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Summertime offers quality time with kids

Mon., July 5, 2010, 12:30 a.m.

Summertime offers unique opportunities to enjoy memorable moments outside appreciating nature and spending extra time with family and friends. Here are some get-together ideas and activities to connect with others in the great outdoors, even when the temperatures soar.

• Organize a summer picnic club

Set picnic dates with several families to meet at designated parks, nature reserves and/or beaches regularly until the end of summer.

For a grand finale, gather on Labor Day weekend in September and enjoy showing pictures and talking about memories of your special times together.

• Plan cool games to beat the heat

Whether you’re organizing a family reunion, a birthday party picnic or a barbecue at a neighborhood park, summer heat can affect even the best-planned party.

To keep everyone smiling, play “Ice Meltdown.” Grab some ice cubes from the freezer or a picnic cooler and give one ice cube to each player. See who can melt his or her ice cube first.

The ice must be touching the player’s body at all times until it’s completely melted. But you can’t put it in your mouth.

Play “cooperative water balloon volleyball.” First, set up a volleyball or badminton net and make some water balloons. To play, toss a water balloon from one side of the net to the player (s) on the other side. The object of the game is to see how many times the water balloon can be thrown over the net without breaking.

• Outdoor story time

When young cousins or friends come to visit overnight, enjoy the longer days of sunlight and read favorite bedtime stories outside before tucking them into bed indoors.

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