Officially Ready for Summer! Opening the Beaches Parade

Sunday was my second time walking with the Beaches Library in the 72nd Opening of the Beaches parade. While our Florida beaches are open year-round, this event marks the start of warm sunny days and is a fun way to kick off beach season!

Opening the Beaches Jax Beach

I was really excited about making a new beach inspired costume and worked my idea around a pair of blue wings that made me think of water swirling around me when moved. I tore apart a sparkly dress to make a long skirt and top, and added shells and little sea creatures. I bought a pack of 52 off Amazon and they really came in handy! My son got to play with all the extra ones I didn’t use.mermaid inspired top by candy keane

I woke up Sunday excited and prepared! Or so I thought! As I was getting ready I realized I didn’t have any shoes that went with the outfit. So I pulled a few scraps of fabric out the trash, gathered the remaining decorations and quickly hot glued everything to an old pair of house shoes. Viola!

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We had a great group of cosplayers walking with us highlighting various fandoms from Hello Kitty to Star Wars. I always forget to get good group pics when I’m dressed up, so I had to swipe this one off Facebook-

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It’s not a really long parade and the ocean breeze helps keep you cool, but it was definitely hot and sunny! I got quite an arm workout from whirling those wings around too. I was feeling it afterwards, but at least my feet were really comfy in my custom slippers. Great time, great crowd, looking forward to next year when maybe my mom can join me with her silver wings!

 

Tinkering around at Tinkergarten

img_8833Our adventure today was a Tinkergarten class, held at Cradle Creek Preserve in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Tinkergarten is an outdoor learning experience held at local parks, where kids 18 months – 8 years learn through play and exploring the outdoors. They have it set up in 43 states so far, so check out the website to find a class near you. They offer a free trial class, so we signed up to give it a try and ventured out on a cloudy drizzly Wednesday morning to go get our nature on.

We arrived nice and early and then discovered there were no bathrooms. As soon as I learn there are no bathrooms somewhere, I always suddenly, urgently have to pee. I wasn’t up for squatting in the woods (at least not this time) so we took a quick detour to the gas station and headed back. Our class leader Sara said she was looking into moving it to a different park with better amenities and parking. There were only maybe 4 spots in the lot, but you can park on the side of the street.

We got started with a little song and then read a story that just happened to be my favorite book from kindergarten, Stone Soup. After the story, the kids got to participate in making their own version of stone soup using dirt, sticks, leaves and whatever else they could scavenge. My favorite part was when they added the “seasonings” from a bag of lavender that smelled heavenly.

The age range for our class was about 2 – 5, so it was hectic but fun. There were wanderers and the occasional tantrum breakdown, but overall all the kids seemed to enjoy it. Keelan wasn’t sure at first, but after a few minutes he got really into making his “soup” with water and dirt and even went back for extra seasonings.

I’m waiting to hear if the class is going to be moved to a park with bathrooms before we sign up. I really did like getting to visit the nature preserve location because there weren’t any other distractions around, but I can’t be peeing in the bushes. I mean, I just met these people and it’s not exactly a kegger in the woods. 😆

Check out their website Tinkergarten.com to see if there is a class near you, and if not, you can also sign up to be a class leader in your area. I’m actually looking into that myself since I’d like to get paid to play outside with the kiddo!