Outdoor Activities to Get Kids Out of the House This Summer
The temperature is rising, the kids are out of school, and all they want to do is sit inside and play on their Xboxes. You want them to go outside and play like you did when you grew up. I know you remember those warm summer nights when you played Jail Break outside until you heard your mom calling your name from almost 10 houses away. Those were the good days, but how do we recreate them for your kids when everything their engaged in is electronic?
I’ve come up with 21 activities that will get the kids out of the house and on the road to enjoying the outdoors!
1. Go Kayaking
Kayaking is one of those outdoor sports that requires an appreciation for nature and minimal balancing skills. Many local lakes and parks offer kayaking rentals at a fairly cheap price. The best choice would be a double kayak so that your child can sit in front you, it’s so exciting to see the wonder in their eyes when you introduce them to the feeling of leaving land on the water. The double kayak also allows you and your child to work together as you both have to paddle to move the kayak through the water. Older children would most likely prefer a separate kayak, but the experience definitely bring the family together as you explore lakes and rivers. Most recreational areas offer 2 and 4 hours trips down the river where they transport you and the kayaks on a bus up stream and you kayak down to the designated pick up area. These are always a blast and I’ve never went on one and not had an amazing time. For some kayaking tips you can check out this website:
2. Go Fishing
Fishing is so much fun for kids, and even if you are a single mom you should make it happen. Fishing is the ultimate teacher of patience. Many local department stores carry cheap kid’s fishing poles that will get the job done. Fishing is a good life experience for young children because it also teaches them survival skills. This will come into play in my next topic – camping. Kids also enjoy the parent-child interaction when they learn step by step how to bait a hook, cast a line, and most importantly…wait patiently. They will learn that patience will pay off once they are reeling in a fish. This is the most exciting part, I’ve never seen an unhappy kid reeling in a fish, and that’s a fact!
Camping is the ultimate outdoor activity, whether it’s a tent set up in the backyard or at a campground. One way my son got really engaged into camping was when we decided to go camping in survival mode. Each of us were only aloud to bring 10 things, and we had to try and make our own tools and live off of the land. Obviously we brought food, but not manufactured food, a whole fish that we had to clean ourselves and vegetables that we grilled over the fire. It was the most fun that we ever had, my son brought his fishing pole and we search for worms under the nearby rocks and used them for bait. We then cooked and ate the fish that he caught by making our fire using only flint. It was truly a life changing experience for my family. It taught my son the meaning of responsibility because he knew that it was up to him to provide for the family.
You can check out some tips on camping here: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/camping-tips/
4.) Build a Treehouse
It was every kids dream growing up to have the most epic tree house, and I’m sure if you didn’t have one-you wanted one. Tree houses are so easy to build too! You could go with a simple design, or a more elaborate one that could easily been drawn up by a local contractor. You can buy the supplies to build a tree house at any local lumber store and with a little know-how you could make your kids dream tree house come true. If you’re on a budget you could opt for a fort. Forts can literally be made out of anything, especially scrap tree branches or wood. You could build one off of a fence or tree and work together with your kids to make something cool that they can hang out in with their friends. You can check out some tips on building treehouses here: http://www.familyhandyman.com/garden-structures/tree-house-building-tips/view-all
Painting can be a great outlet for kids to express themselves and be creative. You can pick up paint and some canvas at the crafts store for under $20 and it is well worth the money. I’ve seen some other parents use old sheets and lay them out onto the lawn and use that as a fresh white canvas. You can weigh down the four ends to tighten it and let your kids create their own master pieces. I would recommend using water colors on the canvas because it washes off easily and doesn’t stain clothes. You can check out some more ideas on painting with kids here: http://handsonaswegrow.com/50-paint-activities-tools-methods-recipes/
6.) Play Outside Bowling in the Dark
This game is always a hit at sleep overs, you fill up water bottle and put glow sticks in the to make the pins. You can use any type of smaller ball to use as your “bowling ball”
This game keeps kids engaged and also brings out their competitive side.
