Top 5 Backyard Activities For Summer

School is out for most districts across Michigan, and that means the kiddos are home and ready for action! Whether you fall in the spectrum of parents who love the extra family time, or you’re in need of new activity ideas, we’ve got you covered! Here are our top ideas for backyard fun when on summer vacation. “No backyard” you say? Get in touch with one of our REALTORS® today – there’s plenty of summer fun waiting for you at a new home, and we can help get you there.

 

Water Fun
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard pool – you know what to do! But if not, there are still tons of fun water activities to do in your yard this summer. Set up the sprinkler, or multiple sprinklers to make a great splash zone. No sprinklers, or no grassy area to play? How about a water balloon fight, or even better, make these DIY sponge balls for a more eco-friendly water fight!

 

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Backyard Camping
What a great way to get kids used to the idea of camping! Still close to home, just in case anything happens, but a backyard campsite can feel fun and magical just like a real trip away from home. Grab that tent, the sleeping bags, and the travel lantern and carry them a few short feet. Of course, no camping trip would be complete without a fire and S’mores. We love this little kit from Target.

 

Gardening
Have your kids test out their green thumb this summer! Gardening can teach our kids a lot of useful skills like the importance of habit, how to take care of something, and that hard work and persistence can produce amazing results. As an added bonus, it can help encourage healthy eating habits as well. Try to grow some veggies in a pot on the deck or patio or plant some gorgeous annuals in an existing garden.

 

Obstacle Course
Ready to expend some serious summer energy? You need a DIY obstacle course! This can be whatever you make it. Grab some noodles or hula hoops, any play equipment you may have, and some flags and create a custom course for the kiddos to run or race! We love these ideas from Heart of Deborah.

 

DIY Crafting
Kids love a fun crafting activity, but parents know that sometimes means a mess in your kitchen! Why not take the mess outside and try a new playdough or slime recipe in the backyard? Or, for more advanced crafters, you could create this fun kaleidoscope, or a bird feeder for your critter friends.

 

Are your kiddos older or “definitely not” in to hanging out with mom or dad this summer? Try looking at sports, arts or acting camps. Most communities in Michigan have some version of these and they can be excellent growth opportunities for teens. Or, kill two birds with one stone and encourage your teens to learn valuable life skills by helping you out with the yard work!


Fireworks Displays …In The Mitten

Fireworks displays are one of our favorite summer activities! Whether you plan to celebrate this summer with a small back yard sparklers or go all out with a large professional display, fireworks are sure to please. And if you don’t want to do all of the work? Check out some of these recommended displays happening in Michigan this month and next!

Detroit
The Ford Fireworks Detroit

Website Here
June 24th
Fireworks at 9:55pm

White Pigeon
White Pigeon Days

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk

Sturgis
Sturgis Fest Fireworks

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk, around 10pm

Mackinaw City
All American 4th of July

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Bay Harbor
Fireworks and Steel Drum Band

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Grandville
4th of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Saugatuck
Fourth of July Waterfront Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at dusk.

Battle Creek
Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10:30pm

Lansing
4th of July Parade and Fireworks

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin after concert, which starts at 8pm

Mason
Fourth of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Bay City
Bay City Fireworks Fesitval

Website Here
July 4th, 5th and 6th
Fireworks at 10pm

Grand Rapids
Amway Family Fireworks

Website Here
July 6th
Fireworks begin at 10:30

 

A small tip from your REALTOR® friends and neighbors: remember when doing your own fireworks displays to abide by all laws, policies, and procedures for your neighborhood, city/town, and county. Also be respectful of those with small children or pets that may not enjoy fireworks displays!


5 Severe Weather Tips for Homeowners

In Michigan we don’t often have to worry about many severe weather disasters – we’re lucky to avoid tsunamis and hurricanes, and tornadoes, fires and earthquakes are few and far between. But especially during the spring and summer months, the chance for thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, and the occasional tornado do increase. So, what to do when those severe weather patterns strike? We’ve got the top tips from REALTORS® to keep your family and your home safe.

Make emergency plans for your home.
Ready.gov has an amazing guide for making an emergency plan for your home. They break it down in to four easy steps:

  1. Discuss key questions: How will I receive emergency alerts? What is my shelter plan? What is my evacuation route? What is my family communication plan?
  2. Consider specific household needs: ages, access needs, barriers, dietary needs, religious considerations, pets, etc.
  3. Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
  4. Practice your plan with the family/household

Research Insurance Options
It surprises so many homeowners every year, but your current home insurance policy may not cover you in the event of some natural disasters and weather events. Consider if your home is in a flood zone, if the area is prone to high winds, etc, and address this accordingly with your insurance company. If you’re ready to explore other insurance options, your REALTOR® is an excellent resource!

