VT Mom got to talk backyard summer fun and WiFi control with a night of virtual fun hosted by Xfinity and our favorite – a whole lot of moms!
Not to worry, ignore those back-to-school aisles – there is still loads of summer to be had. Have you used up all your vacation time? Maybe summer camp has come and gone? We know that having your kids home for the rest of the summer gives new meaning to “dog days”! VT Mom has filled its bag of tricks with loads of ways to use all that high-speed Wi-Fi for good, not evil.
Backyard + Xfinity Wi-Fi + apps = Summer fun that’s good to go from head to toe!
Xfinity virtually gathered a group of moms from all over New England to brainstorm all the ways our families can enjoy time together in our own backyards. They sent all participants deluxe gift boxes featuring a gift from each state represented. Goodies in our welcome package included one of our Vermont favorites, Runamok maple syrup – that sparkles! That was just the start. Then the moms started talking, and the event passed in a blink of an eye. From movie night to family fitness, we came up with an outdoor-friendly list of family fun.
Summer Fun – Movie Night
First up is a crowd-pleaser, the only problem is agreeing on the movie! Grab a sheet and an affordable projector. Our favorite is the Elephas 2021 Mini Movie Projector that uses Wi-Fi and is iPhone compatible. Nothing fancy, but this little guy gets the job done. Add some popcorn and maybe run by Richmond Community Kitchen for their amazing hand pies.
I learned how to make the viewing seamless (aka my partner and I were still talking to each other at the end of the night) by using Xfinity’s xFi Pods along with the Xfinity xFi Advanced Gateway, Xfinity’s all-in-one WiFi modem, and router (known in our house as “the Beast”). Just put your Xfinity xFi Advanced Gateway in a central location and use the xFi Pods to extend reliable Wi-Fi coverage – even in the dreaded dead zones of your home.
HOT TIP ALERT: to maximize Wi-Fi performance, don’t place your modem near an aquarium, other Bluetooth devices, or baby monitors. Also, make sure to have your movie night zone near the room with your Gateway or an xFi Pod and you’re off to HD movie fun!
Want another fabulous idea? Warm up some Runamok Sparkle syrup then add to a large bowl with some added sea salt. Toss in the popcorn and mix = #supermom
There is no better way to get your steps in than to dance! Master the new TikTok moves. Teach your kids the electric slide. Move to your own drummer – all in good fun. Set up your kids’ own music video playlist using the YouTube app on Xfinity X1 or hand over the Xfinity Voice Remote and let your kids search for their favorite music or dance shows through Xfinity X1’s Kids Zone, which ensures your kids only have access to age-appropriate content, and you’re off!
I never miss a chance to embarrass my kids – which is even better if you can get the grandparents involved! Bring on Karaoke! Maximize your WiFi reach to seamlessly connect your devices from the backyard, and all you need are these Bluetooth microphones with speakers from Amazon, a mom-pleasing $27. Read off a laptop – or better yet (be that mom) use the projector.
HOT TIP ALERT: Did you know that if you say “karaoke” into your Xfinity X1 voice remote, you can choose from a selection of karaoke favorites? Yup – can’t get easier!
It’s back – getting together in person! VT Mom always wants to promote safety, so please make sure to follow CDC and/or your health department’s guidelines when having gatherings that include more than those in your direct family. That said – friends, food, and family are what VT Mom and Vermonters are all about! Vermont has so many options when it comes to local, fresh and fabulous! Our go-to’s are:
Local Maverick baskets – take the guesswork out of shopping local and get connected with the most delicious, carefully curated selections.
Salt & Bubbles – pick-up one of their amazing charcuterie boards and have a refreshing glass of white wine.
Lola’s Latin Kitchen – It’s a food truck, so plan ahead. But what group of friends wouldn’t show up to a food truck catered backyard dinner party!?
Yeah, this one isn’t for everyone. However, once I hit my limit of, “mom watch this” I decided to join in! Family yoga night has taken over! Now I am no pro – sometimes we count how many sounds mom makes while holding downward-dog. We’ve used backyard yoga as a decompressor – no need to be a hero!
Summer Fun – Podcasts and Camping!
Camping in the backyard can be loads of fun, loads of laughs – and loads more than it is cracked out to be before bedtime! Our fix for nighttime zoomies – PINNA! PINNA is an app with podcasts, audiobooks, and music for kids 3 – 12. PINNA has content like Goodnight Rebel Girls’ to Julie’s Library (books read by Julie Andrews!), to Pinna’s originals like TimeKids Explains. So many options, certainly something for everyone. Hence, the need for those life-saving Xfi Pods!
Summer Fun – Gaming and backyard fun!
Yeah, we know, they’re outside – why, then, are they on screens?! In a perfect world, all our kids would be exploring, making dandelion crowns, playing capture the flag, and reading in their treehouses. Enter reality.
While all those are wonderful and should be a part of your outside fun, I am a realist. I also consider it a win that at the very least they’re outside! So, own the gaming reality and your kid’s time on screens. We use the Xfinity app, which includes access to Xfinity xFi, to manage my whole family’s device usage. Yes, you can even use it to track how much you’re on your own phone, too! Xfinity xFi is a feature that is included with Xfinity Internet and has loads of real family-specific options and this link gives you a step-by-step guide on how to create profiles for each of your family members, adjust allotted screen time limits, and even allows for at-will pausing of the internet. However, my personal favorite option is to set an on/off internet schedule. Our internet is off from 11 am – 4 pm and 9 pm to 9 am. This takes the whining out of “can I watch?” or “can I play?”, just a PSA from me to you. Summer Fun – Quick links for better Wifi and security control
Xfinity X1 Kids Zone – A feature on Xfinity’s video platform that offers a safe environment for kids to browse, shuffle and watch live TV, Xfinity On Demand content, and DVR recordings that are appropriate for kids ages 12 and under.
Xfinity xFi – A feature included with Xfinity Internet that provides security from online threats, lets you see who’s on your network, and enables you to pause Wi-Fi on devices that are connected to your network- it’s every parent’s best pocket tool! You can even customize controls for each family member.
xFi Pods – these little guys help extend your WiFi network for more consistent coverage to keep you seamlessly connected throughout your home. Placed properly and you can even boost your backyard WiFi access!
Here is a sneak peek of VT Mom’s streaming favorites!
- Netflix – You cannot go wrong with Carmen Sandiego. My 11 and 8.5-year-olds both love it and it’s always a fun “ask the remote where/what is that” family explore time! An actual search result during an episode was, “what is Chinese New Year – to – Zodiac signs – to – origamis – to – making all our families zodiac symbols.” True story. We haven’t been out much. My 11 year old demanded I mention Malibu Rescue. This one is my personal favorite but she also loves it. What I don’t hate is the attempt to be more inclusive- and girls and boys equally are villains and saviors.
- Hulu – Fun one for the littles’ Madagascar: The Little Wild – super cute and bonus, it won’t make you want to tear your hair out!
- Disney+ – All right, for this my family is totally biased–we LOVE Drain the Oceans and Secret Life of Whales! For Drain the Oceans, start with Sunken Treasures – you’re welcome! And for Secret Life of Whales, just be ready to binge! My son and I have rewatched all and learn something new every time. Spoiler alert – not all Orcas eat seals?!?
- tubi – You just can’t shake a classic. Madeline on tubi is wonderful and one of the rare moments you have no concerns when you leave the room!
- HBOmax – Classic is just the beginning with Seasame Street. They’re all on HBOmax and I found it really helpful to search specific topics that are relevant to what my kids are going through. It takes a village – I mean neighborhood!
- Peacock – Curious George… ‘nough said!