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    5 sweet and simple summer traditions to start with your kids

    In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the summer months are the perfect time to take a step back and create lasting memories with your family. Fortunately, some of the best memories come from simple activities — no lavish vacation or pricey summer camp necessary.

    These five sweet and surprisingly simple traditions are guaranteed to have everyone in your crew grinning from ear to ear. Start this year and look forward to new memories every time summer arrives.

    Family competitions
    Create medals out of tin foil or yogurt lids, and let the games begin! Decide on some fun backyard games and enjoy a bit of friendly competition. Will Dad win the water balloon toss? Will the kids dominate the three-legged race? Will Mom rule the water gun fight? Then award medals to everyone and take a fun family photo to commemorate the games.

    Outdoor movie night
    Everyone loves movie night, but when summer hits, add a special touch by moving the event outdoors. Danielle Simmons of Simmworks Family Blog offers a unique twist on this idea: movie night on a trampoline. Simply hang a white sheet over the trampoline net and project the movie onto the sheet while everyone gets cozy inside. She recommends making a special treat, like Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag, with HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup made from five natural ingredients including cocoa, water and vanilla beans that are all non-GMO. Get the recipe at

    Volunteer days
    Give back to your community and instill a sense of giving and empathy in kids by planning a fun day volunteering at a local nonprofit. Discuss with your family where they might like to volunteer and select a location based on those interests, such as animals, education or the environment. Whether you plan one day or volunteer weekly during the summer, it’s a fantastic tradition for families to share.

    Summer interview
    At the end of vacation, have every family member fill out a summer interview form with intriguing, age-appropriate questions. For little kids, ask about favorite colors, best friends and what they want to be when they grow up. For bigger kids, ask about favorite music, best outfit and something that inspires them. For everyone, ask what was the best thing they did during the summer months. Save each year and look back to see how answers evolve.

    Create a waffle cone garden
    Want a hands-on project that kids will love to make? A waffle cone garden is as beautiful as the flower gardens outside, but with a sweet ending. You’ll get to spend special time together and then enjoy a summer treat that won’t soon be forgotten. Kelly Dixon of Smart School House provides instructions:

    Waffle cone cups
    Small silk flowers
    1/4 cup of HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup
    1 box of brownie mix (which will require eggs, oil and water)
    Non-stick spray
    Mixing bowl
    Baking dish
    Electric Mixer

    1. Prepare a baking dish with non-stick spray and bake the brownies according to the directions on the box.

    2. Using your toothpick, make sure the center of the brownie dish is completely cooked before pulling it out of the oven. Stick a toothpick in the center of the baking dish. If it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. If it comes out a little gooey, leave the brownies in the oven to bake for a couple of minutes and try again.

    3. Let the brownies cool completely.

    4. Scrape the brownies out of the baking dish and into a mixing bowl.

    5. Add the HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup to the bowl.

    6. Using an electric mixer on low speed, blend the baked brownies until they look like real garden soil. The syrup allows the brownies to stick together and not dry out.

    7. Scoop the blended brownies into a waffle cone bowl.

    8. Cut the silk flowers off their stems and “plant” them into the waffle cone garden.

    9. When ready to eat, remove flowers and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream or a tall glass of milk on the side.

    10. Take a moment to “stop and smell the chocolate” and share your #Simply5 — a five-word recount of what makes your day sweet.


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