Create an Emergency Kit
In the event of an emergency, you won’t always have time to gather necessary items, severe weather often strikes fast. Taking the time now to create an emergency kit will save you precious moments and could help to keep your family safe. We recommend these essentials:

  • Non-perishable foods – ideally a 3-day supply for each person
  • Filtered or bottled water – ideally a gallon per person per day for at least 3 days
  • Lantern, candles, or flashlights
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Extra batteries (consider for flashlights or cell phones)
  • Basic tools to turn off utilities
  • Cell Phone chargers
  • Local maps
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets or extra clothing

Also consider your individual needs – if medication is necessary, do not forget to include this. Copies of important family documents can also come in handy – be sure they are protected from the elements. And finally, if you have pets, do not forget their essentials!

Clean Up and Seal Your Home
Especially in the event of high winds or rain and flooding, cleaning up and sealing your home from the outside can provide a lot of protection. You want to inspect and clean out all gutters and downspouts to allow water to properly flow away from your home. Seal small cracks with caulking to prevent water from getting in through those areas. Check trees for signs of weakness – it may be best to remove them before they can come down on or around your home.

After Severe Weather

  • When severe weather has passed, you may need to process, clean up, or restore your home. Be sure to consult professionals when appropriate and take necessary safety precautions.
  • Always assume any down power lines are live and thus dangerous.
  • Contact your utilities to turn off or restore services as needed like natural gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not venture in to flood waters, even if they appear shallow or safe.

We hope that severe weather does not strike, but in the event it does, remember, your REALTOR® is a great resource for you to find professionals that can help rebuild or repair, to find community opportunities, and ultimately, to be a sounding board for you on all matters of your home.


Ice Cream Parlors …In the Mitten

We don’t know about you, but when the weather gets warmer, we crave ice cream! Michigan has so many iconic ice cream flavors, like Superman, a wild blue, red and yellow ice cream. We tried one from Kilwin’s that had Blue Moon, Red Pop and lemon flavors.  Another favorite is Mackinac Island Fudge from Hudsonville Dairy, a West Michigan creamery – it has delicious fudge chunks and butter fudge in a vanilla ice cream. Can you say “Yum?!”

Tucked away in every corner of Michigan, there are the cutest little ice cream shops serving some of Michigan’s best scoops. Here’s some of our favorites:

 

LANSING MICHIGAN AREA
Scoopy Doo’s – Dewitt, MI

126 N Bridge St, DeWitt, MI

Visit Scoopy Doo’s brand-new digs on Bridge St. in Dewitt – they just re-opened Memorial Weekend! We love the fun Scooby Doo theme and their Hudsonville Ice Cream selection.

 

EASTERN MICHIGAN AREA
Creamy Freeze – Commerce, MI

602 W Commerce Rd, Commerce, MI

Featuring both soft serve and hand scooped ice cream, Creamy Freeze is a local favorite! They feature new flurry flavors every week, like Samoa girl scout cookie, brownie fudge, and pecan praline caramel.

 

SAGINAW MICHIGAN AREA
Mooney’s Ice Cream and Cakes – Saginaw, MI

5716 State St., Saginaw, MI

Mooney’s is a Saginaw area favorite for a long time – it has been in business for over 20 years! Stop in a pick up a triple scoop sundae or try one of their unique ice cream cakes.

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN AREA
Kilwin’s Chocolates – Petoskey, MI

316 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI

The original Kilwin’s opened its doors in Petoskey in 1947. From their delicious ice cream flavors, to their amazing chocolate treats, their slogan really says all you need to know about the stores: “Sweet in every Sense since 1947.”

 

GATEWAY MICHIGAN AREA
Sand Lake Party Store – Nottawa, MI

25595 M 86, Nottawa, MI

This one is truly a hidden gem! The Sand Lake area party store is home to all sorts of goods (can you say “24 flavors of bratwursts”?!) but they are also known for their HUGE servings of ice cream. Try a “bellyache” – that’s 5 giant scoops – of their most popular flavor, Hudsonville chocolate!

 

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN AREA
Sherman’s Dairy Bar – South Haven, MI

1601 Phoenix Street, South Haven, MI

In South Haven’s shopping district, Sherman’s Dairy Bar is a quaint little community staple. Serving up Sherman’s Ice Cream, which opened in 1916, their ice cream is known for the real ingredients that make up their flavors. Check out the strawberry – you’ll see real whole berries in there!

 

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN AREA
Frosty Boy – Cascade, MI

6886 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI

Situated right in the cute downtown Cascade area, Frosty Boy is everything we need from a neighborhood ice cream parlor. They have a few snacks, some dinner items like hot dogs and broaster chicken, and of course, ice cream! Also serving up Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream, this is a must stop when in the area.