I love summer! Not necessarily ALL THINGS HOT – but summertime always brings back that “yes, we’re out of school!” feeling! Summer adventures are right around the corner – or maybe they’ve already begun. Enjoy a few of our fun ideas to keep the spirit of adventure alive during the summer with some nature and outdoor activities.
Do you remember using Sun Print paper as a kid?! The same company is still around – and we love it! This activity is a good one for a hot day – find some objects in nature to use for prints – have fun with shadow play!
Just Add Water
Seriously. Sometimes all you need is a little water to make the adventure come alive! Even as a kid growing up in Western Washington (where “hot” doesn’t happen very often), I was excited when we’d plan for a water balloon fight or set up a slip n’ slide made of garbage bags and tarps. In places where hot weather can limit outdoor activities, water saves the day. We survive many Florida summer days outside at the pool. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Keep a Summer Journal
We’re trying to include the kids in our efforts to preserve memories from our adventures! We’re starting with pictures and nature collections. Pick a wildflower at the park, or a leaf as you hike – encourage the kids to pick one “something” to bring home. These little trinkets will help tell the story of your summer. No need to keep all of the things – encourage the kids to draw pictures of them and store the drawings in a box or a little container. Help them write down a few words about the adventure – or write down what they dictate. For a few dollars, I picked up this little treasure box for the girls to paint. A simple project – but one that may contain a summer – full of memories! AND it’s nice to have some sort of indoor “work” for the kids to do when the need arises!
Set up a Tent in the Yard
Did you notice that I did not say “camp in the yard!” While I’d still encourage you to give it a shot – camp in the yard! – feel free to just set it up for a day of camping play! A tent invites the imagination to take off. (Little tip: it was HOT the last time we played in the tent in the yard – I ended up bringing a fan into the tent so we could stand it a little longer!)
Make Daisy Chains
Some days need purpose. When we don’t have a plan but we definitely need one – I make one up! Daisy Chains – collect weeds to make crowns, bracelets, armour – whatever motivates your kids’ play! This could be another good hot day activity – see how fast you can collect the plants before it’s too hot and then take the project to a nicely shaded area – or inside!
Headlamp Scavenger Hunt
When it’s really hot, we like to take advantage of the early hours of the day – and sometimes even the late ones! If your kids need a chance to get the wiggles out – wait for the sun to go down and then plan a scavenger hunt outside using headlamps. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t get excited at the chance to wear a headlamp. Take it and run (literally) with it!
Set up an Art Table
I know – this is not an outdoor activity, but let me tell you why I love having a designated craft space where our kids can access (most) supplies and go to town. While getting outside and moving is obviously a priority around here – we can’t possibly accomplish that every moment of everyday. We can, however, provide engaging activities for the kids to choose indoors. The same spirit of wonder and adventure that we like to cultivate outdoors can be brought inside. When it’s just too hot – inside doesn’t have to feel like a dungeon!
(Most!) Kids love critters! Lately, we’ve been after rolly-polly bugs – aka potato bugs (what do you call those things?!). We’ve gone through several bug & critter catching phases: frogs, lizards, caterpillars & butterflies,…find some critters nearby, learn about them, and let them go!
Here are some great links to some other summer outdoor ideas:
The Kid Project – Five Easy Outdoor Sports for Kids (minus the snowshoeing)
Wild Tales of – Fun at the Lake with Toddlers: Safer and Easier Swimming
Adventure Tykes – Nature is a Great Learning Tool
Rain or Shine Mama – Rainy Day Fun: Painting with Mud
Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies – Family Camping Made Easy – Wilderness Games for Camp and the Trail
Mommy Hiker – Encouraging Nocturnal Exploration with Kids
Crafting Connections – Nature Art Inspiration
What are your favorite Summer Activities!?