The days are getting longer, school is winding down, and summer holidays are just around the corner. You are thinking about the blissful days of summer, you envision yourself relaxing while your children play so happily together...and then you remember last summer. The so-called blissful days of summer lasted exactly three hours last year, before the arguing and whining and never-ending snacking began.
At times, the only way to get a bit of peace and quiet was to give them some screen time, and eventually it became a battle to even get them off their screens, the pull of the games too strong to resist. So, this year, be prepared! Here are some ideas that will be too enticing to resist, so that even the thrill of *sigh* Fortnite won't keep them inside.
10 Go on a scavenger hunt or a bug hunt
Kids love bugs, and they love finding things, so what better way to spend an afternoon than to go on a scavenger hunt or a bug hunt (or both!)?! Grab a little bug house from your local dollar store, so your kids have a space to put the little bugs they find. Kids can learn so much from observing and interacting with the insects, and it is a great opportunity to foster their love of the environment and teach them about kindness and conservation.
Print up a scavenger hunt or brainstorm a list of things to find outside in nature. Then, choose a place to go, either your backyard or a local park, and see what you can find! Regardless of what you're searching for, be it bugs or birds, getting outside and looking for things together can be a lot of fun.
9 Paint rocks with watercolours
Kids love to be creative, and they love to leave their mark on the world. Find some pretty rocks that have a smooth surface, and get out the acrylic paints and brushes! Paint some pretty images on the rocks and set them to dry for at least a few hours. Finish them off by painting a good coat of sealer, to protect the paint.
These painted rocks would be a beautiful addition to your garden, in an arrangement on a table, or displayed in the kids' bedrooms. They will add a splash of colour and personality wherever they're placed, and it is a fun activity to do together.
8 Have a picnic
There is something so appealing about sitting outside and sharing a meal in the summertime. The beautiful weather, tasty treats, and pleasant company always makes for a wonderful summer afternoon.
Let your kids help choose what food you will bring on the picnic - sandwiches, juicy watermelon, and of course a few treats! Then, pack up your favourite outdoor blanket, some toys, and the sunscreen, and head out to your favourite park to enjoy the afternoon outdoors.
7 Play in the sprinkler
Nothing screams summer like running through a good old-fashioned sprinkler! The freezing cold hose water, the hot sun, and the squishy, wet grass beneath your feet. It is the ultimate summer activity, and it is one that kids just can't resist.
Set up your sprinkler (preferably in a spot that really needs some watering!) and let the kids enjoy some time running through the icy water, shrieking with laughter.
6 Set up a game of Angry Birds...with water balloons!
Grab your sidewalk chalk and a bunch of water balloons, and get ready to have some fun with Angry Birds, but without the screen! Using the sidewalk chalk, draw the pigs on the pavement (driveway, sidewalk, deck, whatever works!). Draw as many pigs as you want, in as many different sizes as you want.
On the water balloons, draw on the Angry Birds faces with a permanent marker. Now you are ready to play! Set a starting line to stand behind, then throw an Angry Bird and try to hit the pigs! This is a great activity for kids to play, and they don't even mind running around to collect all the balloon pieces afterward!
5 Go on a family bike ride
Heading out for a family bike ride is another fun way to enjoy the good summer weather. Choose a local bike path or a quiet residential area to explore on your bikes. It is a great form of exercise for everyone to do, and getting out and being active with your children sets a great example as well.
Be sure to bring along some water bottles and perhaps a granola bar or two. Stop for a break under a shady tree, and then set out again and see what adventure you can find. Stop at a park to play or the neighbourhood ice cream shop for a treat, whatever makes your bike ride fun.
4 Let them wash your car... have a water fight!
This activity gets two jobs done for the price of one; it gives your kids something fun to do, and it gets your vehicle clean in the process. Let your kids use the hose to spray your car, and each other! Fill a bucket with soapy water, and give them some big car sponges to use. Show them how to clean your car properly, so they're not only having fun but learning how to properly wash the car.
Let them have the hose again to rinse the car, and depending on how enthusiastic they are about this whole activity, keep the fun going with some car window cleaning! A rag and spray bottle with water and a couple of TSBP of vinegar in it, and they can polish up the outside of your car windows.
3 Go apple or berry picking
Berry picking and apple picking are the quintessential summer activities, and what a yummy way to spend a sunny day! Head out to your local strawberry patch now, to take advantage of the season and grab the juiciest strawberries. Check your local farmer's calendars for what fruits and vegetables are ready for picking throughout the summer and fall.
An afternoon of apple picking in the early fall is another wonderful way to spend a day. With those crisp, sunny, slightly cooler days, picking some apples and making an apple pie is a warm, cozy way to spend some time together.
2 Explore a new hiking trail
Research your area a bit, and find out where the good hiking trails are. You will be amazed at how many different trails there are, if you know where to look. Find a new trail to explore, and set out on a hike together. It is always a bonus if you can find a trail that has a nice lookout or waterfall at the end to enjoy.
Getting out and enjoying nature with your children when they're young teaches them the fun of being active, and it sets good habits in place for when they are older. Building that appreciate for nature will help to raise your child as someone who cares for and protects the natural world.
1 Camp out in your backyard...s'mores included!
If going away camping isn't really an option, or you're just looking for something fun to do around your house, grab your camping tent and set it up in your very own backyard! Get the flashlights, sleeping bags, and marshmallows, and get ready for a fun evening under the stars.
Perhaps even enjoy your dinner outside, and then have your s'mores for dessert. Cuddle up in the tent for bedtime, and sing some campfire songs while you look at the stars. Your kids will cherish memories like these for a lifetime!