Summer is here. We waited long and hard for this day when you can hit the beach, spend long hours at the park, travel or just enjoy the bright sun on your face. Summer is also that time when kids can enjoy all their time outdoors playing and just enjoying nature.
Every summer we plan to try different parks and different activities that we can enjoy with our kids. This year, I have created a list of activities that will keep the kids engaged, are fresh, will help develop their interpersonal skills, and will take them a little closer to nature. Here are a few tips:
1. Go berry picking
Berry's are a fun way of nature giving us candy! Make this summer special by taking your kids to a berry farm. Visit farms that have different kinds of berries including strawberries, blue and blackberries, and cherries. Check with the farms when would it be a great time to go berry picking. They usually open in the month of June. While at it, there are farms that also have a playground that is inspired by the country. Barns, haystacks, and lots of other country-inspired toys. You not only get to pick your own strawberries you also get to shop for vegetables and fruits, plus other berry-related products such as candy, pies, cookies, tarts, jams, etc. This activity is not expensive and you only pay for how much you have picked up!
2. Interest your child in cooking
Summer is a great time to get your child interested in cooking. The cooking doesn't need to be elaborate. It could be something as simple as chunky fruit popsicles, baking cookies, or S'mores on a stick. Get all the fruity goodness such as kiwi, strawberries, pineapple and peaches, grapes in one place. Use an ice cream mold and place all the fruits in it. Fill the mold with white grape juice and keep the popsicles in the freezer overnight. Enjoy this treat every time the kids want a snack. It is summer after all! For s'mores on the stick - all you need are marshmallows, chocolate chips, crumbs, and skewers. First, melt the chocolate chip on a small plate, then dip the marshmallows in the chocolate and sit the marshmallows on the bamboo sticks. Enjoy this treat while stepping out for picnics and other events.
3. Head out camping
Kids love building backyard forts and camps. While play spaces are a fun way to engage your kids, this summer take it a notch higher - go camping in one of the most serene parts of Canada. There are so many national parks and camping spots across the country that are great if you wish to camp with kids. Camping is also a great way to introduce kids to nature on a more pure and serene day. They also learn to adjust to various environments, try different food, looks at unique flora and fauna, and just enjoy the tent life. Try camping and see how the kids really adapt to different situations and excel in various surroundings.
4. Go on a picnic
Picking a spot, unpacking a picnic basket, and enjoying it al fresco is one of the best things that you can do with your kids this summer. All you need to do is choose a safe spot for a picnic, then hit the grocery store and pick up some of the best picnic favorites such as cheese, chicken, hummus, salads, nuts, bagels, seasonal fruits, and cookies, etc. We also love shopping at farmer's markets to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, and orchards. Pack all your goodies neatly in lunch boxes or ziplock bags. Pack some of the things your child loves to do - for example - reading a book, listening to music, playing board games, bringing along their cycle so that they can ride, or all the essentials to paint. Hit the spot, unpack that amazing food you have packed, get that drink, and spend quality time with your kids.
5. Scavenger hunt for the kids
Summer is a great time to organize a scavenger hunt for kids. What does it involve? There is a lot that kids can discover during summer. From identifying flowers, and insects, to fruits and vegetables that grow in the wild. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn from nature in a more practical than theoretical fashion. print pictures of fruits, flowers, insects, stones, shells, etc, and everything else you will find near your house or in a nearby picnic spot, or by the lake. Ask your child to circle every little thing that they saw on the printed paper. At the end of the hunt, give them a gift with their favorite candy or toy. This is a great way for kids to learn about nature. You could also include sounds in them like the sound of water, bees buzzing, or rain. Mix things up and make the scavenger list interesting for them to spend a few quality hours outdoors.