a good time. The mood is light and the smiles are plenty – throw in some funnel cake and a live band, and you’ve got a recipe for a levity.
I recently co-hosted an outdoor festival of sorts with Blogalicious community members Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring and Amy Mascott of TeachMama on behalf of CLIF Kid – makers of super delicious and nutritious snacks for our little ones. CLIF Kid is dedicated to reclaiming play, and they’re encouraging boys and girls (and families!) everywhere to get back outside, push their boundaries and feed their adventures. The brand has taken great care in creating CLIF Kid snacks to give kids fantastic-tasting food with the right kind of nutrition they need for their growing, active bodies. To demonstrate their commitment to play, CLIF Kid created an online Hub to inspire outdoor experiences that will encourage kids (and parents) to get outside and be kids.
We chose a local splashground in the city where we live to host our CLIF Kid party – and it was a hit! Let’s see if it meets my checklist for Outdoor Festival Fun:
It Was Low-Maintenance. Check!
All we had to do was to invite our friends to join us on a certain date and time and be ready to splash! With help from CLIF Kid, we were able to provide some simple play snacks and easy outdoor games. The gazebo at the splashground provided the perfect respite from the heat and housed a spread of fresh fruit and vegetables and dip in addition to BUCKETS of CLIF Kid Zbars and Zfruit twists, as well as bubbles, hula hoops and sidewalk chalks for the kiddos to grab and giggle with.
There Was Something for Everyone. Check!
The splashground was brilliant because all ages were able to enjoy the afternoon. The smallest of babes could play in the gentle spray; the bigger kids could splash to their hearts’ content in the big waterfall; the sports fanatics (there were lots!) were able to hit the baseball diamond for a game; and the parents were able to kick back and chat as their kids played, worry-free.
The Energy Was Contagious. Check!
I can speak from personal experience that the energy was contagious. My kids and I arrived with at least one 9-year-old in tears because a certain little brother of hers had just deleted her Minecraft house that had taken her 3 hours to build. And, at least one 10-year-old was already in her Tween ‘mood’ because she was anticipating that there wouldn’t be any kids her age there and it would be boooring.
Let me tell you that it just took one run through that waterfall and all troubles were washed away! All three of them had a blast and played with all of the kids there and ate up all of the snacks and way too many Zfruit twists.
My best friend of 18 years even came and brought her two little girls, so Mama had a chance to catch up with her friends too.
In the spirit of the CLIF Kid #OutToPlay initiative, I want to encourage you and your family to check out at least one new outdoor festival this summer! Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need to have a great time:
Outdoor Festival Checklist
- Find festival that is kid-friendly (and one that allows you to bring your own cooler is a bonus!)
- A cooler (if permitted). Pack it with cold beverages and a few snacks. You’ll most likely end up buying a funnel cake or gyro or two, but at least you’ll have some munchies to buy you some time before hitting the concession stand lines.
- A blanket and folding chairs. It’s always a good idea to roll with your own seating – that way you’re not at the mercy of the venue.
- Sunscreen, mosquito spray, hats and shades. For, you know, outside.
- Hit the potty before you enter the festival. Festival restrooms are never a good look.
Here’s to seizing the rest of your summer by feeding your adventure and discovering new frontiers in the great outdoors. After all, a family that plays together, stays together. Show us how your family plays by sharing a fun summer activity using the hashtag #outtoplay!
This post is sponsored by CLIF Kid in partnership with One2One Network. All opinions are my own!