After New Year’s and before spring thaw, there is a very gray area called ‘winter’. Calgary is very dull this time of year and lacks sunshine on a daily basis. This is usually when cabin fever kicks in. But before you throw everyone out in the snow and lock the doors, we have a cure: Throw a beach party!
It’s cheaper than a family vacation to Mexico and you don’t have to leave the warmth of your house. The party itself is budget-friendly, most items can be found at your local discount store, it takes little planning and can be done during a wintry afternoon, if time is at a premium.
Here are a few ideas on how to get the family fun started:
Decorations and attire – It’s not a beach party if everyone is wearing turtlenecks and long underwear so turn up the heat a degree or two for a few hours. Shorts and tank tops are a good start, but with a few oversized, colorful sunglasses and flip-flops, the whole family can really achieve that tacky ‘tourist’ look. Visors, baseball caps and button-up Hawaiian shirts are a nice added touch.
Decorations don’t need to be extravagant, just enough to set the mood. Get your kids to help out with the decorating. A cardboard or paper sun is great to hang anywhere, and cut-outs of fish or seaweed can be made out of school supplies. Beach towels or bath towels can be laid out on the floor for anyone who feels like catching some rays!
Food and drinks – Nothing says summer like a cool, refreshing beverage. Slushies and smoothies really take the cake here. Pink lemonade is also a great alternative. To kick up the fun level, put all drinks in colorful glasses and add swirly straws.
Food and snacks should be reminiscent of a BBQ. A summery yellow, orange or green colored potato salad, hot dogs and chips with dip are a great beach party standard. Other fun foods you can serve your kids include finger sandwiches or wraps. Use a cookie cutter and make the sandwiches out of stars or fish.
Games and crafts
Message in a Bottle - This is a simple game and requires little effort. All you need is a clean, dry bottle, some pieces of paper and a few markers. Have everyone write their favorite joke or a silly command (like, “Touch your toes ten times”) on the pieces of paper. Mom or dad can pull out and either tell the funny joke or make someone do the silly command.
Beach volleyball – Volleyball is not usually an indoor game, but you can play it if you have a play room or other large area of space where everyone can get a little rowdy. Blow up a beach volleyball instead of using an actual volleyball. Use lines on the floor instead of a hanging net. Who says you have to follow the tradition rules of volleyball? Make up your own and play with no score.
Luau Lei’s – Aloha! Have everyone make their own necklace by drawing the flowers out on construction paper first and then cutting out. Make sure you have those markers handy, too, for different flower colors. Punch a hole through the middle of the flowers and then slide them onto a sturdy piece of string. You can make as many leis as you want, and any size. You’re not just limited to a necklace, try making other things like anklets, bracelets or even headbands.
When all the fun has been had and it’s time to wind down, plopping down on that beach towel or bath towel and popping in a movie is a good way to keep the (quiet) fun going. Summer movies such as Madagascar or Surf’s Up really fit into the beach theme.
After all the fun has been had, and the Beach Boys CD has been turned off, everyone should have some good summer memories, and no one complained about getting lathered in sunscreen. This is all about escaping the cold and forgetting about the snow for a while. It’s not a bad idea to keep ‘Mr. Sun’ hanging on the wall for a little longer either, just as a reminder that yes, he will be back, and in the meantime, you can create your own summer fun!
Stay Cool: Smoothie Recipes (courtesy of www.smoothieweb.com)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup peeled, pitted and sliced fresh mango
1/2 cup ice
Honey to taste
Place juice, fruit and honey in the blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Add the ice and blend until smooth.
Twice Berry Banana Smoothie
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup banana
1/2 cup blueberries
Juice from one orange (or from carton)
Honey or sugar to taste
Blend until smooth.
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