Summertime is a time for your kids to unwind and reset after a long, stressful school year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should let them be couch potatoes for the whole break. As a work-from-home or stay-at-home parent, you want to keep your kids active and their brains engaged while making fun, life-long memories but without making them feel as if they’re in back in school. It can be tough to strike this balance, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Below are outdoor activities that are great for little minds and bodies that kids of all ages will love.
Participate in Nature
No matter where in the world you live, summertime is full of natural wonders. While it’s one thing to appreciate those wonders visually, it’s quite another to engage with them. To raise children who really appreciate Mother Nature in all her glory, try doing the following:
Plant a garden, and have your kids take care of it.
Make a bird feeder, then try to identify all the birds that come to your yard.
Visit a “Pick Your Own” farm.
Gather bits of nature, such as old bark, fallen twigs and leaves, and make a fairy garden.
Lay out on a blanket and watch the clouds. Encourage your littles to use their imagination to spot different shapes.
Explore Local Landmarks
If you’re like most people, you make it a point to visit each landmark at every one of your vacation destinations, but you have yet to explore the sites in your own city. Make this summer the summer you change that. From local art galleries to living museums to state parks to historic farms, identify what your city has to offer and visit a new place each week.
Don’t stop at museums and parks, though. Get a schedule of all the local flea markets and farmer’s markets and shop there instead of big box stores. Have breakfast as the same diner once a week to get to know the locals better. Go to a demolition derby, and have fun at the fair when it’s in town.
Stimulate the Brain
Your child doesn’t need to be doing math problems or reading a book to stimulate the brain (Though, math and books are good!). Encourage your child to take up a new hobby, such as juggling, bike riding or surfing, as a fun way to engage the cerebrum and get them moving. Play a game of I-spy or Simon Says, or set up a scavenger hunt in the backyard. Set up an obstacle course using household items to enhance your child’s visual perception, motor skills, coordination, motor planning, critical thinking and problem solving capabilities.
Arts and crafts are another fun way to stimulate the brain. Bring the art supplies outdoors and let your kids gain inspiration from nature. Better yet, let your kids gather the materials they need from Mother Nature herself. Press flowers, paint rocks or hold a photoshoot using your landscape as the backdrop. Bust out the sidewalk chalk and let your little ones turn the side of your home into a mural. Play with clay, string beads together or make a summer sketch diary. Let their imaginations run free to see what they can create.
Sometimes, it’s just best to let your kids be kids. In between interacting with nature, visiting local landmarks and painting the sidewalk, give your kids the tools they need to just have fun. Though they can likely come up with ideas on their own, below are just a few that every kid enjoys:
Have a water gun or water balloon fight.
Run in the sprinklers.
Have a bubble blowing contest.
Play a game of HORSE.
Ride a bike.
Have a hula-hooping contest.
Whether you have all day to spend with your kids during the summer or just a few hours each week, use the above ideas to make the most of their time off. Taking the time to do something new will ensure they make memories that will last a lifetime.