Not sure how to entertain your young ones once school gets out in June, but know that you don’t want them glued to the TV 24/7? Check out these ‘traditional but with a twist’ fun outdoor summer activities for kids.
Go on a rock hunt and then paint the products. Strap on hose hiking boots (or tennis shoes) and head out into the wild blue yonder (or your back yard). Collect rocks: big ones, small ones, shiny ones, dull ones, porous ones, smooth ones. Touch them. Talk about them. And then take them home, set up some newspaper outside, and paint them. If you’re five years old, the list of uses for a sack of painted rocks is practically endless. If you spray them with sealant, they can make super terrific stepping stones for a garden, prayer rocks, or even ultra unique checkers for a homemade game board.
Hold a hopscotch tournament. It’s way old school, but hopscotch can still be a fun way to pass the lazy crazy days of summer. Using sidewalk chalk, draw several different variations on the old classic using several different colors. If you’re into the competitive schtick, award points to the winners of head-to-head speed jumping matches. If you’re not, it’s all about style and having fun. Offer up shout-outs to the biggest gigglers or the most creative leapers. And why not set the whole event to music? When it’s time to clean up, get out the hose and have some water play fun (if your town isn’t facing drought restrictions, of course).
Build a birdhouse. There are two ways to accomplish this one. Method one: eat a lot of popsicles: red ones, green ones, orange ones. All yummy and more importantly, all frozen to handy little wooden sticks that can be glued together to create all sorts of fun shapes. Method two: collect sticks during a nature walk. Provide glue. Watch the magic happen. It may be a disaster, but at least it involves glue.
Make a leaf collection. Go for a walk. Collect as many different leaves as possible, then head home and fire up a laptop. (If you have a trusted older kid, he or she can be responsible for this part.) Look at each leaf, and look online until you find a match. Affix the leaf to a piece of paper, list the name of the tree it came from, where you found it, and an interesting fact. Obviously, it won’t last forever, so when you’re all done, scan the pages or a take a photo with your camera to preserve the hard work. You can even have a hard copy made using an online service like Shutterfly. Badda-bing: a leaf collection that’d make any arborist proud.
Face the summer without fear and remember: your kids won’t be kids forever!