Planning a Backyard Carnival

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor festivals and making exciting memories with friends and family. But limited time county fairs and weekend long community events are not always the most convenient options for busy families during the summer. Take the time to plan your own event, on your own time and terms.

Photo by: Hoyasmeg

With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of creativity, you could host a memorable summer carnival of your very own! Here are some areas to pay special attention to while planning your next backyard carnival –

Activities: Gather supplies for face painting, crafts,  ring toss, and any park type of games that will be fun but don’t take up too much space. After all you don’t want to pack your space with so much that it doesn’t leave room for you to enjoy it all.

Space: Clear out an open area in your backyard to set up. Look out for any possible safety hazards as your backyard is not really made for hosting events like these. Planning ahead can help you avoid any unnecessary accidents.

Food: Make it feel like a real carnival by supplying fair themed foods – popcorn in striped boxes, peanuts, cotton candy, hot dogs, and more! Having more than enough food and drink will keep the party going if you don’t have a scheduled end time.

Decorations: Create hand craft banners and labels for food and games to give your carnival a special rustic backyard feel. Remember the more color and activity that you produce visually, the more realistic your event will feel.

What are some of your favorite carnival activities? Don’t feel too limited by these top tips and areas to cover – make this event your own!

Planning Day Trips with the Kids

Summer vacations do not have to be to be too time consuming. After all, planning for long trips with kids can get a little complicated. There are schedules to line up, supplies to pack and all kinds of extra expenses that might pop up. Do not let these common obstacles stop you from taking the family on the road for a quick and easy day trip this summer. Day trips can be just as exciting and convenient for your family during the summer months as any large scale summer vacation plans.

Photo by : Socram_yar

Here’s how to get started when planning a summer day trip with the kids –

Do your Research: What fun locales are not too far from where you live? To make sure you have the chance to see something a little bit different from your everyday norm, you’ll want to see what opportunities are within driving distance or even accessible by public transportation. Museums, nearby towns, amusement parks, outdoor festivals, hiking trails, county fairs, and more – the possibilities are endless! The over aching theme is to find a location and or activity that you can get to and enjoy within a single day.

Put it to a Vote: After you have lined up a few potential day trip locations, make sure that you end up choosing a trip that everyone will enjoy. Get the family together for a fun dinner and while everyone’s eating present some of your ideas to them and pitch them on the options that you have already screens and deemed appropriate, fun and within budget. To keep it fair do a blind vote by having each family member discreetly write down their choice day trip and slip it into a box so that you can calculate votes and settle on a locale. Letting the kids get their voices heard in this process will make it extra special.

Pack Supplies: Day trips often require spending some time in the car and on the road. This means you might want to think ahead and pack snacks, navigations tools, first aid kit, road games, and more or even DVDs if you’re able to play them in the car or through a portable device of some sort. Other things to consider packing include pillows and blankets for comfort, sanitizing wipes and paper towels, chargers for mobile electronics, music, a camera, and quick cash as you’ll be out and about all day.

Hit the Road: once everything is accounted for, your priority can switch from planning to simple having fun! Hit the road an start making family memories to last a lifetime.

Celebrate with School of Dragons!

Frankie and the JumpStart friends are celebrating a BIG milestone with our friends at School of Dragons! Today marks the 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the start of classes at their online world, where adventure and science take you on a high flying ride with your very own dragon.


Preview School of Dragons at the Central Park FunZone or enroll your Jumpee to raise, train, and bond with their very  own high flying creature at!

Creative Workshops for Kids

Often time when kids begin school, their learning focus is on fundamental subjects like English, Math, History, Science and other tradition topics. For that very reason, summer gives parents the opportunity to approach learning differently and allow kids to explore interests outside of the classroom. One way of helping your kids develop new skills and learn to express their unique perspectives creatively is by taking them to local creative workshops. Often hosted by community centers and even a few stores and businesses, these classes are an amazing tool in increasing your child’s learning potential this summer.

Photo by: mandaroo63

Think of creative workshops as classes. While the topics might not seem like those fit for the classroom, the activities themselves will help expand your child’s scope of knowledge and also allow them practice important developmental skills – motor, cognitive, and more! What interest your kids most – painting, acting, craft building, drawing, dancing, gardening, knitting, cooking or any other creative types of ventures?

Do your research and learn what options are available in your area. Other popular nationwide stores and business that hold workshops for kids include: Michaels Arts and Crafts, Joann’s Fabrics, and the Home Depot. But don’t feel restricted to these options. There might be day camps and other resources available in your community that you just don’t know about yet.

Get involved this summer and talk to other parents from your kids’ school or head to community centers, local museums and other public works organizations that might be able to better connect you with a few summertime creative workshops for kids!

JumpStart’s Worksheet of the Week


Family Night Activities: Cooking Pizza at Home

Summer is a time for kids to try new things outside of the classroom, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a time for the fun and learning to simply stop. In fact there are all kinds of ways for kids to get in some extra practice developing motor skills and even practicing basic math concepts when taking part in activities at home and better yet, in the kitchen making pizza. Cooking together as a family and taking the time to share meals together on a regular basis is something that can easily strengthen your overall bond as a family. Make a day of this fun summertime activity and grab the kids for a trip to the grocery store, where you can get started on your next  family pizza night!

Photo by Tina Schritter

Here’s what you’ll need:
– Pizza dough (found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores)
– Pizza Sauce (can be store bought or homemade, depending on preference)
– Cheese (traditional mozzarella or shredded blends of your choosing)
– Toppings (veggies, cured meats, and any of your family’s preferences)


  • Roll out your dough on a clean flat surface. Sprinkle the surface with a little bit of flour to prevent it from sticking.
  •  Depending on your preference, place the dough (round or rectangular shaped) on a pan. If a Pizza Stone is readily available to you, that will help keep your crust crisp.
  • Cover the flattened dough with olive oil and a little crushed garlic before spreading out the pizza sauce, leaving an outer edge as your crust.
  • Sprinkle a light layer of cheese before laying out your preferred toppings.
  • Add an additional light layer of cheese over the toppings to bake everything together. Remember the cheese acts like an adhesive.
  • Bake in the oven according to the directions specific on the packaged dough or your preferred recipe and enjoy!

Happy Independence Day, Jumpeez!

Help us celebrate this historic day by joining Frankie and friends in the JumpStart World. Just in time for all the festivities and fireworks, we have kicked off our own celebration with red white and blue decorations, updates FunZones and more!

plugin-container 2014-06-26 12-16-53-69

How will you be celebrating the 4th of July? Whether you have all kinds of fun family activities planned like BBQs, Block Parties and larger than life fireworks shows, don’t forget to make time to wish you Jumpee pals a happy holiday weekend too! While in the game you’ll be able to enjoy all of the festive summer features like the updated scavenger hunt in MainStreet, DownTown, and Adventure Canyon!

And MOST importantly make sure to listen carefully this season. At the sound of our special signal, you’ll be able to enjoy our summer time fireworks spectacular in certain areas of JumpStart. Check the messages on your ‘About Me’ page for more information!