Summer is coming to an end, school is almost back in session and Labor Day weekend is right around the corner. Don’t bid farewell to summer activities just yet, though—turn them into fun outdoor get-togethers for your family and close friends! Best of all, you can hold these in the comfort of your own yard.
S’more fun under the stars
Backyard campout, anyone? Seriously, you don’t need to travel to a campground to enjoy a night spent with the fireflies. Being outdoors, toasting marshmallows and telling stories together is enough to make the occasion feel special.
- Set up your campsite: You’ll need a tent, sleeping bags, pillows, yoga mats to line the tent floor, bug spray and flashlights to start. A string or two of lights adds to the ambience AND offers extra lighting for those finding their way to the bathroom at night. If you have enough room to safely create a small campfire pit, wonderful, but if not, a small charcoal grill will still get those hot dogs roasted! Speaking of culinary campfire adventures…
- Plan the menu: S’mores and hot dogs are must-haves, but what else? Popcorn (either Jiffy Pop or loose kernels wrapped in foil), toasted marshmallows on their own, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, shish kebabs and even eggs and bacon in the morning all taste especially good outdoors. Have skewers, aluminum foil and cookware (a skillet, pan and pot) on hand along with dinnerware and utensils.
- Entertain each other: A weenie roast can only last so long! Before it gets dark out, Simon Says, capture the flag, cornhole and ladder ball are great games the whole family can get into. Spooky or round-robin stories, charades and stargazing are perfect post-twilight activities to enjoy around the campfire. Once you’re ready to hit the tent (but not quite ready for dreamland), card games are the way to go.
Seas the day
If you’ve never been to a clambake, let’s start here: it’s not just about clams. Lobster, crab and mussels can also make a welcome appearance. And guess what? If you don’t have a beach nearby, your stove or grill can get the job done.
- Gather your supplies: Begin with the seafood and choose from fresh clams and mussels, frozen or fresh lobster, crab and shrimp. Kielbasa, chorizo, corn in the husk, potatoes, onions, coleslaw and macaroni salad are next on the list, followed by plenty of lemon wedges, melted butter and Old Bay Seasoning. To really boost that delicious ocean flavor, add fresh seaweed to your list. Cheesecloth is also used in either method, but you’ll need some aluminum foil for the grilled version. Oh, and don’t forget any necessary tools and accessories (crab crackers and lobster bibs FTW). Consider offering up a signature cocktail or a summer ale!
- Get cooking: If cooking indoors is your plan, there are tons of seafood boil recipes to choose from. For a clambake on the grill, the process is fairly straightforward. Wrap single servings of your food in cheesecloth (just like you would at a beach-based bake), place in foil packets with some seaweed, put on the grill with the lid closed and cook until done. You can also use a roasting pan on the grill if you prefer! There’s a little more prep involved with live lobsters, so frozen lobster tails may be the better option.
- Serve more than seafood: Just like a clambake, you don’t need a beach to enjoy volleyball, badminton or flying disc games. For the little ones, grab some sandcastle-making sets, fill up a plastic swimming pool with sand and watch as they create a whole new world.
The place to be scene
Roll out the red carpet (or just mow the lawn) and bring the big screen to your backyard! With so many new movies hitting streaming services now, it’s a great time to step up your at-home viewing experience.
- Choose a film: Pick a flick everyone is likely to enjoy. If younger children are present, a superhero, animated or classic movie is a fab option. Otherwise, see what’s playing on your fave streaming service.
- Get the equipment: Rent or buy a projector, screen and sound system. If this is more than you budgeted for, you can also opt to set up your tv outside on a sturdy table! Don’t forget extra extension cords and powerstrips.
- Make everyone comfy: Provide some comfortable seating along with blankets and pillows to keep everyone warm and ready to relax. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the movies without movie snacks! Popcorn, candy, nachos, soft drinks, wine and beer are all A-list choices, but these gourmet movie snack recipes are true blockbusters.