If you are looking for fun activities for the summer, with environmentally conscious choices in mind, the good news is you have a number of great activities to choose from. If you want to involve your children, all these activities are family friendly, so find something that appeals to you and let the fun happen!
One of my favourite activities for summer, especially with children, is camping out in the back yard. This activity is environmentally friendly because you can turn off the television, lights, video games, cell phones, and all those appliances that go around sucking up electricity. You can even turn off the air conditioning! Simply set up your tent in your back yard, provide everyone with a flashlight, a notebook, and a pen, and start an activity. Whether you choose to document wild life in your back yard, wild birds, or simply tell scary stories until no one can keep their eyes open any longer, a back yard campout is a great way to unplug and recharge, and children always think it is a special activity!
More curious and technically minded children may want to use their spare time in the summer to learn something that is not taught in their school. Fortunately, many colleges have published online courses in every subject from anatomy to zymurgy, with stops for computer programming, history, Russian, and everything else in between. No tuition is required and children are free to work at their own pace, without the pressure of grades and tests. Who knows what your child might be inspired to do? This is an environmentally friendly choice because it saves transportation to activities, and prevents using electricity on activities like video games, which may be fun, but are not productive.
Many community centers and libraries offer free classes and free family activities. Because you will be away from home, you can adjust the thermostat, unplug the televisions and appliances (which still draw power even when they are off), and take advantage of the savings that these free activities will afford. From story time with toddlers to math activities for teenagers, and even a few free courses for the adults to brush up on their computer skills, everyone in your family can benefit from these activities. You will be saving the planet and having fun at the same time; even more so if you can begin to teach your children about public transportation and sharing community resources (i.e., the library buys one book, and everyone reads that copy, rather than 100 families each buying their own copy of the book).
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A solar panel installation in a wild area, with a mountain in the background.
Another activity that is family friendly is to host a clothing swap at your house. All children outgrow their clothing very quickly, and by trading up, they can have new clothing, learn about reusing items, and get the fun of trying on dozens of new outfits (the adults can play, too!). Simply invite everyone to bring clothing they are tired of, or doesn't fit any more, and sort by size and gender. Then let the fun begin! (To avoid one person grabbing all the good stuff, you can limit each person to a certain number of items; once everyone has their limit, they are each allowed to pick one new thing at a time until everyone has another item, and continue until all the clothing is claimed.)
In short, there is no limit to what kinds of green summer activities your family can participate in. Try some of these activities, and find out for yourself just how much fun they can be! You will be amazed at how much impact even just a few of these green choices will make in your neighbourhood, and you very well might inspire others to follow your example!