Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Parents - Get Outdoors with Kids...3 Fun Summer Activities

The dreaded summer vacation is closer than you think. The kids will be out of school and home ALL DAY!!! Dun-dah-dah-duh...uh oh, something must be done. Well lets turn off the TV and video games and go outside. Being out in the fresh air exploring nature, being physical performing activities like running, jumping and climbing are great for kids and don't require money just time set aside. I wonder...what activities are you folks going to do with your kids this summer? I can think of many activities us parents can do with their children to pass a summer day but I thought maybe I'll just talk about a few of my favorites to start the discussion.

1) Pick Fresh Berries
Us berry picking with family 2 summers ago. My hubby is in the lead.
This activity has become a summer tradition for our family. Devon and I love to take our family, including our nieces in July and August to pick Blueberries and Raspberries. We do this absolutely 100% free! Where we live, the berries grow abundantly on the trees planted in the local State Park. The State Park is free to enjoy, so we pack up the kids take a ride about 15 minutes with buckets or plastic shopping bags from the supermarket and pick as much as we can until the kids get tired. We like to take our fruit home and bake pies, cakes & muffins, use in pancakes and waffles or make jellies.

Its also possible to find farm orchards in a search engine that have many types of fruit growing across many acres. You can take the family on an outing to pick different kinds of fruit you can purchase extremely cheaply by the pound. These establishments vary as to what types of admission they charge, if any.

2) Nature Walks
 I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania where we have a lot of nature all around us everyday to enjoy. However being raised as a city girl in Queens, New York, you sort of had to commute to nature. But the commute was worth it. New York has incredible State Parks and City parks. In Queens I had access to Cunningham Park within walking distance or Flushing Meadow Park, the home of the famous Atlasphere. I also enjoyed Prospect Park in Brooklyn and of course, Central Park in Manhattan.

As kids we were always fascinated by all kinds of bugs, shiny rocks and colorful shells. My kids are the same way today too; They go outside and come home with pockets full of rocks, dead flowers and various forms litter. Simple outdoor science experiments involving basic observation and discussion can really liven up a walk in the park with a kid. Take along fun accessories such as binoculars or a magnifying glass. You can find all sorts of interesting things like feathers from birds, frogs, interesting bugs and colorful leaves to discuss. Its a great way to spark a child's interest in science and introduce them to problem solving and critical thinking. Most importantly it will be a chance for quality time with your best little buddy.

3) Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts and kids are a perfect combo. This is a game you as a parent can have complete control of. You can design your own simple scavenger hunt with things at home involving basic instructions for kids to follow like "find something yellow"; create themed scavenger hunts using fun concepts like a pirate hunt or a summer fun beach hunt.

We get the kids together and do scavenger hunts and give prizes to the kids. We laugh a lot and it is huge fun for all of us. it makes the kids think and breaking them up into teams encourages them to play nicely together. Playing outdoors gives the kids more space to run around but your scavenger hunt can take place inside on rainy or extra cold days.

Have ideas to share for kids outdoor summer activities? Write comments to DuckyFace blog.

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