Sprite Tabs for Humanity

When I was growing up, my parents didn’t have any problem at all with opening the back door of our house and telling me to get outside. We lived on a busy road but had a huge front yard, and I spent many afternoons in that yard, whether I was practicing gymnastics, looking at leaves, talking with our neighbors at the fence, and sometimes even roaming around in the woods by myself. It was a pretty carefree environment as far as childhoods go, and I’m so grateful for those memories.

Once I became a mom, however, I sort of assumed that our little boy would never know the joys of roaming around outside for hours on end. It’s a different time, after all. And you really only have to watch the nightly news one time before you start to wonder if your kids might not be better off if they spent their days inside. FOREVER.

But for our family, a funny thing happened on our way to self-imposed seclusion. People with children moved in next door. And as our kids started to get to know each other, they started playing outside more and more. They started doing all sorts of stuff that I loved when I was growing up: riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, sitting on the back porch and looking at the clouds and naming the shapes that they found. And the more they played outside, the more other kids from our street started to join the fun.

The abundance of kids in our neighborhood has honestly been one of the best things that’s ever happened to our little boy. Being outside with his buddies – whether it’s at our house or a neighbor’s house or the park – has taught him so much about building relationships and solving problems. It’s easy for everyone to get along when they’re all inside and taking turns playing video games – but doing stuff outside requires teamwork. It requires cooperation. You have to learn to adapt to all sorts of different situations – and you learn a whole bunch of great lessons in the process.

A couple of weeks ago the kids on our street started playing baseball every afternoon. There’s no field – there’s only the backyard a couple of houses down from us. And there aren’t bases – there are only sticks. The uniforms are whatever the kids happen to be wearing at the time, and the teams are made up of whoever happens to be getting along best on a given day.

But when our little guy comes home at suppertime, he is full of stories. Not stories about characters in television shows or video games or computer games. His stories are even better, because they’re stories from real life. And they’re about real people – and their real-life adventures playing baseball together. As a parent I have to say that it’s totally refreshing to hear about those real-life connections he’s making in a world that’s increasingly virtual. He and his friends will have memories that last a lifetime, and they’re learning firsthand that the great outdoors offers a whole lot more than the great indoors could ever think about.

In the interest of recognizing the importance of outdoor fun, the Sprite Spark Parks Project focuses on building and refreshing local parks across the country. Whether they’re improving basketball courts, community spaces or outdoor school spaces, Sprite is committed to providing great areas where families can stay active and healthy outdoors. They’re giving you the opportunity to get involved by collecting green tabs found in specially marked packages of Sprite and Sprite Zero. Starting April 1, 2011, send the green tabs in to Sprite to contribute to the building and refurbishing of homes and active spaces for Habitat for Humanity by June 30, 2011 and for every tab received Sprite will donate 10 cents to the organization, up to $500,000 with a minimum donation of $250,000! BlogHer is matching the donation: when readers upload a photo of their personal green tabs collection from Sprite as an additional comment on one of the participating blogs, BlogHer will donate 10 cents to the organization, up to $2,000. If you’d you’d like to join the fun, just take pictures of your own Sprite tabs, upload the pictures to your own blog or Facebook page, and leave a link to your post in my comments.

And if you’d like to enter to win a $100 Shutterfly.com gift card, leave a comment that answers the following question: How do you plan to keep your family in motion this summer? Team sports? Trips to the beach? Volunteering? Some time at camp?

This giveaway will be active from 5/5/2011 – 5/31/2011. For even more chances to win Visit the Promotions & Prizes section of BlogHer.com.

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
Please visit Spark Park Sprite Hub.
Visit the official rules.

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Comments

  1. We’ll be frequenting a variety of parks. We’re also trying out a myriad of organized activity to let them see what they might like, because we don’t do a lot of extra curriculars during school. There will be basketball, environmental discovery, super scientists, amazing art, hopefully swimming lessons, and possibly martial arts. I’m trying to make up for last summer when we sat at home in air conditioning because Mama was Monstrously Pregnant.

  2. Melissa says:

    Plenty of trips to the beach and park!

  3. Brittany says:

    Lots and lots of swimming, bike riding and just plain outdoor play.

