The months have passed quickly, and now it’s almost everyone’s favorite season: summer! With the kids out of school, you have plenty of free time with your family. Summer vacation is a great way to celebrate being together and introduce your children to new things.
Even if you aren’t going anywhere for this summer vacation, you can still get them outside and have fun at home with these 10 outdoor activities.
1. Camp Under The Stars
What child doesn’t like camping? You don’t always have to visit a campsite to help your child experience the great outdoors. Set your tent up in the backyard so they can explore nature from the safety of their own home. Help them roast a meal over the campfire as you did when you were a child.
2. Hike At Your Local Park
Find a park or natural environment that supports hiking. Choose something your kids can easily handle at their ages. Hiking is excellent for families, as it can help children build self-confidence and celebrate the value of physical exercise as they do.
Teach them about the wildlife they might see on the trail, but encourage them to leave no trace that they had ever been there. Teaching your children to respect and care for nature can help them grow into adults who understand the power of treating the environment right.
3. Have A Picnic
Picnics can be hard work, but they’re well worth it if done correctly. Instead of getting food from a restaurant, opt to make it yourself. Your picnic can be as simple as sandwiches and chips, or you can spend time making more complex recipes, such as deviled eggs or potato salad. Once you have your menu, it’s time to start looking for a spot.
You can opt to have a picnic in your yard, but one of the best parts of a picnic is appreciating the nature around you. It’ll be hard to keep you and your kids entertained if you’re staring at the same bits of nature you’re used to.
Try to find a park with a flat, grassy surface. Then, you can pick a date that works for you – one that’s sunny and bright. Your kids will be delighted to get out and experience a new part of their world.
4. Go Swimming
If you or someone you know owns a pool, you should dedicate a day to letting your kids swim. Of course, if the pool is in your backyard, you can have more than one fun swim day – but otherwise, it should be a major treat to your kids.
Just make sure to never leave your children unsupervised in the pool so you can avoid any accidents. Follow other safety measures, such as ensuring there’s at least one flotation device in the water for kids to grab onto if they need it, to keep your children happy and safe while enjoying their pool day.
5. Host A Game Night
You likely already participate in a family game night with your household. They might involve board games, card games, or video games – but when was the last time you implemented the great outdoors in your game nights? Play a sport with your kids in the backyard and try something different, like Red Rover or Duck Duck Goose.
6. Start A Garden
Growing your food can be exciting, but it’s tricky. Before you start a garden, understand your climate and what can be grown easily where you live. Then, you’ll want to start living and consuming things in a way that promotes garden growth.
If you have seeds left over from a plant, save them so you can later plant them in your garden. You can also compost plant-based materials to create an all-natural and effective fertilizer for your food. Get your kids to help you set up your garden and before long, you’ll all be enjoying the food you grew together.
7. Paint Rocks
If you don’t have any other pets at home, pet rocks are a great way to ease your children into the idea of having animals. Allow them to go outside and pluck their favorite rocks from the earth. Set up a paint station outside or in an open space indoors.
Give your kids plenty of bright colors to choose from and don’t forget fun things like faux fur and googly eyes. Let your children’s creativity run wild for this project. Once they decorate their new pet rocks, put them up for display in your living room.
8. Create A Scavenger Hunt
Making a scavenger hunt for your kids can keep them occupied and get them their daily dose of activity. You can come up with the prompts yourself or you can rely on a ready-made scavenger hunt that your kids can access from their mobile devices or on paper.
You can be as involved as you like or allow them to navigate the backyard independently. It’s a great way to get your kids playing alone and discovering things in nature.
9. Volunteer At An Animal Shelter
Many animal shelters let children volunteer as long as their parents are there to supervise them. Take your children to the animal shelter one weekend and spend the morning or whole day volunteering. You can teach your kids how to take care of animals and walk dogs. You may even find a new furry family member during your time spent volunteering.
10. Get Some Sunlight
You can bring indoor activities outside so your kids have more space to run around. Being outdoors encourages playtime, which is beneficial to your children in so many ways – including physically, socially, and mentally. Encourage them to read or play with pets outside rather than inside.
Just remember to use SPF 50 sunscreen. You and your kids both need to avoid sun damage when in direct sunlight.
Have Fun In The Sun, All Summer Long
Summer is a time to have fun and celebrate all your kids’ free time. Even if you’re still working during the most exciting season of the year, you can set your kids up for a fantastic break by entertaining them at or near home. Prepare for a fun season ahead with these outdoor activities and your kids will enjoy every minute of it from their backyard.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.