When I think of summer, I also think of flip flops. I am not the biggest connoisseur of flip flops myself, but still own my fair share. This week, we’re going to embrace our summer vibes and that includes activities the family can do together and of course all things FLIP FLOPS! Where’d they come from? Why do we love them?
Flip flops, the essential shoe
Looking at the picture above of brightly colored flip flops takes me back to the early days of Old Navy shopping from my youth. A whole wall filled with festive and brightly colored flip flops. The smell of those rubber shoes having just been released from their factory sealed shipping bags, mmmm. You know it. It was such a thrill to see that wall go up because you also knew that it MEANT summer. It was also an extra thrill to see how many pairs your mom would let you buy. Extra extra thrill when it was the $1 flip flop sale. Teenage girl DREAM.
When I started thinking about what to write this week, I came across the nugget of information that the third Friday of June is, you guessed it, National Flip Flop Day! Of course it is! Why wouldn’t we have a whole day to celebrate all the colors, all the patterns and combinations of the quintessential summer shoe?? In my reading, I did discover that National Flip Flop day was actually founded by Tropical Smoothie Cafe. It was a marketing ploy to have customers wear their flip flops into the cafe and receive a free smoothie! Pretty sweet deal if I do say so myself. There is an even sweeter side to Tropical Smoothie’s marketing campaign. Proceeds from the sales in the cafe were donated to Camp Sunshine. The camp offers a reprieve for families of children who have suffered illnesses in their young lives. So, a super sweet idea!
Where did flip flops come from?
Flip flops and sandals of various styles have been around for a long while. While we wouldn’t have found the ancient Egyptians wearing Crocs (another beloved rubber shoe), they were wearing a thong sandal. In fact, flip flops were regularly referred to as thongs until sometime around the 1980s when they became more widely known by their alliterative name. According to the vast world of the internet, flip flops were a common type of shoe in many ancient cultures including Asian, Mediterranean and other cultures. There is much likelihood that the similarities of the flip flop shoe across the globe was simple ingenuity of design and availability of resources to make them. It is a simple construct and easily wearable, so the commonality of the shoe makes sense.
All in a name
Jumping forward to the 1950s, following the second world war, GIs returning to the US from Japan brought with them mass produced rubber sandals, the flip flop. The shoes, which were common in Japan and called the “zori” were widely used by children learning to walk.
The sandals went through a variety of name changes before settling into the flip flop by the 1980s, largely due to the sound they make when worn! They were incredibly popular by surfers in Australia to California and thus became a beach staple, which they still are to this day. Do you have your summer flippy floppies yet?
Flip flops aren’t just for wearing
I am not as crafty as the folks who make flip flop art and wreaths. So creative! I might have to give that a go later on this summer. We’ll see how that goes and I’ll check back in with my success, or failure. It can’t be THAT hard, right? I mean, everyone on Pinterest is doing it… Anyway, I do love incorporating festive representations of events into crafts and activities. On that note, we have some fun flip flop activities for your families to do this summer.
Get started with this Flip Flop Summer Rhyming Game! I got some super bright colored card stock to print these out on and am considering laminating them too. You can definitely just print them out on regular white printer paper and still have a great time with them. What I plan on doing with my son is to have him start with the rhyme prompts provided and then to list out other words or phrases that also rhyme. This is a great way to enrich the activity for older learners. He’ll be entering 2nd grade in the fall, so this will work well for him. There are lots of ways to build on this activity- drawing pictures, making songs, writing poems. Get creative with it!
ELA and Reading activities are generally my go to, but summer is an important time to build on your math skills. Practicing math and doing enrichment activities during non- instructional months is crucial to staying sharp. I was always guilty of losing what math skills learned just by the sheer inactivity over the summer. To keep that from happening, start with this Flip Flop Summer Place Value Game. Again, print this out on card stock or laminate it. My son spent a lot of time this year working on place value, so this will be a good activity for him to practice over the summer.
Walking into summer
This summer, slide on your flip flops and practice those ELA and math enrichment skills. Take your laminated card stock flip flops to the pool or the beach and practice in the sun! School is out across most of Maryland this week, so take a little bit of a break, of course, but don’t get rusty. I’m planning some pool time and relaxation time with my friends and family before jumping back in to running some enrichment camps with my middle schoolers.
We can’t wait to hear from you this summer to what you are up to! Drop us a note in the comments with your favorite color and brand of flip flops, too! Happy Summer fam!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.