  4. We plan on taking lots of walks outside. The trees are budding and I’m excited to soak up some sunshine too :)

  5. We love to swim and play golf!

  6. When the heat and humidity aren’t too oppressive, we plan on taking walks and bike rides. And when it’s hot, they can jump in our above-ground pool in the back yard.

  7. We are so lucky to live near the Smoky Mountains, so our favorite outdoor activity is to hike and picnic by the river there. My three little ones are just at an age where biking is possible – and fun! We even enjoy flying kites, taking walks after dinner and just romping in the yard.

    Love the great outdoors!

  8. I’m due with baby #2 in September, so I’m planning to teach baby #1 to swim this summer! She loves bath time and that gives me great hope that she’s going to love pool time too!! (Plus, I’ll get some extra exercise pulling her in the wagon up to the pool in our neighborhood)

  9. Milissa says:

    I just bought bicycles for my whole family. We are going to bike around everywhere this summer.

  10. Joelle says:

    Swim practice. And the beach. And the pool. We live in Florida so it all revolves around maintaining a nonadversarial relationship with the blazing hot sun.

  11. We go swimming every day at the neighborhood pool, and my kids are all signed up for sports camps at school.

  12. My kids will attend camp, we plan on a summer trip to the beach and the oldest two will volunteer
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  13. My three oldest kids all play soccer, so that will keep them busy throughout the summer. The two youngest will ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac non-stop. When the kids aren’t busy with that, we will take family bike rides or go hiking in the Rocky Mountains (we live on the Front Range). We love being outdoors, so I don’t think any of us will be spending much time indoors once school is out!

  14. We are planning LOTS of family hikes in the beautiful NW, to which we have just returned after 10 years in Africa. :) Can’t wait to introduce the kids to the area and the joys of backpacking trips in the mountains.

  15. Johanna says:

    We’re moving from TX to DC this summer. It’s more than enough action around here!!

  16. Anne N. says:

    My kids are starting tennis lesssons this summer, so that will be a good start!

  17. Sarah M. says:

    I signed us up for a Mommy & Me swim class – I’m not a great swimmer, but I want my son to be!

  18. We plan on swimming daily at the YMCA and walking each night and playing in between in our back yard.

  19. We have three long camping trips planned (nothing like biking, eating breakfast outside and sitting by a crackling campfire) and also have a pool that we open to all the neighborhood kids…can’t wait!

  20. Mami2jcn says:

    We plan to go to the pool a lot.

  21. Jennie says:

    Tennis and Swim Team all summer!

  22. Mami2jcn says:

    tweet-http://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/66461543193251840

  23. Kelley says:

    We swim a lot in the summer. Also, bike ride, walks and taking a trip to the beach!

  24. Ruthie says:

    We’ll be in Colorado walking, hiking, biking, and riding horses.

  25. Our oldest will turn 11 this summer, so he is “aging out” of park play a little — but we got tennis rackets last summer, and we’ve had a lot of fun playing tennis with our older kids while our little one rides her trike on the empty court. :) I wish our neighborhood had more young children . . . we have mostly kids older than ours. We do baseball & swimming too, and it will be our boys’ first summer at sleep-away camp!

  26. We are picking up a new to us travel trailer tomorrow that will help us be out and about all summer as well as throughout the year. An extended family campout and a trip to Canada. I am so excited!!!

  27. Well, starting in April, We have football. Football lasts until November between Bee and the kids! We’re almost NEVER home! :)

  28. Fanannie says:

    We will be doing a mix of sports, vacation bible school, vacations, day camp and hanging with other moms/kids!!

  29. We visit our local state park and do lots of outdoor playing!!

  30. We have plans for lots of camping and hiking this summer…can’t wait for the snow to melt off those mountains.

  31. We have moved out to a farm, and while we don’t have children (yet) I can tell you that our summer is going to be filled with turning off the computer & TV, breathing in the country air, swatting skeeters, playing with the deaf farm dog (seriously!) and enjoying everything there is to love about being outside!

  32. My kids play on traveling baseball and softball teams!

  33. Deborah says:

    Swimming! Our church has a free pool, and the kids and I are planning to hang out there several afternoons each week.

  34. Jeannett says:

    My kids love for me to play outside with them so that’s what we do as long as the weather permits!