7.) Set up a Backyard Zip Line
This is one thing that will keep your kids occupied for hours! Zip lines aren’t just for thrill seekers anymore, there is a more modest version that is a perfect addition to any backyard. They are easy to install and come in many different colors, styles and lengths. Another great feature of a zip line is that adults can use it too, it can withstand weights of up to 250 pounds. Kids love zooming down the line and it gives them a sense of freedom in their own backyard. Alien Flier makes a great kid-friendly zip line kit that focuses mainly on safety. It offers swing set style seats that make it easy for kids to get on or off the ride. These are also a great addition to any tree house. You can check out some of the different zip line styles here: www.ziplinestop.com
8.) Set up a Backyard Obstacle Course
Kids love this idea and they jump at the chance to race each other through the course. You can set up items from the backyard like recycling containers, jump ropes that have to be leaped over, weights that have to be carried, a water that must be drank, something that must be climbed, the possibilities are endless. Kids are able to stay engaged through competition and it also gives them tons of exercise.
9.) Go to the Water Park
Who doesn’t love water parks? Usually admission is pretty cheap and you can snag an all-day pass. Many places have hybrid passes that offer admission to a waterpark and amusement rides. Some places you could check out are the Wildwood Boardwalk, NJ, Busche Gardens, Virginia, Six Flags Great Adventure…there’s so many all over the US. You can check out the top 10 here: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/packages/family-travel/photos/top-us-water-parks
10.) Go for a Nature Hike in the Woods
This may sound like something that isn’t very eventful, but I promise you it is. Bring a set of binoculars if you have them and a sketchbook. You can make sketches of cool looking plants and animals that you see and then compare your sketches. This is always fun because it lets your kids get creative and show their artistic side. I’ve found this to be very bonding because you will create a life-long memory and put the sketches in your scrap book or memory box.
11.) Have a Fashion Show
This one is so much fun and the possibilities are endless. I prefer to go to thrift stores and pick out dramatic boas, hats and brightly colored clothing. It’s fun to decorate a dress up box or chest to keep all of the clothing in for safekeeping. You can then hang a white or designed sheet and take the shades off of lamps to create dramatic lighting. This is always a hit at sleep overs because the pictures always come out hilarious, they’re always great keep-sakes. Buy a disposable camera or let them use yours so that they can get the feel of what it’s like to be a true photographer, and also what it’s like to run a real life fashion show. You can let them design a star with gold construction paper and glitter and write their name on it with colored glue pens and hang it on their door. You can also set up a make-up station, an assortment of snacks and bottles of water, just so you can make it as real as possible. Girls absolutely love this and there are so many ways to get creative with it.
12.) Plan a Treasure Hunt
This is great for birthday parties and holidays because it keeps kids occupied for a long time, and allows kids to use their mind because they are following clues. You can start with a treasure map that is made to look old. You can do this by getting a piece of parchment paper (available at any office supply store) and staining it with black tea and slightly burning the edges. You can then get a dark colored pen and draw a crude map to certain geographical points in the yard where there will be another clue that they have to solve. You can think up riddles that will lead them to the next map, or you could lead them to an object that has significance to the next location. The prize can be a box of gold! Which will really be Sacagawea dollar coins that are gold in color and also look unlike any coin that they’ve probably seen before, you can get them at the bank.
13.) Have a Dog Show
If you have multiple dogs or even just one dog this is a great excuse to get your kids to bathe the dog! You can have them bathe the dog, using shampoo and conditioner and then blow dry their hair…preferably outside if you have an outlet there to avoid a wind tunnel of hair. Your kids can then decorate the dog by adding pretty bows, a handkerchief scarf, or a doggie outfit that can be picked up at most pet supply stores. You can set up the dog show by adding an obstacle course of cones, ramps, and jumps that your dog must complete. Have your child dress up professionally and have your camera ready. You can pretend that the dog is sponsored by the brand of dog food that you use and bring out a few cans and stack them neatly in a pyramid so that at the end of the show that he/she wins, they can pose behind it for their money shot for the advertisement! These pictures always turn out great and are a great addition to the scrap book.
Well I hoped some of these ideas helped! Have a Happy and Safe Summer!