Outdoor activities for the whole family

Summer is just around the corner, the weather is warming up, and days are getting longer. All the flowers have been or are beginning to blossom. It is time for parents to think about some outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy together; there are literally hundreds of options, some free and some nearly free. The important part of planning a day trip or just some time in the garden with the entire family is getting everyone outside for a bit of healthy and fun activity. The activities below are ideal for getting the kids off the computer, off the phone, away from the video games, and outdoors to exercise both their minds and their bodies.

The Zoo
If there is one thing most kids enjoy, it is going to the zoo. Not only do children have fun, they often come away from the zoo having learned something new. Most zoos have information stations set up for each of the exhibits with some of the stations being interactive. Kids of all ages, even the kids in adults, often feel a sense of wonder when they have the opportunity to see animals first hand rather than just on a television or computer screen. Parents can enjoy watching and encourage their kids as they compare foot sizes and wingspans of various animals to that of their own, as they discover what different wild animals eat, and as they learn different bird calls and try to imitate their favourites. Most zoos have do have a charge but on a beautiful day it is a great way to experience some genuine family time together.

Mini Golf
Mini golf is another fun activity for the entire family. There are generally plenty of them to choose from with interesting landscapes and themes that children will enjoy. There may even be indoor courses to play for rainy days.
Outdoor activities for the family do not have to involve planning an entire day away from home at the zoo or playing mini golf. There are hundreds of outdoor activities that parents can do with their children at home in the garden. These are the least expensive activities, but sometimes the most valuable in terms of quality family time together. One such activity for kids who are not afraid of insects is a insect hunting expedition into the garden.

Insect Hunting
The materials that are needed include a clear container, netting or waxed paper, rubber band, spoon, overripe banana, brown sugar, and a magnifying glass. One of the best ways to attract insects is by putting something sweet out for them like a banana sprinkled with brown sugar. Simply allow the banana mixture to sit outdoors for a while. Next, spread the banana mixture onto the bark of a tree. This is likely to attract a range of insects. Go out with the kids and check regularly to see the different types of insects that have shown up. Use the magnifying glass to look at the insects close up and even have the kids draw what they see. There are often different insects out at night than during the day, so go outside at night with a torch and hunt out these new insects. To watch any particular insects closer and for a longer period of time just put them into the container with a bit of water in a bottle cap, a stick, and a few green leaves. Cover the container with the waxed paper or netting and then poke small holes in the covering. Secure the covering with the rubber band. Make sure any captured insects are returned to where they were found within twenty-four hours.

Many kids are very interested in astronomy, even if they do not know what the word means. They are often amazed by the night sky, the stars, the moon, and especially when they find out a star they are looking at in the night sky is actually a planet in the solar system. Many outdoor activities for families are focused on the daytime. Why not let the kids stay up later than usual on a clear summer night to enjoy and learn about the night sky. Very few materials are needed, are already around the house or very inexpensive to purchase. The only mandatory item needed is a blanket, but it would be nice to have an astronomy book, a torch, and maybe even some special snacks to enjoy. Simply gather up the kids and take them outside after it gets really dark. If the city lights are too bright for star gazing consider taking a short drive to the country and away from the city lights. Put the blanket down, have everyone lie down on their backs, and look at the constellations. Use the flashlight to refer to the astronomy book, eat some snacks, enjoy and learn together.

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