Our Welcome to Summer Party

Every year the last day of school before summer vacation is a busy one for me. But it is, also, one of the best days. We celebrate it like a holiday, doesn't everyone? After all, this is the kids favorite day, after birthdays and Christmas right? Summer vacation should be celebrated! And it is so easy to do.
With just a little bit of work and planning on my end, the bright smiles and excitement of my kids as they get off the bus makes it all worth it!
As soon as the kids leave for school my preparations start. Each year varies a little on the activities but here is the general breakdown of what I do and what you can do, too!

1. Make a banner. This is simple to do but it is the first thing the kids see as the bus drives up. Many years ago, I lucked up at a garage sale and found an almost full huge roll of plain brown craft paper. I have used it now for 7 years (talk about a great investment)! But you can use just a dollar roll of wrapping paper just as well. It needs to be long enough to hang horizontally and easy enough to write on with marker or paint without smearing.  I always put "Welcome to Summer, Chad and Lauren!" I always hang it where it can be easily seen and the fun part? The kids have to run through it to get to their party! They absolutely love this part.

2. After school party snacks. You can use what you have on hand, make little sandwiches, a pizza, cupcakes, a sundae bar (my favorite!), or a variety of some sort. I try to make it special for them, maybe something that they don't get to enjoy all that often.

3. Party drinks!  First off, uh no, I do not serve my kids alcohol. That would be a huge no-no! What I mean by party drinks is simply their favorite Kool aid, soft drink, milkshakes, or a simple punch. But presentation is key! I usually keep on hand those little umbrellas, or fancy toothpicks that you can pick up for cheap at any dollar store and keep them in my "party box". (More about my party box in an upcoming post later)!  Depending on what drink I'm serving, I can put cuts of fruit on the fancy toothpicks, or say, a chocolate marshmallow for a milkshake, just make it as festive as you can! One of my favorite ideas is putting the drinks in mason jars, instead our usual cups or glasses, especially with milkshakes. You can coat the sides with chocolate or caramel sauce, too.

4. Activities.  I like to change this up and give a nice variety for the kids. I set up the garage or party area with several games to choose from. This can be some of their favorite outdoor activities (bikes, chalk painting, frisbee, scooters), some homemade carnival type games (my son loves stacking cans and knocking them down), or any activity that your child loves. This is a great time to pull out some games or things they haven't played with in a while. I always get that surprised "I forgot I had this" look when I do.

5. Greet them off the bus with their special party drink and let the mayhem begin!

We always end our special day with a night by the fire with marshmallows and grilled burgers.  And, since we live in South MS, we have plenty of mosquito spray handy and citronella torches lit!  So, here's to Summer!  May it be not too hot, not too short, and, always, may it be celebrated!

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