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Neighborhood Block Party

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Rally the neighbors- kids and adults alike- to form a committee because it's time to organize the first annual Neighborhood Block Party - a fun event for all replete with carnival games, food and laughter!

Organize a meeting to take place in one of your homes abotu a month in advance. Then send out the call via email or have families post neighborhood signs to promote the big event, like "Yoo-hoo! Calling all neighbords! Get ready for the time of your lives - the carnival is coming to Holly Drive this Saturday, and the greatest show on earth!" Be sure to include the date, time and any other relevant details. Make sure to plan with plenty of time to see the carnival attractions, enjoy food and treats and catch up with friends.

As the committee is brainstorming carnival activities, toss out idea starters like, "Okay, we need booths where we toss a ball, throw a ring, win a prize, test our skill, etc." It's great to have kids involved when designing the carnival booths because they'll know just what to do. And be sure to come up with a title for each booth: Out of this World! or The Hungry Monster! or Go Fish!

Here are some suggestions sprung from my own brainstorming session:

  • Photo Board (Out of this World)

    On a large sheet of cardboard or foam core, draw a figure or two - think silly, out of this world, etc. Be sure an adult is in charge of cutting out the peek-a-boo holes for heads to pop through. Then paint the scene. Have a foot stool handy on the day of the carnival in case some visitors need a leg up.

  • Twisted up Croquet

    Hey it's summer - who doesn't love croquet? Take it to a new level by adding a little mini-golf twist to the game. You may jazz up a croquet set or make your own by bending coat hangers into the shape of an arch and using a whiffle bat and ball as a putter. Embellish the wicket by adding a painted shape made from cardboard, foam core or card stock - whatever you have on hand.

  • The Hungry Monster

    Again, using cardboard or foam core, draw and paint a monster or another type of critter with an open mouth. Be sure an adult cuts out the hole for the mouth. The challenge is to toss "food" into the mouth while standing behind a designated line. For "food," I stuffed a balloon with beans and then stuffed it into a second balloon for security. One tip-- it's easiest to cut off the spout of each balloon and fill from there!

  • Go Fish!

    Keep that cardboard coming to paint an underwater scene. You can even have kids create different underwater creatures and features on separate pieces of paper that can then be cut out and added to the scene for a 3-D effect. For the poles, gather up a few sturdy sticks from the backyard and tie a length of string or yarn to the end. Attach a clothespin as a "hook." The kids "cast" over the board where some one hiding behind it clips on a little prize.

    • And of course, food and treats should be on hand. To make it easy, create a "pot luck" station where everyone can add their specialties from "Jim's Famous Grilled Burgers" to "Janice's Chocolatey Brownies." Easy, breezy and fun!

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