This is a question every parent is pondering right now. Summer is winding down, and the options for things to do outside of our home seem so limited. But are they really?
I keep hearing... "I can't wait for life to get back to normal!"
Honestly, I am not sure we will ever get back to "normal," or what we once thought of as normal. I find that to be a good thing.
We have an opportunity to write our future and change the path we were headed down, personally and for our kids!
For us, this has been a time where we have focused on our family, our relationships, God (we are a Christian family), the food we eat, the things we put on our body, and exercise.
My first, and most important recommendation, is to...
Hike or run a local trail.
Go to the beach.
Find a park.
Have a picnic.
Get out on a boat.
Ride a bike.
Watch the sunrise or sunset.
Go for a walk.
There are so many more options. Pick one and get out there!
I know the weather can limit some of these options, depending on where you are, but hopefully there is an option that will allow you to be outside, even if it's just for 30 minutes.
Why do I promote being outside so heavily?
There are so many reasons but the bottom line is... being outdoors promotes better health - mentally and physically.
Now onto a list of activities that are fun to do as a whole family and don't cost a thing.
Here they are!
I've found that my kids are more likely to eat what I put on their plates, when they know exactly what it is and how it was made. Kids really enjoy measuring, sorting, chopping (age appropriately), and mixing! Sometimes with 3 in the kitchen it can get a bit hectic, but despite that, I am almost always happy with the result.
Places to find healthy whole food recipes:
Tip: Try to use whole foods - and organic - where possible!
Some of our favorite time has been spent building. Legos, Magnatiles, wooden blocks, Playdoh, mud, rocks, sticks, towels... the possibilities are endless! Build a fort our of blankets and chairs. Use Playdoh to make a car, dinosaur, or the sun. Follow instructions from Lego and build a house. Go outside and use what you find to make a track for cars to drive on. As an adult, I sometimes forget to use my imagination... so if you can't think of an idea - ask your son or daughter for their input!
This could be as simple as a getting out a spiral notebook and writing about your day, what you want to be when you grow up, what you see out your window. Great thing is, if your kids can't write, they can surely tell you what to write or they can draw a picture! If none of that is age appropriate, you could always have them color a picture. One fun part to this activity is journaling yourself. Grab your own journal and write along with your child. Our kids love to see us doing the things we are asking them to do.
Take Pictures Together
Find a camera, even if it's on your phone, and take pictures! Most phones take great pictures and they are easily edited using the software that comes on a phone. If you have another type of camera, that's great too!
Ideas for what to take pictures of
- Pick a color and find 10 things to take a picture of
- Pick an animal
- Take pictures of people (family, friends, people walking by, etc.)
- Take a picture every hour of what you are doing throughout the day
If you're more interested in getting something in the mail or online inspiration that's been curated for you, here are a few ideas!
These are one our absolute favorite activities. My kids will often ask if they can do an activity, and this subscription box is what they are referring to. My two older boys (6, 4) love doing these. The latest one is all about seahorses. It comes with a book, and then around 10 activities all packaged in a box and sent to your home. Each box has a theme (it's basically a thematic unit) and all activities are based off of that. It saves me so much time and planning and I love that I just get to spend time doing the activities with my kids.
This has been so incredibly useful to us! We have done classes from learning about electricity and coding to learning how to create works of art from learning about history. Initially when I came across this site, I thought, why do we need this? Well, I have learned I am not good at everything. One of those things being art. It is hard for me to be creative in some ways. So, we signed up for a class that we have done over the summer that has one art lesson per week. I have loved it, the kids have loved it, and my husband has jumped in a few times!
This is a fun one! My kids have LOVED watching caterpillars morph into butterflies, ladybug larva grow into ladybugs, and praying mantises hatch from an egg. There is nothing quite like watching real insects grow and change! One of the best parts has always been releasing them - seeing how long they hang out before drifting off into the next yard or going back to the tree we left them on and seeing if they are still there. So many lessons here!
I hope this has been a helpful list of ideas for what to do with your kid(s) during this unprecedented time. It's been a change for all of us, but one that we can choose to be better for. Begin now making those choices to spend quality time with your kids, eat healthy whole foods, exercise often and get outside as much as possible!
If you have any questions or concerns - reach out!