Summer can be a magical time for children, but the longer the season, the “dog days” can sometimes leave them searching for what to do. Add to that the lure of video games and sleeping in, and getting your kids out into the fresh air and sun can be a chore.
The following are several fun activities to entertain your kids and their friends all summer long and possibly even spark a lifeline passion. Here are a few adventurous ideas!
Whether climbing to a destination, like a mountaintop or scenic overlook, hiking is a perfect summer pursuit. A walk up a mountain or through the woods exercises kids, exposes them to nature, and provides them with opportunities to learn about themselves and the world around them.
Start small with short hikes or nature walks. Once your kids get their “sea legs,” so to speak, increase the distance, intensity, and difficulty of your hikes. If your kids enjoy hiking, you can tie hikes in with camping or fishing trips.
Whether you are using a firearm or an air gun, few activities are as captivating as target practice. It is easy to spend an entire afternoon learning how to aim and hit a target. Target shooting can also spawn a lifelong interest, provided you provide structure for them to learn how to shoot.
Another fun activity that involves aim and skill is to engage them in some form of tag. Whether it is with lasers or water-based gel bbs, tag can mean hours of fun for all involved. You do have to ensure that all participants wear safety equipment, but beyond that, how you set up your tag-playing environment is up to you. Plus, any form of tag is a great source of exercise.
While it requires a little more commitment from you, an overnight or weekend camping trip is a fun summer activity just about every kid enjoys. You can even set up your “campsite” in your backyard if you cannot get away for a night or weekend. While you need basic equipment, compared to more intensive activities, the list of stuff you need is small.
If you camp at a formal campground, make sure there are activities for all your kids. As you plan your hiking and camping trip, remember that hiking all day might not be fun for everyone. Focus on shorter hikes and more of them, so those that want to rest or do other activities can do so.
You can start a child fishing almost as soon as they can hold a fishing pole. Younger children need close supervision, but you can also use that opportunity to teach your child(ren) proper fishing techniques, etiquette, ethics, and strategy. Older children can fish by themselves or in a slightly controlled environment.
The key is to put kids in a position to catch something until they are old enough to form their own fishing strategies. Look for bodies of water that hold sunfish or other easily caught species.
As they gain experience, you can move them into more challenging environments and target other species.
Planting a garden is a summer-long intensive activity that teaches kids the basics of where their food comes from and how much work goes into getting it to the table. Gardening also teaches patience and discipline. Plus, there are few more edifying moments for parents than when a child gets to harvest their first crop.
Most of the activities listed here require some planning and equipment and are unsuitable for small children. Some activities that are, however, are games any age can play in a backyard, at a park, or anywhere outdoors. Those include, but are not limited to:
The interesting thing if you have kids of all ages is how many older kids will find many of these games’ fun too.
If you ask most people what activity they associate with summer, swimming will almost always be near the top. Whether in a pool, lake, river, ocean, you name it, if there is a swimmable body of water in the summer, chances are that young people will enjoy it.
Summertime is a magical season for kids and full of promise and opportunity. A structure for activities, however, ensures that they are entertained and have fun from the heady first days of summer through returning to school.
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