The sun is shining and kids are getting out of school to enjoy a well-deserved break filled with fun and joy. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were made during the summer. Whether it was spending all day at the beach or riding my bike everywhere with my friends, summer has always had a special place in my heart.
Thinking back on the things I did over the summer, I realized how much of it revolved around being outside. I believe that’s where kids can thrive most in the summer – taking in the warmth and fresh air will be just what they need after a long year of learning inside.
I compiled a list of fun outdoor activities for kids, and their families, to enjoy during these summer days. These activities will help create bonds between kids and their families, as well as build long-lasting memories.
Gardening can be such a rewarding activity for kids in the summer. It’s a great way to teach kids about responsibility when taking care of plants. They can learn how a flower or plant grows, beginning with how to plant from a seed or buying a plant that can be transferred into a pot or backyard. Once kids learn how to plant them, they will understand the importance of maintenance and care, which will then lead into the satisfaction of seeing their plant grow as summer moves along. This also is a great skill that can grow with them into adulthood!
This is an outdoor activity that I wish I did more of when I was younger. Hiking can be beneficial to kids, both physically and mentally. You can check out your local state park to see the different trails they offer. Some trails allow kids to take in nature as well as learn about it. You can bring binoculars and look out for certain birds and animals, or maybe lean down and see what kind of insects you can find. It also is a very peaceful activity – being able to take a nice walk and enjoy the world around you. Children can learn to appreciate nature by taking hikes with their families and learn about the world they live in along the way.
This is an activity that’s worth doing at least once! Learning about the stars and seeing different constellations is a great way for kids to see our world in a completely different way. You can print out a star map and find places in your state or town that have very minimal light pollution and take a night drive over to see what kind of stars you can find! Bring a blanket to lay on so you can really relax and get the full view. I loved going to my state park to see the sky all lit up by stars when I was little. The experience made me want to read about all of it, from stars to planets to moons. It is an adventure kids can really enjoy and it will hopefully spark some interest in knowing more about our solar system.
Go on a Picnic
This activity is a real treat…literally! Taking your kids on a picnic is such a unique and memorable experience. Get the kids involved (and teach responsibility) by having them help with the entire event from packing the picnic to helping set it up when you find the perfect spot. They can help with putting together a lunch (or dinner!) and then packing some comfy blankets and pillows to take to a nice spot. Some food items you could bring are juice boxes, sandwiches, brownies, vegetables, fruit, and crackers! My favorite picnic spot is a local park that overlooks a lake. It makes me happy having a beautiful view along with enjoying a nice meal with my family. You can even pack the lunch and take a bike ride to the spot if it’s close enough! Going on a picnic is a great bonding experience for families. Turn off the electronics, enjoy nature, each other’s company and a meal that was prepared together.
All of these outdoor activities will get your kids excited for summer and create some memories that can last with them forever. From learning new things to just getting their bodies up and moving, there are so many ways to make a worthwhile and unforgettable summer break for you and your kids.
Taylor Depouw is a recent graduate from Central Michigan University where she received her bachelors in English Literature and Language with a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. In her free time, she loves reading and writing, photography, traveling, and attending concerts with friends and family.