  35. We bike, swim, hike and play play play. We limit screen time and the acitivity comes easily!

  36. Karina says:

    Lots of trips to the beach

  37. kelley wood says:

    We will be going to they YMCA everyday to swim!!

  38. shelly says:

    my guys live at the pool during the summer

  39. Lots of walks, bike rides and making them go outside to play for at least a few hours a day (my older two play baseball or football or basketball together)…but your comments about playing together in a neighborhood make me want to move to one with kids so much more! We’re kind of in the middle of nowhere and the two boys don’t have any friends nearby :(

  40. I plan on keeping my family busy by going on trips! I also want to get my son interested in volunteering this year when he’s not busy working!!!!
    thanks also for a chance to win!
    kmassmanATgmailDOTcom

  41. We’re doing swimming lessons this summer! Which means daily trips up to the pool in my parents town. Or else some good grandparent bonding time for the oldest! And going to Baltimore to visit my sis-in-law and going to Oregon to visit the in-laws. Going going going, that’s our summers! (we’re teachers)

  42. My kids play outside in the street.

  43. I can’t wait to take my little guy to the beach for the first time!! And we will be visiting our local parks as often as possible!!

  44. BerniG says:

    We will be going to the park a lot. My 22 month old needs no reminders to stay in motion. The kid never stands still!

  45. Kaycee says:

    We will stay in motion by going for walks, going to playgrounds, kicking around the soccer ball, riding bikes and big wheels, going to the trampoline gym, swimming in Grandpa & Nana’s pool, going to the local splash park …. And so on. :) yay summer!

  46. My kids will go to camp twice a week–there they play outside with sprinklers and water tables and such. On weekends we usually play in our backyard too.

  47. Adrienne Gordon says:

    My kids do swim team and we train together for running events and family triathlons.

  48. Denise S says:

    We’re planning on camping, VBS, and swimming lessons.
    lazybones344 at gmail dot com

  49. eva k says:

    We like to keep in motion by doing volunteering and playing outside games!

    ekieuuu@gmail.com

  50. eva k says:
  51. Margaret Smith says:

    We have an above groud pool and spend most of the summer swimming. When it rains, we usually go bowling or walk in the mall.
    Thanks so much
    rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

  52. We take our boys to the beach at least every week. We also frequent our neighborhood park and spend lots of time outside in the backyard. With two young boys its sooo important for them to run off all of that energy!

  53. sandy says:

    walking everywhere…store, park, library

  54. Stephanie V. says:

    camp, swimming, gym

  55. Tina M says:

    We will go hiking and camping!!

  56. Tina M says:
  57. Debbie Bellows says:

    I hope to take a family vacation

  58. Debbie Bellows says:
  59. Beach time, family reunion, beach time, swimming in the pool, camp, beach time, leader at another camp, and maybe we’ll go to the beach.

  60. Rebecca Graham says:

    Bike riding and camping will keep us active this summer.

  61. Rebecca Graham says:
  62. Playing at parks, the pool and in our very own backyard with the neighbors. My daughter is two, the boy next door is three, and the little girl across the street is two – and you should see these little kids run back and forth from our yard to the one next door having a blast together. It makes me get a little faklempt thinking about them growing up together and walking the one block up to the elementary school together:)

  63. T. Lawson says:

    We like to take walks after dinner. We will also keep active with day and/or weekend trips.

  64. Sarah Hirsch says:

    i’m signing them up for sports camps, and we like to play tennis and go swimming

  65. We will be doing a lot of what is free…bike rides, picnics at the park, walks around the golf course. And a lot of what costs a lot of money…crafting creating all of the decorations for our wedding in October which shall keep us busy. Including ALL of my centerpieces which will have a black and white photo of us submurged in vegetable oil inside a mason jar with pretty ribbon. And why yes….those black and white photos will be ordered through shutterfly as all of our photos are so a $100 gift card to there would but such a nice break to the expenses of a wedding! :) Not to mention my kiddos swim lessons, dance lessons and karate. We shall be quite busy!

  66. We will be doing lots of volunteer work in the areas in Northern Alabama affected by the recent tornadoes.

  67. Monique Rizzo says:

    The beach is 2 hour from us, so we will be going every weekend.Thanks for the chance.
    mogrill12@yahoo.com

  68. My family right now consists of me and my husband, but we’re still trying to be more active! One of the biggest things I’d like to do is go on regular hikes (I think our puppy would love that too!)

