Best of Your Backyard

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June 21 marks the first day of summer. There’s no better season to make the best of your backyard. Here are a few ways to make this area of your home your new favorite place to entertain (with only a little labor required)!

Design Your Own Putt-Putt Course:
This is a great summer project for the whole family. The course can be as involved or as easy as your time allows. Brainstorm with your family what the theme of each of the 18 holes could be. Twisted pool noodles creating a spaghetti-themed hold, stuffed animals creating a jungle themed-hole, and the traditional windmill are all great places to start. Take a trip to a craft store like Michael’s or a party store like Party City and shop for items to build your course. Not all items need to be purchased. Leftover materials from other projects are all over the house; items like wood, wrapping paper rolls, baking tins can all be put to good use. Decide what to set as the par for each hole. Invite other families to join in and create their own portion of the course.

Twister With A Twist:
Grab some cans of spray paint and create your own Twister board. Recreate the Twister game by spraying rows of the colored dots on your grass. To help your dots be more precise, cut a circle into a cardboard box for a user-friendly template. Use the spinner from the actual game or create your own (like spin the bottle). It’ll add a nice twist to the game and a soft place to fall.

Words With Friends, Backyard Edition:
Create large letter tiles out of poster board. Include the points given in Scrabble or Words with Friends. Be as creative with the look of the lettering as you want. Your entire backyard can be your board. If it’s a windy day, be sure to have ways to weight or stake your tiles into the ground.

Create Your Own S’More:
We all know the standard s’more: marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker. Offer options to create and name a customized s’more. Set out marshmallows of different sizes and different colors. Give choices of white, dark and milk chocolate. Consider graham crackers other than the first that comes to mind; flavors options include vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and chocolate. Think outside the box for extra, finishing touches like sprinkles, pretzels, or bacon (yes, we said bacon). Have sticks ready for the cooking and comfortable sitting around the fire pit for the creative cooking to begin.

Oldies but Goodies:
We’ve shared these ideas once before but they’re worth sharing again:

Create A Drive-In.
If there’s not a traditional drive-in nearby, create one in your own backyard. Spend some time in the afternoon making your own cars out of cardboard boxes and have them frame your comfortable launch chair. Projection systems are more affordable than ever before. Hang up a white sheet on the side of the house or between trees, invest in an inflatable screen or purchase a portal screen. Vote on a family favorite or select a movie new to your family and hit play. Remember the popcorn!

Camp Out.
No need to venture deep into the forest for a camping adventure. Bring out your sleeping bags, pop up a tent, and get ready for a night under the stars. Build a fire or use a grill for dinner and (more importantly) s’mores. Be sure to have playing cards, games and ghost stories ready. Best part: indoor plumbing easily available! If glamping is more your style, set out some rugs, a sofa or chair, and an air mattress to make the backyard even more comfortable.

One last reminder: because these activities will encourage the party to continue after dark, remember to hang market or string or Christmas lights in your trees. It’ll had a nice, festive, welcoming touch.

Enjoy all that your backyard offers!

Chad Peterson
chad.peterson@fcloans.com
Senior Vice President, Communications

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