We checked two items off our summer bucket list by combining a root beer float bar with a DIY blanket fort for epic rainy day afternoon fun!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of A&W®. The opinions and text are all mine.
18 summers — give or take, that’s about all we get with our kids before they head out on their own. My oldest is 15 this year, starting his sophomore year of high school in the fall and working hard at his first summer part-time job with a lawn care company. My youngest is nine, heading into fourth grade and spending his summer working on his foot skills for soccer in between hours at the pool with his friends.
Though there’s less than six years between the two, that gap has never felt wider than this year. And with a 14-year-old, 12-year-old and 11-year-old squeezed between the two, it makes for quite the challenge to come up with summer activities that will engage all five.
So earlier this summer, we sat down as a family and created a summer bucket list. Nothing too lofty, just a simple list of fun activities that we’d like to squeeze in together between May 31st and August 16th. Things like a trip to the zoo, mini golf, and go kart racing made the cut, but I also insisted on some simpler (and more frugal!) activities like s’mores around the backyard fire pit, sharing classic A&W Root Beer Floats, and making an indoor blanket fort…
On a rainy afternoon last week, we decided to kill two birds with one stone by building a blanket fort and sipping root beer floats to pass the time. It was a truly enjoyable afternoon without technology or TV. Just my kids pitching in together to create and actually getting along better than they have in ages.
Blanket Forts & Root Beer Floats
I didn’t really have a concrete plan for building the blanket fort, but I had a good idea for getting started. So after instructing my older kids to gather up our floor cushions and some blankets and a large white sheet, I ran to Walmart to pick up a few additional supplies. Along with some wooden clothespins, I also grabbed a length of clothesline.
While walking through the store, my younger daughter asked if we could make a “pretty” blanket fort. She pointed at some colorful, filmy scarves hanging on a nearby rack, and suggested that we grab a few. After seeing the $5 price tag, I added two to our shopping cart.
We also quickly snagged a container of Great Value French Vanilla ice cream and a 2-liter of A&W Root Beer. I briefly thought about picking up a jar of hot fudge and some chocolate sprinkles to dress up the rims of our root beer floats, but ultimately I decided that a classic root beer float would be a better choice. Not to mention more budget-friendly — the ice cream and root beer didn’t even add up to $4, and it was more than enough for our entire family of seven!
How To Build A Blanket Fort
Building the blanket fort turned out to be pretty easy. We simply strung the clothesline from one of the spindles on our bannister going upstairs up to a curtain rod above one of our living room windows.
Really any two sturdy attachment points will work, as long as one is slightly higher than the other. And be sure to pull the clothesline as tight as you can, because once you start layering sheets it will stretch out.
Then we threw the large white flat sheet over the line, using clothespins to secure the top and attaching the corners on the higher side to a couple of kitchen chairs to create a large opening. After arranging some blankets and pillows inside, we tweaked the opening and the back a little, draping and fluffing as we went.
The final touch was adding the colorful scarves to the front with another clothespin. I have to admit, it really did make the blanket fort look much prettier and cozier!
While it wasn’t really large enough to accommodate all five kids at once, they did an amazing job of taking turns using it. We actually left it up for several days after I found several of them using it as a reading nook. I really think I need to find a quiet corner where we can set up something similar permanently!
Classic A&W Root Beer Float Bar
While my husband and kids were working on the blanket fort, I decided to get started on a simple A&W Root Beer Float bar. Pre-scooping the ice cream made making the floats a breeze…
I simply added three scoops of ice cream each to five wide mouth pint jars and placed them in the freezer to chill. They’re the perfect size for root beer floats, and the short stint in the freezer made the jars nice and frosty. This would be a fabulous way to serve root beer floats at a party!
Once the blanket fort was complete, the kids were excited to enjoy their root beer floats. They took turns helping each other add about 8-ounces of A&W Root Beer to the scooped ice cream, and then a few climbed into the fort, while the others settled down just outside it. Lots of sipping and slurping ensued, along with a good bit of laughter.
I’m determined to make the most of these last few summers that we have with our whole family! I really hope that we can enjoy a few more summer afternoons like this… August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day — sounds like the perfect time to plan this activity again!