  69. Courtney S says:

    My kids play sports all summer long so we stay busy with that!

  70. Janna Johnson says:

    lots of swimming and walking the dog!
    Thanks for the entry!
    Janna Johnson
    jannajanna@hotmail.com

  71. Debra Hall says:

    we go to the local park every week

  72. My kids do sports camps and play a lot of capture the flag with the neighborhood kids!

  73. my family will be visiting family, attending Bible School, fourth of july, and so much more. we don’t waste a single day of summer.

  74. We are going to train for a Warrior Dash!

  75. My son will be going to Via West campus, a special needs camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. (www.viaservices.org) and my daughter will be bouncing around between all of the great park and rec day camps we have in our city.

  76. summer is our time. We go camping, we spend time in the park, swimming in the lake and so much more. I can’t wait for summer to get here.

  77. My favorite cleaning tip is wipe down your bathroom after your shower. The steam makes it real easy to clean.
    smchester at gmail dot com

  78. Road trips to places where we can do our favorite outdoor activities: hiking, fishing, etc.

  79. We plan & have been doing some gardening…transplanting Aloe Vera, adding a front walk wildflower garden…& bike rides in the park.

  80. i just read up on swim lessons in my town for registrationa dn we are headed to the beach
    nannypanpan at gmail.com

  81. Kristina G. says:

    I actually just made a list of all the things my husband could do with my boys while they are all home on summer break. They are broken down into 3 categories – free, cheap and pricey. They spend a lot of time playing ball in our back yard but I know they will appreciate a list of activities for some variety!

  82. My family will be going on frequent walks and bike rides. We also like to go to the pool with our friends on a regular basis, as well as meeting up for play dates at the neighborhood parks!

  83. Kristi says:

    My husband and I just got new bikes for us so we can take the kiddos on rides this summer. Looking forward to it!

  84. Jill L says:

    My family loves to hike and go geocaching. It’s easy to keep on the move around here. Lots of state parks to explore.

  85. Jill L says:
  86. Rebekah O says:

    We will be busy at the park and on family trips. Not to mention chasing a 18 month old and taking care of a newborn :)

  87. We have a new baby around these parts and the amount of baby weight I am still carrying around is not lost on me! My “get active” strategy is two-fold. One, is lots of long walks with the stroller and little one. I have a Starbucks two blocks down the road and a gorgeous park one block further than that. What could be better than a sunny afternoon, an iced coffee, and time outside with my boy! My second method of attack is tap dancing. Yes, tap dancing. I was a tap dancer in high school and haven’t laced my taps up since. With the help of a few tap workout DVD’s and our hardwood floors, I should be all set! In addition, I would LOVE to invest in a good bike seat for our little guy. : )

  88. Summer camp; playing outside with the kids on our street; going to the pool and lake; hiking in the mountains. And, for the record, I LOVE Shutterfly! Their photo books are awesome gifts.

  89. We are moving a few hours south in Texas and will be living closer to the beach than ever. I am already telling my husband that we WILL get there frequently over the summer months! It’s too close to waste!

  90. Hubby and I dont ahve children but we will be getting outside. We need to put in flower beds to give our house some curb appeal! Time to sell. We will also be doing a lot of walking the neighboorhood. We have gotten a little fluffy being inside all winter!

  91. Sending my son out to play with friends and providing opportunities for him to be at the park on a regular basis is good for both of us. He burns off energy and I keep my sanity.

  92. Beach and pool! We LOVE to swim! Those are our very favorite places all Summer long!! :-)

  93. This is our first summer with our three precious kiddos, who live with us through foster care. I can’t wait to show them all the fun things to do during the summer – including swimming, children’s museums, and fourth of July fireworks!

  94. We are going on vacation to the beach, and my sons are on the swim team.

  95. Anne Blackburn says:

    First time visitor here – I’ll be back.

    We are going to print off a list of all the County and State parks and make our way through them this Summer. Can’t wait for our adventures together as a family! :)

  96. With three five and under, activities are definately on the menu! VBS, Kid’s Day Out for my two oldest one day a week, and playdates with friends. And most importantly a family vacation to Rhode Island for a week on the beach!