• An Epic Playdate


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    This past weekend we drove down to Santa Barbara for Hyundai’s Epic Playdate event. It was a fun play ‘day’ for a bunch of families from my ad network and a few others that won trips to go. I was in charge of one of the days events, group sand art, and there were other bloggers that were organizing events too throughout the day. Oh Happy Day made giant bubbles, Oh Joy made an ice cream bar, Dooce taught a kid photography class, Mighty Girl organized a giant paint fight, etc.




    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    I was really impressed with how well thought out everything was. There was tons of food (I accidentally ate two lunches because the ‘pre lunch snack’ was so substantial I thought it was lunch!), lots for the kids to do and plenty of fun activities everyone could be involved in either doing or just watching. There was even an epic nap tent which had beds and cribs and books for ones that needed some quiet time. Henry and I both needed a little time in there in the afternoon to re-fuel for the evening. The idea of ‘family friendly’ doesn’t always work for kids and parents both but they managed to truly find a happy medium where everyone was having a great time.


    After the day event, the families and others that helped organize it moved over to the beach where we played on the beach, ate dinner, sang songs around the fire, and then stayed over night in the coolest tents ever (the top image of the post). epic11I was pinching myself the whole time- it felt like I had been invited to a beautiful wedding of a celebrity. Everything was perfect. I feel really lucky to have been a part of it and asked to participate. It was a day we’ll always remember and I was blown away by all the hard work and thought that went into planning each detail of it.


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    Keep reading for lots more details from the events of the day/evening! Plus the most amazing glamping tents ever…

    (All images in this post are my own unless noted)

    This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.Hyundai_logo_125x125(1)


    Here are some of the highlights of the day portion of the event.  I was taking mental notes of all the kid birthday party ideas the whole time! It would work great for a family reunion as well and have each family come up with a different group activity.


    Group sand art: I was in charge of this one. We had a large tarp on the ground for easy clean up and I taped up a grid of sorts so families could decorate in a specific area with the sand to allow everyone to participate together. We worked on the center area before it started to show others an example.sandart2


    We filled up plastic squeeze bottles with different colors of sand (the kind of sand you fill glass bottles with but just in bulk). For a really thin stream we left the bottles as is, but if you wanted a faster stream I had a few pairs of scissors around to snip off the tip. It was good because the thin stream controlled the toddlers aged kids, and the older kids could snip off the tip and use a faster stream if they wanted.


    The kids really got into it. I loved seeing what they came up with and unique ways of mixing/layering/writing with the sand. The sand didn’t stick at all, it was a temporary installation. I was nervous about wind, but luckily the wind stayed away and the sand art designs were around all day for people to work on.


    I was really engaged at the beginning of the day, making sure people started to work on areas near the center and were using the bottles appropriately, maybe a little too controlling. But by the end of the day I relaxed a lot more, stopped trying to control it and let them do whatever since I knew we had enough space on the tarp and sand to mess with at that point.

    Check out Jared and my expression watching some older kids dump entire buckets of sand onto the tarp at the end of the day: “uhhhhhh should we say something?”


    Tin foil warriors: Families made armor and warrior accessories from tin foil and then had a relay race involving whipped cream beards! Despite the odd expression I captured on Henry, I can promise you he loved it!


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)



    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    These dudes organized the event. How cool are they?

    Giant hula hoop bubbles: Dipping hula hoops in giant kiddie pools full of bubble solution


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    Giant beach volleyball: So simple but Henry spent the most time here playing with the GIANT beach balls. I need to find one for our family trip this summer to the Outer Banks of NC.


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    Balloon animals: Henry scored a mega balloon hat at the end of the day! We forgot to mention the temporary nature of balloon creations which left him pretty upset later that evening when he found the best hat ever made had started popping.


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    Lots of other great ideas like a paint fight (colored water with washable tempura + water guns + ponchos), and these handmade rockets which shot up super high with some kind of homemade device, similar to stomp rockets (and love this shot of Roman below with his rocket!)


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    In the early evening we headed down to the beach area for dinner and relaxing.





    After dinner we were surprised by singer/songwriter Brett Dennen coming to sing campfire songs around the firepit. Whaaaaat? He was sooo cute with the kids and really talented. They followed him around the whole time, even when he wasn’t singing- he had the pied piper thing going on big time.


    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)


    Jared and Henry maxin the relaxin



    (Image by David Crowther for Hyundai)

    Later that night we headed up the hill to glamp (glamorous camping- the name cracks me up!) with tent from Shelter Co. Oh my GOODNESS! These were amazing, such a great idea for a casual wedding too! I loved the stairs headed up as well strung with cafe lights.




    The tents had natural rugs, seating and a real mattress to sleep on with cozy blankets. Plus you could stand up in the tents which made getting around the dressing so much easier! Whoever invented these are genius! I’d love to rent a bunch for a family reunion, wedding, or another special occasion.

    Such an incredible day, a huge thanks for everyone who worked so hard on it. I feel so lucky to be able to be there, we’ll always remember it!


    1. Ji said… May 7, 2013 8:02 pm

      Whose beach balls were those and where can I get them?

    2. Mandy said… May 6, 2013 3:52 am

      Wow! This looks like the most wonderful weekend a kid could ask for, ever! All the things you all did in the day looked so fun and out of the ordinary. Great ideas for a family reunion, you are right. And that tent! Awesome. I would love to stay there! Did you do S’mores around the campfire? Going to share this with my family and plan something like this for our next get together. Thanks for the inspiration!

    3. Andrea said… May 3, 2013 8:33 am

      So amazing! I loved checking out the pictures!

      We are traveling to the Outer Banks this summer too! Love it there!

    4. Ken Tan said… May 3, 2013 1:04 am

      Spectacular day! What a cooool tent!!!

    5. mom in mendon said… May 2, 2013 4:50 pm

      This looks wonderful!!! I love the Epic Play Date idea.

    6. Katie @ Swoon Divers Travel said… May 2, 2013 1:40 pm

      Oh my gosh, how amazing! It looks like the perfect mix of kid fun & adult fun! I could LIVE in one of those tents. No, really, I could.

    7. Lisette Wolter-McKinley said… May 2, 2013 1:40 pm

      What a grand day! How can you ever top that for camping?

    8. Wendy Ballster said… May 2, 2013 1:38 pm

      What an amazing day! Lucky lucky to be included in such an event. Where are the tents from? Would love to rent some for a family reunion or something

    9. Melissa said… May 2, 2013 9:39 am

      Oh, it all looks so dreamy! It really seems like the perfect day for grown-ups and kids alike! And I showed my husband the picture of your tent from Instagram, and he said, “That’s amazing! Where is that? Can we go there?” Just like I knew he would!

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