Summer is the perfect season for entertaining. Longer days offer a more relaxed vibe as folks head outside to enjoy the warmer weather, and any number of activities like hiking, camping, and singing around a bonfire. Capitalize on the opportunity to build relationships by hosting an outdoor event that will allow you to get to know your neighbors better and relieve stress as friends and family chat and laugh together.
Having guests over is one thing, but keeping them outside takes a bit of forethought. Invest in some outdoor lighting, even if it’s only a few lanterns or torches, and have supplies, such as spray and citronella candles, on hand to keep pesky bugs at bay. Getting together with friends and family is one of the joys of summer, so here are six entertaining activities that will keep your guests outdoors.
Arrange an outdoor game night.
Playing board games can make a few hours pass by in a hurry, so take the competition outside and set up various board games (think: Connect Four, chess, and Scrabble) on picnic tables. If more active games are your style, have everyone bring collapsable chairs and make large teams for classics, such as charades.
Another perfect summertime option is to create outdoor game stations. Rely on tried-and-true-favorites like corn hole, Spikeball, and bocce to entertain your guests. You can also combine your love for tabletop games with the outdoors by buying giant-sized versions made for playing outside. Jenga, dominoes, and beer pong are all available in oversized versions for outdoor entertainment. Divide into teams and host tournaments, or simply let everyone play and join in the fun at their leisure.
Plan a nature scavenger hunt.
Sometimes entertaining doesn’t involve having people over to your house. If you’re in the middle of a landscaping project or live in an apartment complex, you may feel restricted as to how many people you can host at your home. When in doubt, take your event on the road by heading to a local park or natural area for a scavenger hunt.
Come up with a list of items easily found in nature, such as a striped rock or a colorful fallen leaf. Divide into groups, set a time limit, and have your guests search for the things on the list. For a socially conscious gathering, add an element of cleaning up the environment by providing each guest with a bag to collect any trash they find along the way. No matter what your activity entails, be sure not to disturb wildlife or potentially break local laws by picking vegetation — take a photo of your find as proof.
Organize a neighborhood block party.
Scheduling an outdoor event for the community is a fabulous way for neighbors to meet and reconnect. Enlist a few friends to help by divvying up responsibilities among willing families in the neighborhood. Choose a few yards, a cul de sac, or a communal rooftop as your staging area. Taking over the street? Check with city hall before blocking traffic!
No matter where your block party takes place, don’t feel that you have to spend a lot of money. Instead, have everyone bring food and see if someone in your community has entertainment skills. Who knows? You may just discover that your neighbor can belt a tune or do a standup comedy routine like a pro.
Build an old-fashioned bonfire.
Build a makeshift fire pit, or purchase a ready-made one and get ready for a bit of nostalgia after the sun goes down. Gather supplies to roast hot dogs and make s’mores over the open flame and sing a few classic songs, either a capella or accompanied by makeshift instruments. Laugh, tell ghost stories, and see what constellations you can identify.
You can even break out the hot chocolate and decaf coffee as the temperature begins to drop. When your time around the fire ends, pour water or dirt onto any flames or embers to ensure the blaze doesn’t restart.
Take time to learn a new skill, and use your back deck, patio, or community open space to do so. Hire a local florist to teach a workshop on making flower arrangements utilizing what’s currently in season in your location, or enlist an artist and try your hand at plein air painting (aka the process of documenting what you see outdoors). If you want to learn about landscaping, ask someone from your local nursery demonstrate how to plant a container garden.
If you want to combine food and learning, hire a local chef to teach the ins and outs of cooking on the grill. Another option is to ask a local bartender to run a summer cocktail mixology class. As long as your lessons take place outside, the possibilities for topics are almost endless.
Host a themed movie night.
Sure, you can simply have a movie night, but do it up right by taking it outdoors to watch a film under the stars. Buy or rent a projector, and use a sheet or wall as a makeshift movie screen. Do some research on the film, and build a menu based around items in the movie. Use poster boards and create signage that showcases quirky quotes from the film.
Ask folks to come in a costume related to the movie, and have a contest complete with prizes, such as silly dollar store items or gift certificates to the local coffee shop. Whether you show an old classic or watch something cutting edge, feel free to get creative about your movie night. Just be sure to adhere to any neighborhood quiet hours.