Summer family fun

Here are some easy ideas for guaranteed good times, in your yard, on the beach, or on the road.

Summer is the perfect excuse to rally your family for some good, old-fashioned outdoor activities—and a little healthy competition. You don’t need much to play some fun games, just a few easy-to-find props and some open space, whether a backyard, the lake, or a swimming pool. For best results, choose challenges that play to a variety of strengths and abilities.

Blindfold Croquet is a great grass game. You need a croquet set and a length of dark-colored, opaque fabric to use as a blindfold.

Fun fact: Croquet made its Olympic debut at the 1900 Paris Games (and never got invited back). In this twist on the classic, one team member must complete the course blindfolded, with only vocal cues from a single team member to guide him—which puts as much emphasis on communication and cooperation as on sheer mallet-wielding skill.

How about boating? Whether you prefer sailboats or speedboats, spending time on the water can be a fun, relaxing way to pass the day. Just make sure proper safety gear and training are on board for the ride.

Always wear a life jacket. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of more than 80 percent of boating fatality victims. Before departure, check local weather conditions. When boating, be mindful of the forecast and bring a radio. Get off the water if bad weather is approaching. Keep maps, flares, a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and other emergency supplies in a floating pouch. Always boat at safe speeds, especially in crowded areas. Steer clear of large boats that may be slow to stop or turn. Be aware of buoys and other navigational aids that have been placed to ensure your safety.

Party Palettes are the perfect companion to your picnic on board. Easy to pack and store, they will help you and the kids when balancing food on a moving boat. And don;t forget the sunscreen! Enjoy the summer fun in the sun!

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