Now that the novelty of summer vacation has worn off, moms everywhere are scrambling for new ideas to keep their families entertained. Instead of resorting to putting on another DVD, consider the following ideas. Not only will you get your family moving outside, but you’re guaranteed to create memories for a lifetime.
1. Go on a hike.
Spend some quality time outdoors while burning calories (about 438 calories per hour for adults!). Seek out a nature path near your or search for a path on the National Park Service’s park finder tool.
2. Check out the minors.
Nothing says summer like eating peanuts and watching baseball. If you can’t swing the majors, consider cheering on your local minor league team. Tickets average around $7 for adults and $6 for kids.
3. Host an outdoor art party.
A genius idea for kids of all ages is to throw a painting party, suggests Mariah Leeson, a Dallas-based event stylist and founder of Giggles Galore. She suggests hanging up an old white sheet in the backyard and giving your kids spray bottles filled with a little tempera paint and water -- and letting them whip up a Jackson Pollock-like masterpiece. “We’ve done this every summer for the past five years, and it’s always a hit,” says Leeson. “What kid doesn’t love outdoor messy fun?”
4. Try geocaching.
Treasure hunts meet an outdoor exploration with this practice, where you use a GPS (or your GPS-enabled smartphone) to find treasures or logbooks that other participants have hidden. To get started, visit Geocaching.com.
5. Go swimming.
Whether it’s in a pool or lake, now’s the perfect time to take a refreshing dip. For a change of pace, look up a swimming hole near you.
6. Hold a bike parade.
Invite over friends and neighbors to decorate their bikes and take a loop around the neighborhood with their decked-out cycles.
7. Create a “naturally fun” bucket.
To encourage your little ones to explore the great outdoors, Leeson suggests putting together a bucket full of supplies, such as glue, paint brushes, pie tins, spray bottles and more. “I also include card suggesting activites, like mud pies and rock art, as well as a nature scavenger hunt,” says Leeson. Get a printable sheet of supplies here.
8. Plant a garden.
It’s a win-win scenario: You can put the kids to work, burn off their energy and score fresh veggies in the fall. Summer’s the time to seed basil, cilantro, cabbage and collard greens. Here’s how:
9. Throw a field day.
Whether it’s family versus family or girls against boys, a little friendly competition makes for a whole lot of fun. Have classic games, such as egg-on-spoon, wheelbarrow and a three-legged race, as part of an all-day affair, followed by a barbecue awards ceremony.
10. Go fly a kite. Follow in Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps and fashion your own kite from a wooden stick, paper and string, then let it fly on a summer breeze.
No matter which activity you choose, be sure to bring a camera along to document this one-of-a-kind experience with your family. And don’t forget to tuck a pack of Puffs facial tissues in your purse -- they’re bound to come in handy during those special moments of bonding and laughing till you cry.