The weather is getting warmer and school is almost out, which can only mean one thing – IT’S STREET DINNER SEASON!!
What’s street dinner season you ask?
We are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has a lot of young families with kids in very similar age ranges. Oftentimes, if one kid is outside, all the neighborhood kids are outside. Most of the kids are too young to be outside by themselves, so one or more of the parents come outside as well.
Before you know it, dinner time has rolled around and everyone starts asking, “What’s for dinner?”
That’s when your street dinner starts to come together and why I love this season so much.
Everyone does a mental inventory of what they have in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry. Soon enough, you have an entire meal in place from appetizers to dessert, all supplied by you and your neighbors.
Tables and chairs come out. Blankets for the kids to have a good old-fashioned picnic are laid out and everyone chows down on the dinner that so quickly came together.
The beauty of a street dinner lies in these three things:
- Dinner becomes a team effort. The burden of cooking dinner doesn’t just fall to you. You can contribute as much, or as little as you want. There’s been times where we had almost nothing to contribute, but another family had more than enough and vice versa.
- Parenting becomes a team effort. You go from parenting just your kids to parenting 10+ kids. That may not sound great, but it’s such a help to know another parent can help your kid open a juice box or act as referee when a toddler spat ensues. This is possible because you trust the other parents to make the same decisions as you would given the situation.
- The fun doesn’t have to stop. We’ve all been there. Having to drag a kid kicking and screaming inside because it’s time to eat. “But I’m having fun with my friends,” they’ll yell. Street dinner allows them to continue the fun with their friends. That goes for parents, as well! I think we enjoy street dinners just as much, if not more than the kids!
Once dinner is done, the fun can continue for as long as you want. Sometimes we’ll even put the kids to bed, bring out our monitors, and sit around a fire for a bit longer.
I know we won’t always be able to do this. In fact, some families in our neighborhood who have kids in their late teens will comment,
“This used to be us! We did this almost every weekend. Then the kids got older and they got more involved in different sports or activities, and there just wasn’t time.”
For now, I’ll enjoy the time that we do have together, as I know our kids are creating so many memories with one another. Watching our kids have the time of their lives and the relationships we are building with other parents in the same season of life as us will be some of my fondest memories, as well.
Do you do anything similar in your neighborhood?