I’ve written before on the benefits of getting outside now that spring has sprung. Well I’d like to expand on this by offering you 10 great ideas for spending quality family time in the great outdoors. Whether you are a city or rural dweller, these are ideas we can all try.
Give some a whirl a let me know how you made out. Or better yet, post some ideas of your own. Always remember to use Sunscreen whenever possible.
Enviro Dad’s 10 great ideas for outdoor fun:
- Take a neighbourhood walk. There are lots of things to see and do in your neighbourhood. Everything from learning about various plants and animals that can be found nearby to (gasp) getting to know your neighbours! I’ve never understood why some people go to great lengths to avoid knowing who they live beside or near to. Strong neighbourhoods where people look out for each other adds to the quality of life for all, and getting out to say “hi” is a great way to introduce yourselves!
- Get on your bike. Find a new path or a ravine with biking trails. Go to a conservation area that allows biking. You may have to drive, but once you get there, you can spend the day exploring. Be sure to pack along a picnic and some treats for when the kids get tired and low on energy. Many parents already know that being far from home when the kids run out of “fuel” can quickly become a big problem.
- Send time near the water. Whether you rent a sail/power boat, hop in a kayak/canoe or wander along the waterside; there is nothing as magical as spending time by the water. Listen as the waves lap against the shore. Find rocks and see who can toss them the furthest. Watch ripples form as the wind passes over the water. As a writer who sometimes gets into a creative block, I know how therapeutic a walk along the water can be!
- Garden. You don’t need a huge plot of land. A few pots or a small area would work. Start small – maybe with a herb garden or some tomato plants. Let your kids water them on a regular basis, check for bugs and pick once ripe. They will love eating food they have helped grow.
- Enjoy the rain. Don’t let a few drops keep you from heading outdoors. Dress appropriately and see what comes out during the rain. On a hot day, it’s also amazingly refreshing (and fun) to just run out and dance around. I mean if Hollywood can make a legendary movie about dancing and singing in the rain – it must be worth a try!
- Pick some fruit. Berry season is around the corner – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries. And let’s not forget raspberries. Hit a berry farm or stop by a roadside bush. Remember to encourage your children to put some of their pickings in a bucket and not just in their mouth! It’s so much better for our environment to pick locally grown fruits than to go to a supermarket and pick fruits that have travelled across the continent by truck to get here.
- Shop at a Farmer’s Market. Let your children browse through the market and have them help you make decisions. You never know what they may want to taste! This is also a great opportunity to teach them about buying locally and it shows your support for your local agricultural industry.
- Cut and rake the lawn. My wife will tell you that I’m someone who takes awhile to get up the enthusiasm to cut the grass. However once I get going I actually enjoy it. Your kids can be involved too by letting them help you rake the lawn trimmings on your sidewalk or driveway – but if you use a mower, be sure to set it to mulch. It may take longer, but at least they are outside and having fun with dad.
- Wash your car at home. Have the children help you wash your car. Use an environmentally friendly detergent, some elbow grease and the lawn hose. Be responsible with the amount of water you use, and you’ll reduce the overall environmental impact that you’d see by using a car wash at a service station. You may get a little wet, but it’ll be fun to work together. Admittedly this is something I seldom do, but plan on making more of an effort to include this spring and summer with my boys.
- Use Your Imagination. The outdoors is a great place to explore and play. Use your imagination and come up with an idea. Opportunities are only limited by your own imagination and willingness to use it. With everyone offering input on what to do, you may quickly run out of season before you run out of ideas.
These are 10 ideas and there are likely many more. As I mentioned off the top, if you have suggestions of your own to make, feel free to post them as a comment. Most importantly though…Have fun!