Arizona Summer…it’s hot! And kids are home, and they want to stay indoors and lie on the couch and play video games or watch TV.

And we complain, but then they lay there anyway because what else is there to do?

We decided to create something to do in our Live Love neighborhood this summer- at least on Wednesdays! And it has been more fun than we had even anticipated.

Every Wednesday morning we open the doors of the Live Love House to our neighbors for a few hours of fun and learning.   This is the first summer we have hosted something like this, so we really had no idea how it would go. On our first Wednesday, we prepared our breakfast, activities and games and waited to see who would come.

Two sweet kiddos showed up.

They were excited and that helped us maintain our excitement too.

Their mom dropped them off and immediately walked down the street to gather a few other kids she knew. We finished that day with 5 kids and had a great time learning about Jazz music and competing in our very own obstacle course in the front yard.

Our second week the word spread and we had 10 kids show up for breakfast and our field trip to Veterans Oasis Park, where we were taught the skills for geocaching. We divided in to teams and used GPS devices to discover treasures all over the park. Did you know it takes 3 satellites to make just 1 GPS work? It was a 20-minute drive across Chandler, but to some kids it felt like we had crossed a great divide. One mom reported to me that her kids kept asking “Why haven’t we ever gone to that park? Papi can fish there, mom! Right there!”

This week a few more new kids joined in for some fun groups games in the backyard- one of which included the kids beating the adults in tug-of-war.

We’ll never hear the end of that one. And a rematch may need to take place!

Then a wonderful team of women taught the kids how to make embossed cards. We used the finished cards to write letters to people we wanted to encourage- the old fashioned art of letter writing! We finished our morning with a cooking lesson from a real chef, making vegetable dip for our snack of yummy carrots.

Next week we will visit the Chandler Fashion Center for a break from the heat while we catch a movie.

I’m so thankful for the volunteers who jumped in to this Summer Days idea with us not knowing if anyone would even show up. I’m thankful for the moms and kids who are showing up even on hot summer days.

My highlights so far include watching the delight on kids’ faces during our treasure hunt at Veteran’s Oasis Park, and observing the moms sitting on the back step talking and watching their kids play games under the big tree in the backyard this week.

Community building in the making under the hot Arizona summer sun! Hooray!

Annabelle Chinchen