So the weather is wonderful outside, and you would love to get out and take advantage of it, but you just can't think what to do? No problem! There are loads of fun family activities available, and they just may not have occurred to you. So here's a list to help you get started enjoying the nice weather with your family outdoors! Just remember a few basic safety rules such as what to do during a sudden thunderstorm, keep an eye on your children, and make sure they have access to shade and water, and you will find they love to be outdoors!
Go fly a kite: Whether you make kites yourself, or try out a number of different pre-made kites to find which kites work best for you, kite-flying is a fun activity for everyone, and even young children can get involved. Just make sure that young children have supervision so that they don't get pulled around by the kite; you want them to have fun and remember it as an enjoyable activity. For kite-flying, it is best to go somewhere where there are few trees or power lines for the kites to get tangled up in.
The Sunday picnic: If the weather is not too hot, most parks have picnic tables. Even if you're just going to the park down the block, you can make a real occasion of it by involving everyone in the preparation of the food and drinks. Remember to take a trash bag with you, and a compost bag if your family has begun composting. There are plenty of games to play to make this a memorable event, depending on your family size; games like tag and Red Rover can be done without any extra equipment at all, and a ball can be adapted to all kinds of games.
Get back to nature: A nature walk can be a great all-day outing for families, including small children. Whether you are staying in your back yard and examining the birds and wild life there, or going out to a creek or a natural preserve, a magnifying glass, a small net for catching insects, tadpoles or fish (be sure to let them go afterwards), a notebook for writing down observations or collecting plant leaves are all good accessories to bring. Safari hats will make your children feel like real explorers!
Gardening: By growing food or herbs, your children will get a sense of where their food comes from, and know something about caring for plants. For young children, herbs are probably a better bet because they can withstand so much more abuse. Older children can care for a tomato, squash, or bean plant, and just think how proud they will be when they come in bearing their harvest for dinner! In addition, gardening is something any family can do, almost anywhere, for very low cost. You can grow herbs on a windowsill in a pot; apartment dwellers can use their patios or balconies, and if you live in a house, your garden is limited only by your imagination! Also your family dinners will be enhanced because of the pride your children will feel in having contributed to the family, and your children will be getting great nutrition, too!
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Eat outside: It doesn't have to be a picnic; with an inexpensive patio set, your family can enjoy the beautiful evenings by having family dinner outside. With reusable plastic plates, cups, bowls and cutlery, you can make an occasion of every family dinner as long as the weather remains nice. A few citronella candles will liven up the atmosphere and keep mosquitoes away, and children love dining by candle light! You can buy screened food covers very cheaply to keep insects off the dishes. If you need more light to eat by, consider stringing up some LED Christmas lights and leaving them up all year; LED Christmas lights use only about eleven cents' worth of electricity per month and so are very inexpensive to run. Children even enjoy eating their lunches outside; send them outdoors with a sandwich and let the birds eat the crumbs!
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Cook outside: Grilling is a fun way to teach children about grill safety and fire safety, and they really love food cooked over a fire! You don't have to stick with the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs; fish and chicken can also be grilled, and you can even grill vegetables such as corn, summer or winter squash, and even fruit such as pineapple and bananas! Grilling less traditional foods may even encourage your children to eat more vegetables and improve their diets, because the grilling carmelizes the vegetables and brings the sugars in them to the surface. In addition, you can cook food on the grill in foil packets and deal with the messier kinds of food that way. Just remember to follow advice about grill safety and maintenance.
Camping: What child doesn't love to camp? You don't have to rough it; you can buy or borrow a cheap tent and let your children sleep in the back yard overnight. Give each child a flashlight, and let them stay up late. Who knows, they might even take up reading! In any case, with a sleeping bag and a tent, your child will have a wonderful, memorable experience. Just be sure that they have loud whistles they can blow for help, or leave a cell phone that can dial only 911, or stay outside with them, just in case.
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And don't forget such activities as bicycling, sports, swimming, or even letting your children run around in their bathing suits playing in the sprinklers. Children love to be outdoors and will readily take to almost any outdoor activity as long as it is presented to them as fun. Whether you take up an activity for an hour or two, or make it a project that lasts over several years, you will find that a connection to the outdoors and to wild life and plants will help your children grow up to be happier and healthier, and improve your family life. Follow the basic safety rules for any activity, keep an eye out on your children, make sure they have a place to retreat from the sun and plenty of water to drink, and just get out there!