Summer is upon us, which means warm weather and more time outside in the sun! As a homeschooling parent, this is a chance to enjoy fun and educational activities with your children in the great outdoors. Below are 5 of our favourite options for summer time fun.
1. Go for a Hike
Taking your kids for a hike is a great way to get back to basics. Not only does it get their blood pumping, burn off energy, and put fresh air into their lungs, it piques their interest in nature. Take turns pointing out pretty flowers, interesting leaves, bugs, and butterflies; older children may enjoy taking pictures and trying to identify species later using field guides or online resources. Hours of education and enjoyment can be found outside and it doesn’t have to be a hard hike! Even a stroll through a treed area near your home or a local park will have lots to see.
2. Grow a Garden
Not surprisingly, gardening has amazing developmental benefits for children. Touching the dirt, holding the seeds in their hands and seeing the flowers helps kids to get in touch with their senses as well as develop fine motor skills as they scoop dirt and pour water. Once the garden has been planted, they will learn all about the responsibility of caring for their seeds and ensuring that they successfully grow into full grown plants. And then have a feast with your harvest!
3. Bird Watch
Not only is bird watching fun, it can also increase memory and observation skills. Why not make a game of it? Print off pictures of birds that you know are in your area and have your child search for them. Older children can use field guides and be challenged to listen and identify birds by their calls and songs. Lakes and rivers are great places for ducks and other waterfowl; the local park will have robins, sparrows, chickadees, and woodpeckers. Children will feel a sense of accomplishment when they spot what they’re looking for and will learn to love nature and wildlife even more.
4. Make Art
Moving arts and crafts outdoors works wonders to expand your child’s imagination, and they can be as messy as they like. Bring glitter, paint, and chalk outside and let your child go wild! Draw murals on the sidewalk, finger-paint and cover rocks in glitter glue. This will teach your kids that creativity can happen anywhere, and its OK to think outside the box and do things differently. Not to mention, cleanup will be much easier.
5. Pack a Picnic
Taking your kids on a picnic is a great way to reinforce healthy meal planning and organization. Let them help you plan what you’re going to eat, make the food and pack it in a basket. They’ll quickly learn how fun healthy eating can be and will feel great about contributing! You might even be able to use some fresh produce from your garden—carrots, grape tomatoes and berries travel well. It’s fun to prep food together, and eating outside is proven to be a mood booster! The Vitamin D and fresh air will work wonders on all of you.