Florida summer is officially here along with the hot, sunshiny weather. The Fourth of July is right around the corner and if you are planning a staycation or will be celebrating at home, here are a few ideas to turn up the fun and stay cool, pool side!
Set the Atmosphere!
One of the first tricks to celebrating any holiday is to set the atmosphere by setting out some decorations! Some of these decorations can be DYI and would be great projects for kids to help with!
- Coffee Can Streamers—a perfect small decoration to bring some red-white-and-blue to your pool area. These can be made by reusing a coffee can (or other tin or can). Paint the can blue using spray paint or acrylic paint. After the coat of blue paint dries, add stars by using either silver or white stickers or a stencil and white paint. Once dry, attach paper streamers in an alternating pattern of white and red around the opening of the can using glue or tape (on the inside of the tin). Finally, attach a string or rope to the bottom of the tin with hot glue or some other strong hold glue (which is now the top of the decoration), so you can hang it!
- Patriotic Jar Lanterns—another quick and easy project that helps to repurpose items around the house. This project requires three glass jars, you can use mason jars, pasta sauce jars, or anything with a wide enough opening to place a tea light inside when completed. First, paint the two
of the three jars white using an acrylic, water-based paint. These water-based paints are inexpensive and can be found in the craft section at most major retailers for $1.00-2.00. Once the white coat has thoroughly dried, tape off stripes around the jars using gentle hold painter’s tape. Be sure to leave the one jar unstriped, this jar will be painted blue. In the areas uncovered, paint the red stripes of the flag using red acrylic, water-based paint. On the jar that is not taped off, paint the jar with a blue, acrylic, water-based paint. Allow the jars to dry then gently remove the tape. You can add stars to the blue area using a star stencil and white paint, stickers, or free hand drawing. Alternatively, prior to painting the blue section, you can place star stickers on the glass and paint over. Once the blue paint dries, you can remove the stickers to leave clear glass for the light to shine through. If you would like to give the lanterns a little more of a rustic or weathered look, lightly sand small bits of the paint off. Once completed, place a tea light candle or artificial tea light candle inside each jar and you can place the set on a table, counter for a fun, festive, piece.
- Floral Centerpiece—this one is super easy and perfect if you like flowers! Simply take three fishbowls to use as vases. Fill all three with water and add food coloring to two of the bowls, blue food coloring in one, red in another, and leave the third bowl of water clear. Then place white daisies or another flower of your choice in each vase for a simple and festive flower arrangement to go anywhere.
- Wooden Firecrackers—this project may require you a trip to the hardware store, but this DIY can be used for years to come. Purchase a 4x4x8 round wood post. Cut the post into three different sized pieces such as an 18” 24” and 36” (if you would like this to be a taller decoration, you may need to purchase an additional post). Using an acrylic water-based paint, either paint each piece one color (red, white and blue), or tape off the top 1/3 of each post and paint blue, and paint the bottom 2/3 with alternating white and red stripes using the same method as described in for the Patriotic Jar Lanterns. Once the paint is dried, you can add a white star using a large sticker or stencil and white paint. Taking a piece of stiff rope, cut it into three 3” – 6” pieces. Attach one piece of rope to the top of the post with hot glue or a screw to hold it in place (this will be the wick). Tie the three posts together about midway up the shortest one with some rope or sturdy ribbon to give the three together more stability.
- Patriotic Banner—this is a quick and easy way to add an extra pop of color up high, such as around your pool cake or across your lanai. Find some thin rope or sturdy thin ribbon and several cloth bandanas in red, white, and blue colors. Fold the bandanas, one at a time in half along the diagonal. Fold in half once more, to create a small triangle. Using fabric scissors, cut the fabric along the fold to create multiple triangles from each bandana. Using hot glue or fabric glue, lay the ribbon or rope flat and glue the triangle pieces to it. You can create a pattern by placing the squares in a color order or shuffle them at random.
To make this project last longer, you can create a pocket at the top edge of the fabric by folding over an edge of the fabric triangle and sewing it to itself leaving the ends open. Then slide the rope, ribbon, or string through the pocket instead of using glue.
Once the project is complete, you can hang up the banner using tacks, tape, or by tying it to a hang point.
Turn up the Fun!
Now that you have some decorations to set the atmosphere, here are a few Fourth of July pool and lawn games to keep you cool and have some fun!
- Balloon Darts—take a peg-board and tie inflated red, white, and blue balloons onto it. *Bonus—this can double as
décor if you want to arrange the balloons in a design like the American flag or a star or other shape. Use darts to pop the balloons taking turns with each player. The person to pop the most balloons, wins!
- Invisible bottle—this is more challenging than it seems…. Like the old fashion diving games, use a water bottle and remove the labels, fill it with water, and toss it in the pool. Once it sinks, the swimmers must search for it. First one to find and retrieve the bottle, wins!
- Ring Toss—there are lots of fun ring toss games on the market now—including fun shaped ones with cacti, flamingos, and more! You can always make your own ring toss using floating hoops (like a noodle tied to itself to stay in a circle, or pool floats. A fun idea is to take different color pool floats and assign them different point values (for example, if you make it into the red ring you score one point, blue ring you score two points, white ring you score three points, etc.). You can use floating balls to toss into the floats, kind of like a water version of the bean-bag-toss game.
- Inflatable Pool Volleyball—there are plenty of other pool party games on the market. An easy to install, fun one, is an inflatable pool volleyball net. Oftentimes, these are fun-themed featuring palm trees, cacti, flamingo, and more. Just inflate and play!
- Bean Bag Toss—this one is a classic, outdoor party must-have. Bean bag toss is a lot of fun and boards are available to purchase at many retail outlets, or you can create your own!
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